War in Annual Reports of the KGB Chairman Y. Andropov to the
General Secretary CC CPSU L. Brezhnev.
In the history of nations one can hardly find more
plain documents than reports of punitive bodies bosses to the
leaders of their state. Regarding the USSR history - these are
annual reports of the KGB Chairmen (VChK-OGPU-NKVD) to the
Central Committee of the Communist Party. The way of keeping
them in a “Special File” in archive of the President of RF
- and a stamp of “special importance” emphasize a
particular national significance to this kind of documents.
Besides these the KGB reports were carrying an additional
stamp with a short instruction how these documents should be
treated: handed only to a personal responsibility of a limited
circle of people and obligatorily handed back afterwards. That
excluded any leakage of information. It was a usual practice
in 1960s-1980s to mark the KGB annual reports with “top
secret stamps”. It was a well known stagnation period with
war”, crazy arms race and fight against dissidents.
reports form outstanding examples of bureaucratic accuracy and
regularity: no corrections, no mistakes, on both style and
grammar verified. The only thing which is against the general
rule - is handwritten figures. We can assume that this was
done because of secrecy, perhaps by Andropov himself, several
hours before submitting a report to Brezhnev. Each report
after reading was signed by Politburo members. Usually there
were not more than 6-7 names: it means that a document was
typed in one or two copies to speed up working on a report.
Structure of reports was strictly in compliance with
competence of Directorates
(Glavnye Upravlenya). There were not more than 12 of them in
different years. It is well known that General Secretary did
not like reading, preferred to listen to information
It was not the intention of the author to make detailed
reports. That is why all important reports were kept maximum
short , 7-8 pages. In other words results of
a year activity took only one page. According to a
tradition of that time the first page was a preamble with a
list of party documents, laid as a basis for the present year,
containing a lot of quotations and the last one – assurances
in devotion to Comrade Brezhnev. It means that the report of
the first 3 main Directorates could occupy only half a page.
Reports of Andropov to Brezhnev , though rich with figures,
were three times shorter than reports of
Vladimir Semichastny - Andropov’s predecessor
to the state leader N. Khrouschev.
Analysis, conclusions and implications were minimized.
To insure himself against possible criticism, Y.Andropov in
contrast to V.Semichastny, avoids emotional evaluations,
descriptions, examples, ways how information was obtained.
Alongside with his own signature he used to add “Approved by
the KGB board”. But the last one existed only until 1980.
Since the same year a notation “To Politburo” was changed
to “Comrade L.I. Brezhnev” personally as well.
practice to submit a report to Politburo once a year casts
doubt on awareness of the
Brezhnev environment (excluding Andropov himself) about the
real situation in the country. These reports would show high
execution discipline and accuracy of authors. For additional
information or for comments, one had to apply to the author or to start an individual
analysis, i.e. to compare a report with previous ones or to
other sources. A tradition to present data in portions placed
an author in one rank to the first person in the state and
made him one of the main successors of this person. Wasn’t a
“practice” to submit most important the KGB reports to
Politburo only once a year a reason for immobility of the
system and it’s stagnation?!
Mentioned above statement does not mean that some
Politburo members did not know real situation in the USSR.
Collecting of information and analysis was the basis for all
of the KGB activities.
on obtained information the KGB submitted to the Central
Committee and to the relative Departments 3-4 informational
materials daily (in customary the KGB terms – “informations”)
and 1-2 analytical reports. Major part of them were fulfilled
on a very high professional level. Competence of the KGB
analysts was stipulated by a steady staff selection system to
a “special order”(«raznaryadka»)
and the intake of intellectual civilians. New requirements to
educational level were developed by V.Semichastny in 1950s in
the times of so called “combing-outs”(«chistky»).
Andropov paid particular attention to the education of the KGB
officers. For instance in 1954 only 13,5% of the KGB officers
had University to similar to it education. While in 1963 this
figure grew to
52,2%. By 1980 almost all officers of
the KGB had university or other high school degree.
with reports of V.Semichastny the reports of Y.Andropov show
increased and new flexible types of
the KGB activity. Informational documents doubled as
soon as Andropov started to work in the KGB (from 14500 in
1962 up to 25645 in 1967 and to 33500 in 1978).
was evident that a person coming to power tried to prove his
superiority over his predecessor.
