KGB Documents

Control of the tourism sector

In the 1950s, after tourism intensified and an increase in cultural and scientific exchange, sabbaticals occurred, the KGB faced new challenges: how to protect strategically important information from western people and how to control people during their journeys to the West and foreigners visiting our country, and particularly the immigrants who maintained relations with the local population.  Control mechanisms of various contacts with the West were created. Foreigners were allowed access to certain territories only and stay there for a limited number of days. The KGB treated the arriving tourists as potential agents of special services of the enemy. All efforts made by the KGB were directed against the Western states. The counterintelligence plan Kedr was implemented against the United States, the plan Vektor-2 was launched against the Federal Republic of Germany, agency operational plans Alfa-3, Jantar-2 and Poisk (looking for necessary information in the letters posted abroad), border guard operation Sistema were carried out. They were allowed, under the care of the KGB agents only, to visit certain objects where reliable workers told them about the achievements of the Soviet authorities and so on. Attempts were made to use foreigners, especially emigrants, for disseminating “proper” information about the situation of the USSR. The aim of the Soviet authorities was to have an interview with the famous representatives of the Diaspora. The KGB had the right not to allow an individual to arrive in Lithuania if the latter was engaged in the anti-Soviet activities abroad.

The KGB exerted strict control over the journeys of soviet citizens (individually and in groups) abroad; those who went abroad were observed surreptitiously. The KGB presented its assessment of the individual prepared to go abroad to the political authorities. That was a peculiar prophylaxis in establishing reliability. Participants in tourism trips, tours of artistic groups were watched by the KGB agents, reliable persons or even skilled workers operating under the cover. They tried to prevent the people who went abroad from meeting the Lithuanian emigrants in secret, to communicate information unfavourable to the Soviet authorities, to desert or to discredit the name of a soviet citizen by their behaviour. These trips had to be used for various operational, agency and propaganda purposes.

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