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Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
    << Back to Soviet Union (former) Government

    The KGB played an important role in furthering Soviet foreign policy objectives abroad. In addition to straightforward intelligence collection and counterintelligence, the KGB participated in the Kremlin's program of active measures. KGB officials also contributed to foreign policy decision making.


    The First Chief Directorate of the KGB was responsible for KGB operations abroad. According to John Barron, a Western authority, the First Chief Directorate was composed of three separate directorates: Directorate S, which oversaw illegal agents (those under deep cover) throughout the world; Directorate T, responsible for the collection of scientific and technological intelligence; and Directorate K, which carried out infiltration of foreign intelligence and security services and exercised surveillance over Soviet citizens abroad. In addition, the First Chief Directorate had three important services: Service I, which analyzed and distributed intelligence collected by KGB foreign intelligence officers and agents, published a daily current events summary for the Politburo, and made forecasts of future world developments; Service A, which was responsible for planning and implementing active measures; and Service R, which evaluated KGB operations abroad.

    The operational core of the First Chief Directorate lay in its eleven geographical departments, which supervised KGB employees assigned to residencies abroad. These officers, or rezidenty, operated under legal cover, engaging in intelligence collection, espionage, and active measures. The longtime head of the First Chief Directorate, Vladimir Kriuchkov, who had served under Andropov and his successors, was named head of the KGB in 1988. The Second Chief Directorate also played a role in foreign intelligence in 1989. It recruited agents for intelligence purposes from among foreigners stationed in the Soviet Union, and it engaged in counterintelligence by uncovering attempts of foreign intelligence services to recruit Soviet citizens.

    Data as of May 1989

    NOTE: The information regarding Soviet Union (former) on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Soviet Union (former) THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE ROLE OF THE COMMITTEE FOR STATE SECURITY information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Soviet Union (former) THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE ROLE OF THE COMMITTEE FOR STATE SECURITY should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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Revised 10-Nov-04
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