From the point of view of the contents
the Andropov’s reports might be divided into two categories:
external and internal activity of
the main state structure on obtaining information from abroad,
the KGB serviced in the first place Politburo, departments of
the Central Committee of the CPSU, and leading
departments. Y.Andropov was highly skilled to use this for his
own career. Up to
1973, before Andropov’s electing as a member of
Politburo the attitude to the KGB leader in a higher
section of authorities was alert and cool. Perhaps, that is
the reason why
the largest amount of “political
reports” were sent in the second of
value power department - Ministry of Defense, which
leader Dmitry Ustinov was a
Secretary of the
Central Committee (and starting from 1976 - Politburo member).
Soon the situation changed. So, in 1967 Andropov presented
4639 of such reports to the Ministry of Defense, 4260 – to
the Central Committee and 4832 - to the Foreign Ministry. In
1978 - only 2000 to the Ministry of Defense, 5500 – to the
CC CPSU and the
rest 750 – to
FM (MID). In two
years, when Andropov
was elected at the position of
a Central Committee Secretary (with the conservation of
the position of a chairman of the KGB) the Ministry of Defense received only
1500 reports. Meantime over 6000 political reports were
directed to the Central Committee.
Annual reports of Andropov do not give a description of
the presented information. However reports of V.Semichastny
expressed how actual and significant information was sent to
the leadership of the state. In the report for 1962 the KGB
chairman specifically noted that his subordinates managed to
get technical documents on the American early warning system
against the continental ballistic missiles, information on IBM
to make a PC of new generation, an American
type of hard fuel for missiles, documents on production
of poleprene rubber. Special
pride of secret service men was the collected information on
NATO’s needs of weapons for the nearest 4 years, reports of
NATO’s Secretary General (Sticker) under the titles: "The
Defense Policy of NATO" and “On the Cooperation Between
NATO Countries ", as well as data on the most sharp world
political conflicts, including such regions as Cube,
Chinese-Indian border, on economical problems (for instance,
Great Britain entering E-Market).
from annual reports including analytical developments, the KGB
increased its efforts to gain results of research developments
executed to the orders of ministries and departments. In 1962 they
received 703 secret samples of the most up to date technology
(mainly military oriented), in 1978 -
already near 3000, but in 1980 - 2000 samples
Certain circles in Central Committee were aware that it
was much cheaper to compete with highly developed countries in
armaments using industrial espionage. Another question is how
tinned samples were introduced into life.
with getting information, the KGB was also active in the
creation and spreading misinformation and on
counter-information. Ex.: In figures of pure statistics for
1962 records one may read that the Committee had spread 263
pieces of misinformation (“dez”) via its channels, had
published 80 books and brochures overseas, 3200 article
beneficial to the USSR (However, any article beneficial to the
USSR might have been presented as the KGB action – S.M.).
The KGB “inspired" 50 requests in parliaments, 60
appearances over foreign radio and television. With
participation of the Committee 34 demonstrations and meetings
were organized, 34 leaflets by the circulation of 680 thousand
pieces were widespread. Even
a convocation of the Continental Congress in Rio-de-Janeiro (March
1963) which aim was to create "The League to Protect Cube"
was organized by the KGB. The Committee supported financially
25 foreign newspapers, 19 magazines, 3 printing houses and 6
bulletins. As a result of 45 actions of the year ciphers and
codes of 17 Western countries were obtained.
is notable that in the future especially with the beginning of
so called "psychological war", the KGB activity in
this direction was vastly extended. In 1978s employees of the
Committee organized already 147 demonstrations, published 4800
books and brochures, organized 162 interviews overseas, etc.
of agents of foreign intelligence services and introduction of
the Soviet ones stayed the most important side of the KGB
activity. The trends of this kind of activity in reports were
defined by international situation. In 1962 s under conditions
of a "cold war", they disclosed 716 foreign spies
and 19 agents, including well known Pen’kovsky and Gogua. In
1967 s - accordingly 218 and 59 (including Salov and Seregin).
With the beginning of detente in early 1970s the number of
foreign spies or agents varied from 10 and 20 accordingly 20
and 70 that is in compliance with the need of their
denouncement. Nationality of agents was also defined by the
type of the relations of the USSR with one or another country.
