KGB is the Russian abbreviation for Committee for State Security (Russian: Комитет государственной безопасности); which was the official name of the organization serving as the Soviet Union’s premier security agency, secret police, and intelligence agency, from 1954 to 1991. Later, the official name of this organization was changed to FSB, although the word KGB may apply to the secret police of various epochs. The KGB’s operational domain encompassed functions and powers like those exercised by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or by the twin organizations MI5 and Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) in UK. On December 21, 1995, the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin signed the decree that disbanded the KGB, which was then substituted by the FSB which is the current domestic state security agency of the Russian Federation. However, the word ‘domestic state security agency’ would be an outrageous over-statement for an agency that most (apart from the ruling Kremlin) consider ‘the new Russian Mafia’.
1991 was a landmark year for the Russian civic society. The disbanding of the KGB was believed, at that time, to be one of the better things to have happened to Russia post Soviet disintegration. The KGB had invited the ire of the supporters of Gorbachev, the former Soviet President, by conspiring against him. This led to its eventual downfall. Many hailed Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation, then. But as history would have it, disbanding the KGB was not enough. By the time a certain Mr. Vladimir Putin took over (an ex-KGB man himself), it was back to its old ways. It again became an intimidating secret police killing people for corrupt business deals, threatening others due to vested political interests, beating up the rest for speaking out and gagging the media; all this under a new name- the FSB. Till today, it is said that anyone who dares to come in its way is taken care of. An average Russian can never forget the polonium-210 radiation poisoning of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006. Litvinenko’s revelations about alleged FSB misdeeds were followed two years later by his poisoning. This led to public accusations of the Russian Government being behind his death and this resulted int the murder gaining worldwide media coverage. The prime suspect Andrei Lugovoi has not yet been extradited to U.K where the alleged murder took place. Also the involvement of the Russian government [FSB] in the apartment bombings has been sometimes described in media as a “conspiracy theory”. In addition to this, Vladimir Putin has also been accused of personally ordering the assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Many point out that the FSB manages to escape due to a loophole in a new law which says, “Russia has the right to carry out preemptive strikes on militant bases home and abroad” and further explains these “preemptive strikes may involve anything, except nuclear weapons”. Only the word “militant” is believed to be defined by the FSB itself!
Litvinenko had once said the “terrorism infection creeps away worldwide from the cabinets of the Kremlin”. He also had iterated that “all the bloodiest terrorists of the world” were connected to FSB-KGB. Just some food for thought for the rest of the world.
[Image by: http://flickr.com/photos/barjack/93884166/]