Soviet Union Perestroika Hits the KGB

Gorbachev attempts to bend the third pillar

Compared with other government anterooms in Moscow, the lobby of the three- story, neoclassical building just across from the Zoomagazin pet shop at 22 Kuznetsky Most Street exudes a civilized calm. Near the entrance a red-and- gold sign proclaims that the public is welcome 24 hours a day. Two guards politely answer questions, and visitors can leaf through the neatly arranged newspapers while relaxing on comfortable brown leather sofas. This paragon of bureaucratic efficiency is the reception center of the Committee for State Security, better known by its initials: KGB.

Peeking into the orderly KGB waiting room, a block away from...

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