KGB Documents

Political and industrial-scientific espionage in the West

During the period of the Cold War when military, technological competition with the USA intensified, the KGB started devoting ever more attention to political, scientific technical intelligence, or political industrial espionage. From 1975 up to 1990 this activity was considered a priority activity.

Division 1 of the KGB performed foreign reconnaissance functions.  The main objectives of that Division were collecting strategic, i.e. political, economic, military, scientific technical and other information about the Western democratic states, international organisations in which the USSR had its own interests. The reconnaissance activities were coordinated with the KGB PGU Divisions of the USSR.

The reconnaissance activities were based on agents. They had to collect information about the objects of science, various branches of industry, transport and achievements in different fields, to penetrate into different international, research institutions, industrial enterprises, commercial institutions, foreign systems of transport. Attempts were made to use immigrants and foreigners for this purpose. Partly or wholly foreign owned firms or joint ventures, fictitious organisations, scientific cooperation and tourism were an excellent cover for spying. The KGB was interested in cutting-edge technologies in military industry (nuclear, chemical weapons, nuclear energy and other), information about the latest achievements in different branches of industry (for example, lasers) in such fields of science as medicine, biotechnologies, gene engineering.

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