This book is new in every aspect and not only because neither the official history nor an unofficial history of the KGB, and its many predecessors and successors, exists in any language. In this volume, the author deals with the origins of the KGB from the Tsarist Okhrana (the first Russians secret political police) to the OGPU, Joint State Political Directorate, one of the KGB predecessors between 1923 and 1934. Based on documents from the Russian archives, the author clearly demonstrates that the Cheka and GPU/OPGU were initially created to defend the revolution and not for espionage.
The Okhrana operated in both the Russian Empire and abroad against the revolutionaries and most of its operations, presented in this book, are little known. The same is the case with regards to the period after the Cheka was established in December 1917 until ten years later when Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party and exiled, and Stalin rose to power. For the long period after the Revolution and up to the Second World War (and, indeed, beyond until the death of Stalin) the Cheka’s main weapon was terror to create a general climate of fear in a population.
In the book, the work of the Cheka and its successors against the enemies of the revolution is paralleled with British and American operations against the Soviets inside and outside of Russia. For the first time the creation of the Communist International (Comintern) is shown as an alternative Soviet espionage organization for wide-scale foreign propaganda and subversion operations based on the new revelations from the Soviet archives
Here, the early Soviet intelligence operations in several countries are presented and analyzed for the first time, as are raids on the Soviet missions abroad. The Bolshevik smuggling of the Russian imperial treasures is shown based on the latest available archival sources with misinterpretations and sometimes false interpretations in existing literature revised.
After the Bolshevik revolution, Mansfield Smith-Cumming, the first chief of SIS, undertook to set up ‘an entirely new Secret Service organization in Russia’. During those first ten years, events would develop as a non-stop struggle between British intelligence, within Russia and abroad, and the Cheka, later GPU/OGPU.
Before several show ‘spy trials’ in 1927, British intelligence networks successfully operated in Russia later moving to the Baltic capitals, Finland and Sweden while young Soviet intelligence officers moved to London, Paris, Berlin and Constantinople. Many of those operations, from both sides, are presented in the book for the first time in this ground-breaking study of the dark world of the KGB