KGB: Death and Rebirth

KGB: Death and Rebirth

KGB: Death and Rebirth

KGB: Death and Rebirth

Synopsis

It was official. In 1991, two months after an abortive coup in August, the KGB was pronounced dead. But was it really? In KGB: Death and Rebirth, Martin Ebon, a writer long engaged in the study of foreign affairs, maintains that the notorious secret police/espionage organization is alive and well. He takes a penetrating look at KGB predecessors, the KGB at the time of its supposed demise, and the subsequent use of segmented intelligence forces such as border patrols and communications and espionage agencies. Ebon points out that after the Ministry of Security resurrected these domestic KGB activities, Yevgeny Primakov's Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS) assumed foreign policy positions not unlike its predecessor's. Even more important, Ebon argues, spin-off secret police organizations - some still bearing the KGB name - have surfaced, wielding significant power in former Soviet republics, from the Ukraine to Kazakhstan, from Latvia to Georgia. How did the new KGB evolve? Who were the individuals responsible for recreating the KGB in its new image? What was the KGB's relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev during his regime? Did Boris Yeltsin plan a Russian KGB, even before the August coup? What has been the role of KGB successor agencies within the independence movements in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia? How has Yevgeny Primakov influenced foreign intelligence activity? What is the role of the FIS in Iran? What does the future hold? Martin Ebon meets these provocative questions head-on, offering candid, often surprising answers and new information for the curious - or concerned - reader. While the Cold War is over, Ebon cautions, the KGB has retained its basic structure and goalsunder a new name, and it would be naive to believe otherwise.

Excerpt

On Sunday afternoon, August 18, 1991, President Mikhail Gorbachev was sitting, informally dressed, in a study at "Zarya," his summer home on the Black Sea shore, near the Crimean town of Foros. the Gorbachev family was guarded by a top secret unit of the kgb, the Presidential Bodyguard. At ten minutes to five, Gorbachev was confronted by a delegation of Moscow plotters; they demanded that he either resign or surrender presidential authority to his deputy, Gennadi Yanayev. Among the group that presented him with this ultimatum were two close associates: Lieutenant General Yuri Plekhanov, chief of the Presidential Bodyguard; and, much to Gorbachev's surprise and irritation, his personal assistant and chief-of-staff, Valery Boldin.

The split that, during this crisis period, characterized much of Soviet society, its leadership, the kgb, and the armed forces, emerged quickly within the Presidential Bodyguard. Defying Plekhanov's orders, loyal guards formed a protective circle around the Gorbachev family. Recounting these events, the President said, "We were completely isolated, by sea and by land. Thirty-two bodyguards remained with me, those who had decided, as it were, to stay until the end. They divided defense functions among themselves. Family members were spread around, and all of them were protected." the loyal guards took up positions within the vacation villa. They also provided the expertise to put into operation several radios that were on the premises. Gorbachev recalled, "We found some old receivers in the servants' quarters and were able to set up antennas." With these additions, the radio sets were able to pick up Russian-language broadcasts by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Radio Liberty (the U.S.-operated transmitters with studios in . . .

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