The Soviet Security services varied much through out the years and were both the most feared and most powerful government agencies that the Union ever saw. The responsibilities of the Services varied from being responsible for propaganda to controlling Siberian labor camps. Contrary to popular belief there were seven different services, not just the one KGB that is commonly referred to as the single Soviet security service.
The VeCheka was Vladimir Lenin’s device for keeping his newly founded country together. It was founded on the 20th of December in 1917, right at the beginning of the Soviet Union. The USSR was in a tenuous place after the revolution of 1917 and Lenin, with the help of Dzerzhinsky, founded the All-Russian Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage or the VeCheka in Russian. The Cheka was used to capture former Czar officials who were on the run and could possibly spring a new revolution to bring back the exiled czar1 and try to control the country. The Cheka began the organization of a spy program that would last for almost a century and recruit more spies than any other agency in the history of the world. The legacy of the VeCheka still remains, as the secret policemen during Soviet times were referred to as “Chekists” and the secret policemen in Russia today are still referred to as “Chekists”, as they were called while the VeCheka still existed.
The VeCheka was replaced by the GPU in 1922 to present a fresh face for the Secret Police and a new look for the Politburo. The GPU was created as that the current security service would not a bad image, the Cheka had been rather hated and feared by the people of the USSR, and it had slightly different duties than the VeCheka. The GPU, “State Political Directorate” in English, was used also for the security of the borders of the Soviet Union as well as controlling new unions that “joined”. The GPU lasted only one year before it gained such a bad reputation about the purges and labor camps that it was disbanded in 1923 and replaced by the OGPU.
The OGPU was the first security service that prosecuted religion and freedom of speech. It was founded in 1923 to enhance the power of the service as well as give it a fresh face. The OGPU worked to abolish the Russian Orthodox Church, one of the most extreme branches of Catholicism. It nearly succeeded however secret meetings were still held underground and in far off regions where the government was not strong.
The largest and quite possibly most successful operation by the OGPU was called the “Trust Operation”. The Trust Operation was used to make money for the USSR, lure exiled Russians to Moscow, and worked as propaganda machine after being disbanded in 1924. The idea of the operation was to have a group, “The Trust”, working in western...