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Fifth Chief Directorate

The Fifth Chief Directorate was created in 1969 to counter political dissidents and other manifestations of political unreliability. The Fifth Chief Directorate was formed from elements of the Second Chief Directorate, including the 9th Department responsible for Soviet students; the 10th Department responsible for the Soviet intelligentsia; and the Jewish Department. The Fifth Chief Directorate was also responsible for internal security. It originally combated political dissent, and later assumed tasks of the Second Chief Directorate, such as controlling religious dissent, monitoring artists, and the censorship of media; it was renamed Directorate Z (to Protect the Constitutional Order) in 1989. The Fifth Chief Directorate also incorporated the 5th 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Directions of the Political Security Service.

    The 5th Direction controlled religious activity through the Council for the Affairs of Religious Sects, which was largely staffed by retired or disabled KGB officers.

    The 6th Direction was responsible for countering subversive expressions of nationalism.

    The 7th Direction monitored Soviet citizens with relatives living outside the Soviet Union and foreigners visiting relatives in the Soviet Union.

    The 8th Direction worked to counter the influence of Russian emigre groups.

    The 9th Direction suppressed unauthorized samizdat ["self-publishing"] literature and writers. It was responsible for finding samizdat printing presses and typewriters, and investigating the unauthorized use of photocopy machines.

    The Jewish Department, established in 1971, was responsible for addressing Jewish dissidence, including discouraging emigration. The Fifth Chief Directorate had special operational departments for religious dissent, national minorities, the intelligentsia and the artistic community, and censorship of literature. Its fight against "Zionism," which was a speciality of the Fifth Directorate. The Jewish movement for repatriation to Israel and freedom of emigration was considered the most important because of its "international significance."

    The 12th department, which was responsible for wiretapping conversations and buildings, was the most influential of all. It was called a department but in terms of staff numbers it was way ahead of several administrations. Controllers worked there, mostly women, with a salary of 300 rubles (slightly less than $300 at official Soviet exchange rates). It took one year for your personal profile to be reviewed before you were hired. Eight to 11 hours of tape was registered in one day on one "object," with seven controllers for one hour of tape. But it was impossible to listen in on everyone - the department did not have the opportunity. In general, they concentrated on international communication. "Before the Moscow Olympics international calls could not be placed directly. A telephone call had to be ordered; it was easier to control them," explains Petrov.




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