The First Chief Directorate (Russian: Первое Главное Управление) (or PGU) of the Committee for State Security (KGB), was the organization responsible for foreign operations and intelligence collection activities by the training and management of covert agents, intelligence collection management, and the collection of political, scientific and technical intelligence. It was formed within KGB structures in 1954, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union it changed into the Central Intelligence Service, and was later renamed the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).
The Soviet defeat in the Polish-Bolshevik War, was the main reason for the formation of a large independent intelligence department in Cheka structures. On December 20 1920, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, created the Foreign Department (Innostranny Otdel—INO), made up of the Management office (INO chief and two deputies), chancellery, agents department, visas bureau and foreign sections. In 1922 after the creation of the State Political Directorate (GPU) and connecting it with People's Commisariat for Internal Affairs of the RSFSR, foreign intelligence was conducted by the GPU Foreign Department, and between December 1923 and July 1934 by the Foreign Department of Joint State Political Administration or OGPU. In July 1934, OGPU was reincorporated into NKVD of the Soviet Union, and renamed The Main Directorate of State Security or GUGB. Till October 9 1936 INO was operated inside the GUGB organization as a one of its departments. Then, for conspiracy purposes, People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Nikolai Yezhov, in his order #00362 had introduced a numeration of departments in the GUGB organization, hence Foreign Department or INO of the GUGB became GUGB's Department 7, and later Department 5. By 1941 foreign intelligence was given the highest status and from department it was enlarged to directorate. The name too was change from INO (Innostranny Otdiel), to INU—Inostrannoye Upravleniye, Foreign Directorate. During the following years Soviet security and intelligence organs went through frequent organizational changes. From February to July 1941 foreign intelligence was the responsibility of the recently created new administration The People's Commissariat of State Security (NKGB) and was working in its structure as a 1st Directorate and, after the July 1941 organizational changes, as a 1st Directorate of the People's Commisariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD).
It return to former state already in April 1943, NKGB dealt with foreign intelligence as a 1st Directorate of NKGB, that state remain until 1946, when all People's Commissariats were renamed Ministries, NKVD was renamed Ministry of Internal Affairs or MVD, and the NKGB was renamed into Ministry of State Security, or MGB. From 1946 to 1947 the 1st Directorate of the MGB was conducting foreign intelligence. In 1947 the GRU (military intelligence) and MGB's 1st Directorate was moved to the recently created foreign intelligence agency by the name of Committee of Information, or KI. In the summer of 1948 the military personnel in KI were returned to the Soviet military to reconstitute a foreign military intelligence arm of the GRU. KI sections dealing with the new East Bloc and Soviet émigrés were returned to the MGB in late 1948. In 1951 the KI returned to the MGB, as a First Chief Directorate of the Ministry of State Security.
After the death of long time Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in March 1953, Lavrenty Beria took over control of the security and intelligence organs, disbanded the MGB and its existing tasks were given to the Ministry of Internal Affiars (MVD) which he was in control of. In the MVD the foreign intelligence was conducted by the Second Chief Directorate and following the creation of KGB foreign intelligence was conduct by the First Chief Directorate of the Committee for State Security or KGB.
The first chief of the Soviet foreign intelligence service, Cheka foreign department (Inostranny Otdel—INO), was Yakov Davydov. He headed the foreign department until late 1921, when he was replaced by long time revolutionary Solomon Mogilevsky. He led INO only for few months, as in 1925 he died in a plane crash.
He was replaced by Mikhail Trilisser, also a revolutionary. Trilisser specialized in tracing secret enemy informers and political spies inside the Bolshevik party. Before becoming INO chief, he led its Section of Western and Eastern Europe. Under Trilisser management foreign intelligence, has become big professional and respected by opponents service, this period characterizes enlisting of foreign agents, wide use of emigrants for intelligence tasks, organization of network of independent agents. Trilisser himself was very active, he personally travel to Berlin and Paris for meetings with important agents.
Trilisser left his position in 1930, and was replaced by Artur Artuzov, the former chief of department of counter-intelligence (or KRO) and main initiator of Trust Operation. In 1936 Artuzov was replaced by then Commissar 2nd rank of State Security Abram Slutsky. Slutsky was active participant of October Revolution and war, he has started work in security organs in 1920, by joining Cheka and later worket in OGPU Economic Department. Then in 1931 he went to serve in OGPU's Foreign Department (INO), and often left the country for Germany, France and Spain, where he participated in the Spanish Civil War. In February 1938 Slutsky was invited to the office of GUGB head komkor Mikhail Frinovsky, where he was poisoned and died.