For example, in case relations became worse with China more
than one half of denounced spies were Chinese or Korean. With
the expansion of "Solidarity" activity most
denounced agents were Polish people. In comparison with 26
agents three NATO states intelligence services, revealed in
1980, KGB had identified 70 "agents" belonging to
Polish "Solidarity". Such a trend might be traced on
the amount of foreigners expelled from Russia (54 - in 1962,
108 - in 1967 and 99
- in 1980) as well.
* * * *
with suppression of the "hostile" activity from
outside the country, the KGB had intensified, and - more
important - improved
their methods of working with opposition inside the country.
Obviously, the acquaintanceship of Y.Andropov with UK resident
Kim Filby, prompted him to find more fine methods to influence
dissidents. In this struggle Y.Andropov obtained perfection.
Not accidentally, after moving to the building on Loubianka
(June 17, 1967) he gives an order to set up a “memorable”
5-th Directorate to fight with "anti-Soviet
elements" (so called "5th line").
Its first leader
was a former party functioner, secretary of Stavropol CPSU
Committee Kadashev. But through-one and a half year he was
replaced by a professional KGB officer Fillip D. Bobkov (now
chief of safety service of group "Most"). The same
1967 year, a new "article 190 rot" was incorporated
in the Penal Code which supposed punishment for spreading
hostile for the state rumors. According to this article for
the declaration of an anecdote about state leaders one could
be put in jail for 3 years. However, there were not so many
cases of that kind. The Committee worked more refined. There
was a net of paid agents («stukachi»
-«squealers»), who informed about the spirits of population.
In 1967 , when Y. Andropov started to work in the KGB nearly 25 thousand of people were recruited as «stukachi».
They formed 15% of the whole agency staff amount (near 167.000
into consideration the 50 thousand of the KGB officers it is
not so difficult to count that of each thousand of citizens in
the USSR one was a paid KGB employee.
full scale shadowing of citizens was done by either volunteers
or by in partly paid assistants who were practically in every
labor collective. Meanwhile the size of the organization of
the KGB was increased in a geometrical progression. Everyone
who was once upon a time included into this system could not
leave it without serious consequence. In 1991, according to
the official data, the KGB staff
totaled 480 thousand employees.
with the denunciations acting from agents, the KGB received
information by means of listening telephone conversations and
secret reading («perlustration») of the private
correspondence. Annually the employees of the departments of
to overlook 120-150 thousand letters and banderoles.
Approximately 5 thousand of them, i.e. every 30th
letter or banderole, contained politically harmful
materials according to them.
to activity of the agents and perlustrators the Committee
managed to establish an identity of
1500 - 2000 anonymous authors of anti-Soviet letters or
leaflets per year (1912 authors in 1962, 1198 - in 1967, 1113
- in 1977, 1963 authors - in 1981. It is quite remarkable,
that among the anonymous authors of letters revealed in 1981 (according
to a social attribute) 26,7 % were employees, 23,4 % - workers,
17,1 % - students and pupils, 14,9 % - pensioners, 3,1 % -
collective farmers. On a
political -organizational belonging
20,7 % - were members of the CPSU or Komsomol (Young
In conditions of the
total shadowing, in
order to have necessary
information, the KGB built up the internal political activity
in three basic directions, according to trends of the
J.Andropov's report to Political bureau CC CPSU: struggle
against dissidents, church
and terrorism. Special department dealt with the protection of
borders - Directorate of the Boundary Forces of the USSR. However, it was difficult to separate work of all
of these direction.
Reported cases were marked simultaneously both as
antiterrorist and as operations on suppression of anti-Soviet
or nationalist displays (high-jacking by Jews in
1970-E.Kuznetsov's and M.Dymshits case, Sado- Ogurtsov case,
1967-1970, explosion in the Moscow Underground in January,
1977). During the operation «Arsenal» on revealing weapon
from the population several dozens of dissidents suffered.
That year the KGB stopped activity of more than 20 dissident
groups which had their editions.
