Did the Soviets Spy on Their Own People?

Dec 2013
572
Detroit, Mi.
I have talked to ex USSR residents who said the Soviets never spied on the Soviet citizens. Is this true? Can anyone give detailed examples of when they did and books explaining it?
 
Aug 2016
338
Poland
Extremally general and not precise question: do you mean foreign intelligence?

Anyway the answer is that is not true.
What was the specialization of the person you talked to?
All eastern block intelligences were organized in similiar way and civil intelligence (meaning KGB in USSR) had special section dedicated to spy own citizens abroad if they tried to form some sort of opposition.
Moreover the intelligence had own counterintelligence section who maily spied own citizens.
If youtake a look into older Soviet intelligence history - initially in 20s they were mainly preoccupied to hunt down opposition to the leaders - case of Trocki.
Second they spied "White Russians".

Inside USSR counterintelligence was spying on own citizens heavily making this country very difficult to penetrate. Yet, training of future foreign agents included succesful acquisition of selected Soviet citizen (for example strategic factory worker) who did not know that it was training. After being succesfully "acquired" by trainee such poor citizen was of course arrested.

Here is Wiki about KGB:
Foreign intelligence is First Directoriate of KGB and even foreign intelligence contains section 16: which is specialized in emigrants - meaning Russians living abroad.
There is also "RT" section: operations in Soviet Union - meaning that even foreign intelligence was doing some operations in home soil.
Sorry that I link to Polish wiki but somehow Polish article contains this information while English and Russian do not, so use translator: https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Zarząd_Główny_KGB#Struktura_Pierwszego_Zarz.C4.85du_G.C5.82.C3.B3wnego
 
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Isoroku295

Ad Honorem
Jan 2009
8,534
In the Past
Well... yes, they spied. What nation doesn't spy on it's citizens? Despotic nations such as the USSR would have been more focused on it's own citizens then other nations.
 
Dec 2013
572
Detroit, Mi.
Extremally general and not precise question: do you mean foreign intelligence?

Anyway the answer is that is not true.
What was the specialization of the person you talked to?
All eastern block intelligences were organized in similiar way and civil intelligence (meaning KGB in USSR) had special section dedicated to spy own citizens abroad if they tried to form some sort of opposition.
If you however take a look into Soviet intelligence history - initially in 20s they were mainly preoccupied to hunt down opposition to the leaders - case of Trocki.
Second they spied "White Russians".

Inside USSR counterintelligence was spying on own citizens heavily making this country very difficult to penetrate. Yet, training of future foreign agents included succesful acquisition of selected Soviet citizen (for example strategic factory worker) who did not know that it was training. After being succesfully "acquired" by trainee such poor citizen was of course arrested.
Well... yes, they spied. What nation doesn't spy on it's citizens? Despotic nations such as the USSR would have been more focused on it's own citizens then other nations.
I guess that's true, I mean internal intelligence by the way on their own citizens I knew they spied on other countries. I was mainly looking to see if there are any detailed documents or accounts of them spying on their Russian citizens and if there's any books about it.
 

Maribat

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
5,049
I have talked to ex USSR residents who said the Soviets never spied on the Soviet citizens. Is this true? Can anyone give detailed examples of when they did and books explaining it?
Why taking examples of the times long gone? Trotzky, Stalin etc. I think the question is about the recent soviet times.70-s, 80-s. Well, I guess it depends on the level of the person. If he's up there, he is surely spied upon. Otherwise not. Who cares what simple people do? But... they say most organisations had people drafted by the KGB to tell on their colleges. Yes. That's true. My wife was approached to be such a person. She refused. No, nothing happened. I think they drafted someone else.
 
Nov 2012
766
There an urban legend around these parts that every tenth East German worked for Secret Service and that they (Secret Service) had mikes and other surveillance technology installed in peoples radio, tv etc.
Any truth in that?

* I do realize that it's not precisely Soviet Union, but I guess we can call people of DDR "Soviets"
 

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Yes but so did the USA.Edgar Hoover had as big snooping files on American private citizens as any Soviet dictator did on their private citizens and used them .
Among millions of Americans so treated were actor Paul Newman and other famous people known for their Liberal views.