Slutsky was replaced by Zelman Passov, but soon he was arrested and murdered, his successor Sergey Spigelglas had met with same fate, by the end of 1938 he was arrested and murdered. Next chief (acting) of Foreign Department for only 3 weeks was the experienced NKVD officer Pavel Sudoplatov. Before he become INO head in May, 1938, on Stalin's direct order, he personally assassinated the Ukrainian nationalist leader Yavhen Konovalets.
Later in June, 1941, Sudoplatov was placed in charge of the NKVD's Administration for Special Tasks, the principal task of which was to carry out sabotage operations behind enemy lines in wartime (both it and the Foreign Department had also been used to carry out assassinations abroad). During World War II, his unit helped organize guerrilla bands, and other secret behind-the-lines units for sabotage and assassinations, to fight the Nazis. In February, 1944, Lavrenty Beria (head of NKVD) named Pavel Sudoplatov to also head the newly-formed Department S, which united both GRU and NKVD intelligence work on the atomic bomb; he was also given a management role in the Soviet atomic effort, to help with coordination.
After Sudoplatov left his post, he was replace by Vladimir Dekanozov, before becoming INO head, Dekanozov was Deputy Chairman of Georgian Council of People's Commissars and after he left his post in 1939 he become the USSR ambassador in Berlin. For the next seven years, from 1939 to 1946, the chief foreign intelligence department (then 5th Department of the GUGB/NKVD), was very young NKVD officer and graduate of first official intelligence school (SHON), major of State Security Pavel Fitin. Fitin graduated from a program in engineering studies at the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in 1932 after which he served in the Red Army, then became an editor for the State Publishing House of Agricultural Literature. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) selected him for a special course in foreign intelligence.
Fitin became deputy chief of the NKVD's foreign intelligence in 1938, then a year later at the age of thirty-one became chief. The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service credits Fitin with rebuilding the depleted foreign intelligence department after Stalin's Great Terror. Fitin also is credited with providing ample warning of the German Invasion of 22 June 1941 that began the Great Patriotic War. Only the actual invasion saved Fitin from execution for providing the head of the NKVD, Lavrenty Beria, with information General Secretary of the CPSU, Joseph Stalin did not want to believe. Beria retained Fitin as chief of foreign intelligence until the war ended but demoted him.
From June to September 1946, the head of foreign intelligence (MGB 1st directorate), was born in 1907 Lieutenant General Pyotr Kubatkin, when he was replace by a born in 1900 then Lieutenant General Pyotr Fedotov, before he become head of foreign intelligence he was working in OGPU/GUGB counter-intelligence and Secret Political department's, then he headed the NKVD's counter-intelligence department. From 1949 to 1951 the head of intelligence in Committee of Information was Sergey Savchenko. Savchenko was born in 1904, first he was working as a security guard. He joint Soviet security organs in 1922, in 1940s was a top NKVD man in Ukrainian SSR. When Andrey Vyshinsky become Minister for Foreign Affairs and the head of Committee of Information, Savchenko was his deputy and head of foreign intelligence. In 1951 he was replace by Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Petrovich Pitovranov, long time secret service worker. Between 1950 and 1951 he was the deputy of MGB head Viktor Abakumov.
When March 5, 1953 MVD and MGB are merged into the MVD by Lavrenty Beria, his people took over all high positions, the foreign intelligence (2nd Chief Directorate of the MVD), was given to Vasili Ryasnoy. After Lavrenty Beria was arrested along with his people in MVD, Aleksandr Panyushkin become the head of foreign intelligence.
First operations of Soviet intelligence concentrated mainly on Russian military and political emigration organizations. According to Lenin directions foreign intelligence department has choose as his main target the White Guard people (White movement), which the largest groups were in Berlin, Paris and Warsaw. Intelligence and counter-intelligence department led long so called intelligence games, against Russian emigration, as a result of those games main representatives of Russian emigration like Boris Savinkov were arrested and sent for many years to prisons. Another well known action against Russian emigration conducted in the 1920s was Operation Trust (Trust Operation). "Trest" was an operation to set up a fake anti-Bolshevik underground organization, "Monarchist Union of Central Russia", MUCR (Монархическое объединение Центральной России, МОЦР). The "head" of the MUCR was Alexander Yakushev (Александр Александрович Якушев), a former bureaucrat of Ministry of Communications of Imperial Russia, who after the Russian Revolution joined the Narkomat of External Trade (Наркомат внешней торговли), when the Soviets had to allow the former specialists (called "specs", "спецы") to take positions of their expertise. This position allowed him to travel abroad and contact Russian emigrants. MUCR kept the monarchist general Alexander Kutepov (Александр Кутепов), head of a major emigrant force, Russian All-Military Union (Русский общевоинский союз), from active actions, who was convinced to wait for the development of the internal anti-Bolshevik forces.
