The KGB 9th Directorate, alleged to have been in charge of "electronic surveillance" during the period 1991-1993 [RUS34257.E]

Before the August 1991 coup in the Soviet Union, the Ninth Directorate, also called "deviata" or the "Guards Directorate" of the Committee for State Security (KGB), was responsible for the personal security of the Party and government leaders along with their families, and the physical security of important facilities throughout the Soviet Union (The New American 11 Nov. 1996; Milnet n.d., FAS 26 Nov. 1997). To perform this mission, the Directorate employed 8,000 "elite" troops, nicknamed the "Niners" (The New American 11 Nov. 1996).

Surveillance missions were taken on by the Seventh Directorate of the KGB or "Surveillance Directorate" (FAS 26 Nov. 1997). More specifically, the Directorate's function consisted in following and monitoring both foreigners and "suspect" Soviet citizens (ibid.). About 3,500 experts in surveillance along with management and support staff were divided into twelve departments (ibid.). It also comprised the Alfa counterterrorist group formed in 1974 and which was particularly active in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Lithuania (ibid.; Library of Congress July 1996). The group was reported to have objected to orders to storm the Russian parliament during the coup of August 1991 although the KGB chief, Vladimir Kryuchkov was a coup leader (ibid.).

Shortly after the coup in August 1991, a Moskovsky Komsomolets article reported that most members of the Ninth Directorate were under arrest and the KGB was undergoing a vast reorganization process (AP 28 Aug. 1991; Perspective Sept.-Oct. 1997). In mid-1992, the Ninth Directorate was renamed the Main Guard Directorate or in Russian "Glavnoye upravlenye okhrany" (GUO), with Lt. Gen. Mikhail Barsukov as its commander until July 1995, although the Directorate was placed under Yeltsin's direct authority (Library of Congress July 1996; Perspective Apr.-May 1994; The New American 11 Nov. 1996; The Guardian 22 Dec. 1993). Lt. Gen. Barsukov also held the rank of minister and Commandant of the Kremlin (Perspectives Apr.-May 1994). From 17 December 1993 to 1996, the GUO had an autonomous subdivision called the Presidential Security Service headed by Maj. Gen. Aleksandr Korzhakov, also known as President Yeltsin's personal bodyguard and close adviser (ibid.; Russia's Radio 17 Dec. 1993; The New American 11 Nov. 1996). Between 1991 and late 1994, the staff of the Directorate grew from 8,000 to more than 20,000 persons, including the 5,000-man former KGB Kremlin Guard; it had its own intelligence and counterintelligence forces, the 500-man Alfa antiterrorist group transferred from the Seventh Directorate, and other special troops (ibid.; Perspective Apr.-May 1994). In 1993, the elite Vympel Spetznaz troop unit, trained for sabotage and combat abroad, was transferred from the KGB's foreign intelligence service to the GUO (The New American 11 Nov. 1996).

In April 1993, GUO's manifold tasks and missions, similar to those of its predecessor, were defined in the Law on State Protection of Government Bodies and Their Officials (Library of Congress July 1996). They also included security of the Parliament, the Constitutional Court, and the Rozvooruzhenie state weapons export company (Perspective Apr.-May 1994). The Directorate was also authorized to conduct investigative operations and undertake surveillance activities (ibid.). A reportedly unlimited budget enabled the GUO to purchase high-tech listening devices used inside the Kremlin (ibid.). According to The New American, the GUO "has grown dramatically and become more heavily involved in electronic surveillance and armed harassment of the regime's political rivals" (11 Nov. 1996). In a Perspective article, J. Michael Waller, a Senior Fellow with the American Foreign Policy Council, stated that:

the Okhrana, as critics are calling it in reference to the tsarist security force, wields immense political patronage by controlling many perks of power, including the government limousine fleet, health facilities, stores, tailor shops, special communications installations, and other services. Control of these privileges alarmed the Acting Constitutional Court Chairman Nikolai Virtuk, who summarized his concerns thus, "On the one hand Minister Barsukov is supposed to take orders from the premier and his vice-premiers. But on the other hand, it is on him that all of them depend." (Apr.-May 1994).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Associated Press (AP). 28 August 1991. Brian Friedman. "Gorbachev Strips KGB of Its Troops; Arrests Made After Coup." (NEXIS)

Federation of American Scientists (FAS). 26 November 1997. "Functions and Internal Organization."[Accessed 10 Apr. 2000]

_____. 26 November 1997. "Surveillance Directorate (Seventh Directorate)."[Accessed 10 Apr. 2000]

The Guardian [London]. 22 December 1993. Jonathan Steele. "Yeltsin Scraps Security Ministry." (NEXIS)

Library of Congress. July 1996. "Russia. Main Guard Directorate.".[Accessed 10 Apr. 2000]

Milnet. n.d. "MILNET:Former KGB." [Accessed 10 Apr. 2000]

The New American [Appleton]. 11 November 1996. William Norman Grigg. "Cult of Terror." [Accessed 10 Apr. 2000]

Perspective [Boston]. Sept.-Oct.1997. J. Michael Waller. "Russia's Security Services: A Checklist for Reform." [Accessed 10 Apr. 2000]

_____. April-May 1994. J. Michael Waller. "The KGB & Its Successors." [Accessed 10 Apr. 2000]

Russia's Radio [Moscow, in Russian]. 17 December 1993. "Presidential Security Services Reorganized." (BBC Summary of World Broadcasts 20 Dec. 1993/NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS)

IRB's databases

Kuranty [Moscow]. 22 February 1992. Viktor Maksimov. "Creeping KBG-zation" (Russian Press Digest/NEXIS)

Time [New York]. 10 August 1992. James Carney. "Moscow's Secret Plans" (NEXIS)

The Washington Post. 14 June 1992. Michael Dobbs. "Russia Redux: What Yeltsin's Revolution Didn't Change." (NEXIS)

World News Connection (WNC)

Internet site including:

Canadian Security Intelligence Service