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The KGB, an initialism for Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti ; IPA: [kəmʲɪˈtʲet ɡəsʊˈdarstvʲɪnːəj bʲɪzɐˈpasnəsʲtʲɪ], translated in English as Committee for State Security), was the main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954 until its break-up in 1991. Formed in 1954, as a direct successor of such preceding agencies as the Cheka, NKGB, and MGB, the committee was attached to the Council of Ministers. It was the chief government agency of "union-republican jurisdiction", acting as internal security, intelligence, and secret police. Similar agencies were constituted in each of the republics of the Soviet Union aside from Russia and consisted of many ministries, state committees, and state commissions.

Committee for State Security
Комитет Государственной Безопасноти

Komitet Gosudarstvennoj Bezopasnosti
Emblema KGB.svg
RIAN archive 142949 Lubyanka Square in Moscow.jpg
Lubyanka Building in 1991
Agency overview
Formed 13 March 1954; 62 years ago (1954-03-13)
Preceding agencies
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs
  • Ministry for State Security
Dissolved 6 November 1991 (de facto)
3 December 1991 (de jure)
Superseding agency
Type State committee of union-republican jurisdiction
Jurisdiction Soviet Union
Headquarters Lubyanskaya ploshchad, 2, Moscow, Russian SFSR
Motto Loyalty to the party - Loyalty to motherland
Agency executive
Parent agency Central Committee of the Party
Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union
Child agencies
  • First Chief Directorate (foreign intelligence)
  • Second Chief Directorate (internal security and counterintelligence)
  • Eighth Chief Directorate (ciphering and government communication)
  • Chief Directorate of Border Forces
The 1954 ukase establishing the KGB.

The KGB, an initialism for Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti (Russian: Комите́т госуда́рственной безопа́сности (КГБ); [kəmʲɪˈtʲet ɡəsʊˈdarstvʲɪnːəj bʲɪzɐˈpasnəsʲtʲɪ], translated in English as Committee for State Security), was the main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954 until its break-up in 1991. Formed in 1954, as a direct successor of such preceding agencies as the Cheka, NKGB, and MGB, the committee was attached to the Council of Ministers. It was the chief government agency of "union-republican jurisdiction", acting as internal security, intelligence, and secret police. Similar agencies were constituted in each of the republics of the Soviet Union aside from Russia and consisted of many ministries, state committees, and state commissions.

The KGB was a military service and was governed by army laws and regulations, similar to the Soviet Army or MVD Internal Troops. While most of the KGB archives remain classified, two online documentary sources are available. Its main functions were foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, operative-investigatory activities, guarding the State Border of the USSR, guarding the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government, organization and ensuring of government communications as well as combating nationalism, dissent, and anti-Soviet activities.

After the dissolution of the USSR, the KGB was split into the Federal Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation.

After breaking away from the Republic of Georgia in the early 1990s with Russian help, the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia established its own KGB (keeping this unreformed name).

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