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AFPC Hosts Ex-KGB Officials at Washington Luncheon

Sponsored by American Foreign Policy Council
Washington, DC
October 29, 1998

It was a rare sight: senior officials from the Soviet security services discussing the future of Russia with ey U.S. Congressional staff members and policy makers.  Who would have thought that such a meeting would be possible? And yet, last October prominent former KGB officials Vadim V. Kakatin and Oleg D. Kalugin were AFPC’s guests at a luncheon for congressional staffers.  With the outcome of reform in Russia in doubt, Bakatin and Kalugin targeted the issues of military reform and the internal political situation.

Bakatin gained worldwide prominence as the last chairman of the Soviet KGB who attempted to dismantle the organization following the 1991 coup attempt.  A staff member of the CPSU Central Committee in the mid-1980s, he was eventually elevated to full Central Committee membership.  In October 1988, he was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs (MVD).  Because of his too-reformist views, Gorbachev fired him min December 1990, replacing him with hard-line KGB General Boris Pugo. Bakatin is now chairman of a new non-governmental center sponsored by MoscowStateUniversity to work with reformists in the Russian parliament to create a system of concrete civil control of the security and intelligence services.

Retired KGB Major General Kalugin attended Leningrad StateUniversity and was recruited by the KGB for foreign intelligence work serving in the First Chief Directorate.  Working undercover as a journalist in New York to conduct espionage and influence operations, he later served as deputy resident at the Soviet Embassy in Washington.  His internal criticism of cronyism within the KGB caused friction with First Chief Directorate head Viktor Kryuchkov, and he was demoted to serve as deputy chief of internal security in Leningrad. In 1990, Gorbachev signed a decree stripping General Kalugin of his rank, decorations and pension.  He then ran successfully for the Supreme Soviet.  His autobiography, Burning the Bridge, will be published this year.

This historic opportunity for U.S. officials to meet face to face with former senior Soviet intelligence officers reinforces the significance of AFPC’s Congressional Foreign Study Project.  These private, off-the-record briefings provide for an interchange of needed information.  In turn, the participants are better equipped to frame sound foreign policy.

Related Categories: Russia; Democracy & Governance; Intelligence; Russia and Eurasia Program; Espionage

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