Among the successes of "Trest" was the luring of Boris Savinkov and Sidney Reilly into the Soviet Union to be arrested. In Soviet intelligence history 1930's have proceeded as a so called Era of the Great Illegals. Among others Arnold Deutsch and Yuri Modin, were officers leading Cambridge Five case.
One of the biggest successes of Soviet foreign intelligence was the penetration of the American Manhattan Project, it was the code name for the effort during World War II to develop the first nuclear weapons of the United States with assistance from the United Kingdom and Canada. Information gathered in United States, Great Britain and Canada, especially in USA, by NKVD and NKGB agents then supplied to Soviet physicists, allowed them to carry out first nuclear explosion already in 1949.
In March 1954, Soviet state security underwent its last major postwar reorganization. The MGB was once again removed from the MVD, but downgraded from a ministry to the Committee for State Security or KGB, and formally attached to the Council of Ministers in an attempt to keep it under political control. The body responsible for foreign operations and intelligence collection activities was First Chief Directorate (FCD).
The first head of FCD was Aleksandr Panyushkin, the former ambassador to the United States and China and former head of Second Chief Directorate in MVD responsible for foreign intelligence. Panyushkin's doplomatic background, howeyer, did not imply any softening in MVD/KGB operational methods abroad. Indeed, one of the first foreign operations personally supervisied by Panyushkin was Operation Rhine, the attempted assassination of a Ukrainian émigré leader in West Germany. In 1956 Panyushkin was succeeded by his former deputy Aleksandr Sakharovsky, who was to remain head of FCD for record period of 15 years. He was remembered in the FCD chiefly as an efficient, energetic administrator. Sakharovsky had, however, no firsthand experience of the West. Having joined the NKVD in 1939 at the age of thirty, he had made his postwar reputation as an MGB advisier in Eastern Europe, serving mainly in Romania. In 1971 Sakharovsky was succeeded by his 53 year old former deputy Fyodor Mortin, a career KGB officer who had risen steadily through the ranks as a loyal protege of Sakharovsky. Mortin was on top the FCD only for 2 years in 1974 he was succeeded by the 50 year old Vladimir Kryuchkov, who was almost to equal Sakharovsky's record term as head of the FCD. after 14 years in FCD Hq, he was to become chairman of the KGB in 1988. Kryuchkov joined the Soviet diplomatic service, stationed in Hungary until 1959. He then worked for the Communist Party HQ in Ukraine for eight years before joining the KGB in 1967. In 1988 he was promoted to General of the Army rank and became KGB Chairman. In 1989-1990, he was a member of Politburo. The next and last head of FCD was born on March 24, 1935 in Moscow Leonid Shebarshin.
|Yakov Davydov||foreign department of Cheka||1920–1921|
|Solomon Mogilevsky||foreign department of Cheka||1921–?|
|Mikhail Trilisser||foreign department of GPU/OGPU||1921–1930|
|Artur Artuzov||foreign department of OGPU/GUGB-NKVD||1930–1936|
|Abram Slutsky||7th Department of GUGB-NKVD||1936–1938|
|Zelman Passov||7th Department of GUGB-NKVD||1938|
|Sergey Spigelglas||7th Department of GUGB-NKVD||1938–1938|
|Pavel Sudoplatov||7th Department of GUGB-NKVD||1938–1938|
|Vladimir Dekanozov||7th Department of GUGB-NKVD||1938–1939|
|Pavel Fitin||5th Department of GUGB-NKVD/1st directorate of NKVD/NKGB/MGB||1939–1946|
|Pyotr Kubatkin||1st Directorate of MGB||1946|
|Pyotr Fedotov||1st Directorate of MGB/Committee of Information||1946–1949|
|Sergey Savchenko||Committee of Information||1949–1951|
|Yevgeny Pitovranov||1st Chief Directorate of MGB||1952–1953|
|Vasili Ryasnoy||2nd Chief Directorate of the MVD||1953|
|Aleksandr Panyushkin||2nd Chief Directorate of the MVD/1st Chief Directorate of KGB||1953–1955|
|Aleksandr Sakharovsky||1st Chief Directorate of KGB||1956–1971|
|Fyodor Mortin||1st Chief Directorate of KGB||1971–1974|
|Vladimir Kryuchkov||1st Chief Directorate of KGB||1974–1988|
|Leonid Shebarshin||1st Chief Directorate of KGB||1988–1991|