FSB HQ “museum”
Historical showroom (demonstrative Hall) of Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia, which is often called a “museum” of the State Security Committee (KGB), was founded in 1984 on the initiative of the KGB chairman Yuri Andropov (1914-1984) for the employees of its own departments.
The Hall was created for professional training of the KGB employees, as well as for the education of young employees in the secret service traditions, including, however the “communism propaganda” goals: the getting of the KGB ID, the NKVD/KGB veteran meeting place (ChkA/ NKVD / KGB 20 December main celebration, the birth days or Funeral rituals). Lectures on the history of the special intelligence services to cadets and officers.
Since 1989 it has been opened the access for non-military visitors, but with the special permission. The building where the museum is located, is a high-security regime objects, so applications for tours served in a few weeks. Except one entrance to the food/ drink shop (during the soviet era KGB agents could buy any food and alcohol drinks)
For the permission to museum the passport data where required. Duration of the guided excursion is from 2 to 6 hours. The guide is traditionally without the uniform and any insignias but in the sub-colonel rank. His traditional name is “Ivanov Ivan Ivanovich”. His assistant name is also “Ivanov Ivan Ivanovich” 🙂
The rules require a visit to disable mobile phones. Taking photographs is allowed only in designated small areas without the face of Ivanov Ivan Ivanovich.
The museum has four rooms and more than two thousand items.
The exposition starts with the display of documents connected with the beginning of the intelligence and counter intelligence activities in the Russian State. The following serves a good example: in 1380 thanks to Boyarin Zachary Tyutchev, who was the head of the embassy of the Great Moscow Prince Dmitry in Golden Horde, the Mamay hordes were smashed. Tyutchev misinformed Mamay about the Russian forces, and also obtained valuable information of the place and time Mamay was to meet Lithuanian Pronce Yagailo and Ryazan Prince Oleg, who were supported to make arrangements for uniting their troops. There are a number of documents going back to the time of Peter I, Catherine II and documents 1812-1914 wars. There are papers, telling about the victories and mistakes of Russian special services in their fight with espionage, terrorism and also the work, connected with political parties of the 1917 revolution.
The main hall exhibition covers the history of the Russian counter-intelligence since 1918 – the creation of the Cheka – until 1991*, when the collapse of the USSR formally ended the history of the KGB. The Secret Service was divided into counterintelligence, or FSB, and the Foreign Intelligence Service (ex. PGU KGB = SVR, located in Yasenevo restricted area in Moscow aka “Les” – Wood), which manages a network of the agents abroad. The stories of your guide are much interesting that the exhibits of that small museum.
CheKa and the OGPU
Excursion does start from a large white bust of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Cheka. A great number of documents devoted to the creation and development of Soviet Secret Services are widely represented in the museum. In the historic hall, which was formerly known as “Chekist Hall KGB”, the new FSB officers take an oath on the Russian Constitution. There are three options put uniforms of employees of the Cheka-OGPU-NKVD-MGB (mostly replicas) and the uniforms of the current FSB officers.
1937 repression and the Great Terror
A number of stands show the events connected with mass repressions, violation of justice, which took place in the 30s-40s till Stalin death.
World War 2 and SMERSH – NKVD
A separate Hall is dedicated to the activities of NKVD during WWII (Great Patriotic War). In the fight against the Germany military espionage the Soviet Intelligence (SMERSH) ganed the upper hand. The enemy was defeated. Hitler Intelligence and other special Services ceased to exist.
Cold War era
The pilot of the US spy plane Francis Powers, shot down in 1962, was the last of the prisoners, which for some time kept in the Lubyanka (“internal prison”)**. He was then traded in the US Colonel William Fischer, known as Rudolf Abel. The showcase presents items from the plane U-2, including photographic equipment, automatic, short-wave radio. The rest of the things you can see the American pilot in the Central Museum of the border, is also under the authority of the Federal Security Service.
Impressive arsenal of the secret spy supplies. The tube, which is smoked Kim Philby, a double agent and the former employee of the British secret service, all range the secret devices taken from captured in Russia CIA agents. The guide shows how an ordinary-looking backpack in a minute turns into a mini-helicopter. Gramophone record, losing backwards, the message from the “Center”. Very curious microphones embedded in a cigarette pack, and micro-camera, which films were hiding in the eyeglass frame. In the last room – the exhibits 90s, including weapons confiscated from terrorists.. From commemorative books Visitors can get extended information about the leaders of the organization, from the Felix Dzerzhinsky to the current director of the FSB.
The current situation with the museum.
Long time the showrooms (Halls) the KGB veterans used as the meeting place with the traditional table of the food, vodka and cognac. It was the attempt to move the meeting place to other side of the B.Lubianka street at the special KGB style small restaurant “Mayor Pronin”, but… The small salary of KGB veteran does not let to spend a time in the restaurant with the high prices… They continue spend the meeting at the KGB halls and durind this time “museum” is traditionally closed for the visitors…
Since yearly 2000 KGB museum is however was closed for the tourists.
We can offer you the virtual excursion only , but….the visit to other KGB museum (Front Troops or the Border guard service). Nice and largest, restricted, but no strong. Check KGB-FSB museum (Front Troops) at our web-site
As the compensation instead of 4 showrooms we can offer you 1 hour the special excursion on Lubianka historical areas: the monuments, HQ for the different periods (including Russian Civil War), the historical buildings etc.
** at this moment FSB uses the Lefortovo prison