Soviet Union Table of Contents
Although the security police was always a government rather than a party institution, the party considered this agency to be its own vital arm and sought to maintain the closest supervision and control over its activities. The KGB was nominally subordinate to the Council of Ministers. But the CPSU, not the government, exercised control and direction. Aside from the Politburo, which probably issued general policy directives, another vehicle for such party control was, according to Western specialists, the State and Legal Department of the Central Committee Secretariat (see Secretariat , ch. 7). This department supervised all government agencies concerned with legal affairs, security, and defense, including the Ministry of Defense. It implemented party control by approving personnel appointments and exercising general oversight to ensure that these agencies were following party directives. From 1968 to 1988, the chief of this department, which probably had a staff of fifty to sixty employees, was Nikolai Savinkin. From the available evidence, it appears that the department did not involve itself as deeply in KGB affairs as it did in the activities of other state agencies, such as the MVD. Given the sensitive nature of KGB functions, the party leadership may have been reluctant to allocate to the State and Legal Department the most important decisions about KGB personnel and policy. Rather, the Central Committee secretaries charged with oversight responsibilities for the State and Legal Department probably made the key decisions. Such a portfolio was an important source of political power for a Central Committee secretary and was therefore a highly coveted responsibility. In January 1987, Anatolii Lukianov was brought into the Secretariat to supervise the State and Legal Department. He was, however, only a junior secretary, so Gorbachev or another senior secretary may have had the ultimate responsibility. Lukianov, an apparent ally of Gorbachev, had attended Moscow University's Law Faculty when Gorbachev was there in the early 1950s.
Data as of May 1989