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KGB (transliteration of КГБ) is the Russian abbreviation for Committee for State Security (Russian: Комитет государственной безопасности; Komityet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti), which was the official name of the umbrella organization serving as the Soviet Union's premier security agency, secret police, and intelligence agency, from 1954 to 1991. Then, the official name of this organization was changed to FSB (ФСБ, Федеральная служба безопасности; Federalnaya Slujba Byezopasnosti), although the word KGB may apply to the secret police of various epochs.

The KGB's function was illustrated by its official emblem: bearing both shield and sword, the KGB was an organization with a military hierarchy aimed at providing national defence, specifically the defence of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). It was similar in function to the United States' CIA, with additional tasks of counter-espionage and national defence of the FBI, or by the twin organizations MI5 and MI6 in the United Kingdom.

On December 21 1995, the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin signed the decree that disbanded the KGB, which was then substituted by the FSB, the current domestic state security agency of the Russian Federation.

In Belarus, a former Soviet republic, the official Russian name of the State Security Agency remains "KGB".

The term is also sometimes used figuratively in the Western press to refer to the current FSB committee after the 1991 renaming due to its recognition and public perception.[1]

Most of the information about the KGB remains secret, although there are two sources of documents of KGB available online.[2][3]


  1. Safe as houses: the KGB-proof mansion - Times Online
  2., The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov edited by Joshua Rubenstein and Alexander Gribanov; Russian and English versions are available
  3. archieve of documents about KPSS and KGB, collected by Vladimir Bulovsky.
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