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The KGB (КГБ) or “Committee for State Security” (Russian: Комите́т Госуда́рственной Безопа́сности, English: Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti) was the name for the main Soviet Union intelligence agency between 1954 and 1991.  It was preceded by the Ministry for State Security (MVD) and later became the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

More than just a Russian equivalent of the CIA, the KGB covered a wide suite of responsibilities and roles analogous to the CIA, NSA, FBI, Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Bureau of Customs and Border Control combined. It is through this vast network of intelligence and surveillance that the KGB could exert power over the 293 million citizens in the 15 Soviet Republics that made up the USSR.


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It is housed in the Lubyanka building in Lubyanka Square, Moscow, the KGB’s headquarters. The Lubyanka building is most likely the home of what is described on the show as “The Center,” the true core at the heart of the Soviet’s intelligence network.

Seized by the Cheka following the October Revolution of 1917, the structure has been the traditional home of Russian intelligence since. Despite the Russian intelligence service changing names and structure many times, it has maintained its headquarters in the Lubyanka building.

The basements also housed an infamous prison used to hold, torture and execute many prisoners, dissidents and enemies.  


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The Rezidentura is part of the Russian embassy located in a foreign country which acts as a hub for all of the KGB’s relevant interests and activities within that host country, while also providing a global network through which to move physical items (people, documents, weapons, etc.). Embassies are a perfect cover for intelligence services due to the diplomatic immunity afforded to consular staff, the worst punishment being declared persona non grata (lit. "person not welcome") and returned to their home country.  

The person in charge of the Rezidentura is called the Rezident. Rezidenturas will usually contain a mixture of intelligence personnel from across the range of lines/directorates in order that any emergency can be handled by experienced officers. For instance, Oleg and Tatiana worked together when Martha needed exfiltration to Moscow.

Rezidents that have appeared on the show:

Vasili Nikolaevich Forced repatriation following him being set up by Nina
Arkady Former head of security, promoted follow Vasili's return to Russia
Rezident (Season Six) The Rezident during Season Six is not named, but shown briefly interacting with Tatiana

Directorates / Lines[]

While the KGB's intelligence service appears as one single entity, it is variously categorized into sub-divisions called Directorates or Lines with each "Directorate" (referred to internally as a "Line") having a specific purpose.

Known Directorates referenced on the show:

S Illegal Intelligence Illegal surveilance, illegal agents, international sabotage, biological intelligence
KR Security [1] Intelligence gathered from sources inside of foreign intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI, Mossad, ISI, NIS, etc.)
N Illegal Support[2] Support for KGB illegals. Gabriel, Kate and Claudia would report and react to this line.
X Science & Technology Intelligence related to scientific and technological advances.

The main focus of the show is on Directorate S, though there appears to be communication between the different Lines (after the Emmett & Leanne murders, Arkady is shown telling Nina to organize Lines KR, N and Security in the vault).


Known operations that have been instigated by the KGB:

CHRISTOPHER KGB emergency plan for complete breakdown in the US. A guerrilla warfare campaign. In real-life is known as "Day X"[2]
CHRONICLE Plan to have FBI Agent Stan Beeman provide the KGB with the ECHO program.
ZEPHYR Transcription and review of all recordings obtained by the bugged FBI Mail Robot.


You got me going down a rabbit hole, though, and I found this nifty little article: KGB AFTER THE BREAK UP OF SOVIET UNION | Facts and Details