Cover Osteuropa 11/2022

In Osteuropa 11/2022

From the Cheka to the FSB
A Short History of Moscow’s Intelligence Services

Andreas Hilger

Deutsche Fassung


Russia’s intelligence services are rooted in the tradition of their Soviet predecessors. In 1917, there was the Cheka – the “Extraordinary Commission for the Struggle against Counter-Revolution, Speculation, and Sabotage”. Despite historic watershed moments such as de-Stalinization or the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the continuities in bureaucratic organisation, the services’ position in the political system, and their self-image and their view of the world are striking. The Chekists see themselves in a permanent struggle against internal and external enemies. However, despite their considerable material resources and privileged access to power, the services were unable to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union or provide a solution to the socio-economic, technological, and political problems facing today’s Russia.

(Osteuropa 11/2022, pp. 45–70)