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Georgia Table of Contents


Internal Security

The Georgian internal security agency with the closest ties to Moscow was the Georgian branch of the Committee for State Security (Komitet gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti--KGB). Beginning in 1990, the anticommunist independence movement exerted direct pressure on the Georgian KGB to accept independence. The first confrontation between Moscow and the Gamsakhurdia government came over appointments to top security posts in the republic. In November 1990, the Georgian parliamentary Commission on Security broke the tradition of Moscow-designated KGB chiefs by naming its own appointee. When Gorbachev threatened dire consequences, Gamsakhurdia simply left the chairmanship vacant but named his candidate first deputy chairman and thus acting chairman. At that point, top Georgian KGB officials voiced support for Gamsakhurdia and protested Gorbachev's interference, signaling a service commitment to Tbilisi rather than Moscow.

As late as mid-1991, Moscow continued financing activities of the Georgian KGB and provided part of the budget of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, which ran domestic intelligence and police agencies. Meanwhile, by 1991 the opposition to Gamsakhurdia was accusing the president of using the Georgian KGB to investigate and harass political enemies.

In May 1992, the Georgian KGB, which in the interim had been renamed the Ministry of Security, was formally replaced by the Information and Intelligence Service. The new agency, formed on the organizational foundation of the old KGB, was headed by Irakli Batiashvili, a thirty-year-old philosophy scholar who had been a National Democratic Party delegate to the National Congress.

Data as of March 1994