Civil Authority and the Security Organs

  • J. Michael Waller


Six years of perestroika failed to provide a legal mandate for, or civilian control of, the security organs of the Soviet Union. The first six months following the USSR’s collapse left little room for optimism that true reform would come soon. Throughout that period, however, intensive efforts were made to project the illusion that the state security bodies, the Interior Ministry, and the military were under direct democratic control of a partially elected parliament. The Committee for State Security (KGB) and its successor bodies, and to a lesser extent the Ministry of Internal Affairs, attempted to mask their far-reaching powers by unprecedented public relations campaigns, selective and fragmentary opening of archives, live interviews with top security officers, and public interaction with the citizenry.


State Security Security Organ Civil Authority Civil Control Foreign Intelligence 
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  1. 7.
    Françoise Thorn, “The Red Army: A New Role?” Perspective (Boston University Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology and Policy) vol. 1, no. 3, February 1991, p. 6; Jennifer Scheck Lee, The Supreme Soviet Defense and Security Committee: Limited Oversight Capabilities (Palo Alto, Calif.: Global Outlook, 1991).Google Scholar

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© Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy 1992

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  • J. Michael Waller

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