There were several major events that the KGB either failed to predict or misjudged, e.g., it

  • underestimated the Solidarity movement in Poland

  • failed to predict the fall of the Berlin Wall

  • did not foresee the fall of the USSR itself

I can also add massive disasters with Chernobyl and the outcome of the Afghan War, which were also due to the KGB failing to provide accurate info and predict dangers.

Was the KGB, at least after 1975, actually an efficient institution in any way? Or was it just a propaganda tool and a provider of sinecures for its staff?

  • 4
    Your question is rather naive (believing that the political leadership always heads the advice given to them by these services) and superficial (it was not the KGB choice that the Brezhnev Doctrine was no longer being inforced ; not even the east german government properly understood what effect the order for the 10 of November would have - and they didn't inform the SU beforehand ; Chernobyl was caused by a technical problem ; the Afghan war the responsiblity of the military GRU). Jul 22, 2023 at 11:36
  • 1
    Chernobyl was caused by a technical problem that was covered by KGB for years before it happened. Also domestic nuclear security was one of KGB fields of work. The decision to invade Afghanistan in 1979 was made by a small group within the Politburo led by KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov. He persuaded Leonid Brezhnev this would secure Soviet influence. Sorry, mate, looks you have zero idea what you are talking about. Jul 22, 2023 at 11:50
  • 2
    Quite the opposite, it wasn't powerful enough in the real world, but it produced a powerful image, these are different things. So my question in a way is - to how much the power was a fake when dealing with real difficult issues Jul 22, 2023 at 12:02
  • 2
    The secret ingredient for such services is to have peaple believe that they are all knowing and all powerfull so that everyone will say to themselfs: resistance is futile. Jul 22, 2023 at 12:10
  • 4
    How do you measure effective? "effective" is like "pretty" there are no standard units of measure. And effective for what purpose? Your question measures presumed failures without any knowledge of successes or attempts, which would confound even the most trivial measures of effectiveness. An interesting pub discussion, but fundamentally a subjective/opinion question.
    – MCW
    Jul 22, 2023 at 12:54


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