As to a degree of influence to «state criminals»
J.V.Andropov, not like his predecessors, had staked to prophylactic treatment - that is prevention of
To a certain extent it was caused by a politics of the Party
set by conditions of detente and the statement about
completing of the constructing of the «real socialism» in
the USSR. Last thesis was even stated in the Constitution of
1977. The table below shows practical tendencies of the KGB
methods of influence used against the opposition inside the
country at Andropov’s time (see Table
persons who were brought to justice and subjected to
prophylactic treatment by the KGB, 1959-1974
and most general lines of reports hide methods and tools of
work of the Soviet secret police. The most widely used among
those methods was mixing dissidents with ordinary criminals
through flipping drugs, weapons, currency during searches,
inspiring household crimes. Night interrogations and arrests
of the relatives of nonconformists (S.Kovalev, A.Ipatov),
creation of the false dissident magazines («Mnogie leta»)
and even arranging the politician murders (actress Zoya
Fedorova) were widely applied. Y.Andropov had followed N.Khrouschev
and began violent isolation of dissidents in mental clinics,
acting according to the well known thesis: «there are no
dissidents in our country, those who considered to be ones are
mentally sick people». If in 1964 there were known 2 clinics
of the kind, in 1980 there were more than 30 of them. Only in
1981, according to the KGB data, 229 authors of anti-Soviet
materials were placed to mental hospitals.
of prophylactic treatment (profilactirovaniye)
were far to be marked with humanism as well. Depending on how
serious accusations was, the KGB curators firstly resorted to
so-called public pressure by means of discussing the person
who revealed manifestations of politically harmful character
at a party or Komsomol meetings. If such a pressure was not
sufficient, persons were invited for chat with the KGB
employee. As a rule, such conversations took place in a staff
department of establishment where the person worked, or in
special rooms outside establishment. If these conversations
appeared insufficient too, the KGB would apply to sanctions.
In each case they would act individually, that is why their
methods extremely verified: from refusal in granting a
registration to work dismissal, night interrogations with
the most strong could sustain such influence. Therefore cases
of mental diseases and suicides among the dissidents were
The follower of
Y.Andropov and his deputy Victor M.Chebrikov, who
replaced his patron in 1982, started his activity with even
bigger eagerness. In the report for the first year of work he
managed to increase almost all known parameters by 10-15 % and
more. Instead of
24 agents revealed in 1981, in a year the KGB found out 141 (among
them 112 - students of military high schools of the USSR),
instead of 557 brought to justice in 1981 - 776.
struggle against dissidents and the Church was a matter of
special V.Chebrikov’s concern . According to the report for
1982, operations, like discredit of organisations “Amnesty
International”, “Helsinki Groups” or failure of
«Saharov’s action at the Paguosh conference»
- became the subject of his pride. The KGB had held a
special meeting on perfection the prophylactic treatment
of dissidents. The well known instructive letter
on strengthening the struggle against dissent became a
result of this meeting. During the first year of
management of the Committee, its new chairman had
closed more than 20 not legally approved clerical
organisations, liquidated 12 underground printing houses with
47 printing machines. In the struggle against the Church
V.Chebrikov's had surpassed his patron. At least the latest
reports of Andropov did not even mention the anti-church
activity at all.
One more new direction of activity of the KGB was
launched at those years - struggle with the “shadow busyness”.
For this purpose in 1982 a special 6-th Directorate for
economic safety - was created in the KGB.
All would seem was done for the further strengthening
of the statehood. But in three-four years it became clear
that all this work was done for nothing. Gorbachev’s
perestroika had brought to zero sum efforts of the device of
one of the most terrible intelligence services in the world.
With disorder of totalitarian Soviet system, the KGB had to reconstruct its activity with the reference to
new conditions. New cardinal changes were waiting for it.
a component of totalitarian system at each stage of its
development bodies of suppression carried out characteristic
tasks of the time. In times of
Brezhnev and Andropov, in conditions of detante, the
activity of the KGB to a certain extent started to
westernise. The role of external intelligence serves,
industrial espionage amplified. In the struggle against
opposition (dessent) the KGB stakes on the prophilactic
treatment. Nevertheless it did not help.
We can possible assume, that it was caused by the nature of
the whole system. But the operational experience of the KGB in
Russia may be still claimed. And may be not only in Russia?
The article is based on annual reports of the Heads of the KGB (Semichastny, Andropov and Chebrikov), 1962-1983 which are located in Archive of the President of the Russian Federation, Brezhnev and Andropov files.