KGB Documents

Categories of the secret KGB collaborators, recruitment and their activities

The KGB controlled and took special interest in the public. A wide network of secret collaborators – the agency – was engaged in this work, which consisted of agents, trustees, keepers of secret flats and residents. The KGB agents were recruited on a patriotic basis in two ways: by offering them material gain or by collecting compromising material – Kompromat - about them. Compromising evidence made the recruiting process easier. If it was impossible to find such evidence, attempts were made to intimidate a person with possible restrictions and obstacles (to study at chosen higher education institutions, to make a career, to become employed or even be dismissed, expelled from school, university, not to be allowed to go abroad, etc.). 

The recruiting process was quite long. The KGB collected information about the candidate being recruited laboriously (tried to ascertain his/her weaknesses), provided for the possibilities to use the future agent, established relations with him/her, obtained his/her written consent to cooperate, gave him/her a codename.

In the post-war period agents were not subject to too many requirements; however, in the long run the KGB devoted more and more attention to their capabilities. Agents who had higher education, who wanted to make a career and were capable of performing various tasks were recruited more often for this kind of work. Since the KGB had many divisions carrying out different activities, agents were chosen for performing different tasks. For example, agents-observers recorded one or another kind of activity hostile to the Soviet regime, agents-interrogators, the so-called correspondents, collected certain information necessary to other organisations of the KGB using different methods (for example, conducting secret surveys), agents of influence had to influence people who were under the KGB surveillance, to direct them to perform certain actions.  The number of agents-observers was largest. There were also many agents-recruiters, agents who gave misleading, false information, agents who carried out secret prophylaxis, agents who implemented operational technology.  When the agents became no longer useful, he/she was crossed out of the agency network and entered in the archives. Sometimes, if necessary, some of the so-called archival agents were invited to work for the KGB system. In 1952, trustees joined the network of the Soviet Intelligence agency. According to Order No. 00140 of the Soviet Union’s KGB Head of 4 July 1983, trustees were not attributed to the category of secret collaborators – agents. The trustees did not sign the pledge to cooperate as agents; there was only a gentleman’s agreement. That is why they were informal helpers of the Intelligence Service without any written undertaking and did not have a codename. They were denoted by their initials in the documents, and sometimes their real surnames were given.

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