Like the CIA, the Soviet (and now Russian) spy agency known as the KGB has engaged in decades of secret operations across the world, ranging from blackmail to kidnapping. Most of the secrets that we know about the KGB today are because of one man—Vasili Mitrokhin. Mitrokhin was an archivist for the KGB for 30 years before he defected to the UK and handed over hi s25,000-page archive of secret KGB files. Here are some of the KGB’s most disturbing and outlandish secret operations.
10. Attacks On America’s Infrastructure
From 1959–72, the KGB began to photograph US power plants, dams, oil pipelines, and infrastructure for a nefarious operation that would disrupt the power supply to all of New York. Once they picked targets that they thought were vulnerable, the KGB set up a safe house near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. From there, KGB agents sought to plan and carry out a series of attacks on America’s power systems.
Hydroelectric dams, which generate a significant portion of the US’s energy supply, were a target. The KGB formulated an elaborate plan to destroy two large hydroelectric dams, the Hungry Horse Dam and Flathead Dam, in Montana. Taking the two dams out of commission would cripple the power supply of the state and surrounding region. The attack was to begin 3 kilometers (2 mi) down the South Fork River from Hungry Horse Dam. The KGB planned to have operatives destroy power pylons on top of a tall mountain slope, which would be difficult to get back online, indefinitely knocking out power transmission from the dam. Then, the operatives were to seize the Hungry Horse Dam’s controls and destroy them. The attacks would have knocked out the power supply to all of New York state.
From the Soviet Union’s Canadian embassy, the KGB also planned to further disrupt America’s energy supply by attacking oil pipelines between Canada and the United States. The plot, called Operation Cedar, was planned for over a decade. The KGB even sought to destroy oil refineries in Canada, which supply a great deal of America’s gasoline.
All of the attacks on America’s power system were part of a larger scheme to attack New York City. Once they had knocked out most of the power in the United States with the earlier attacks, the KGB plotted to use the chaos and darkness to plant explosives on piers and warehouses along the Port of New York, a crucial harbor for America’s commerce and imports.
9. Hostage Crisis Retribution
In 1974, the KGB created an elite counterterrorism task force with the mysterious name “Alpha Group.” The Alpha Group was used by the KGB to carry out top secret and often dangerous missions for the USSR—and now Russia—including a bloody and vicious mission in Lebanon.
In 1985, the Soviet Union found itself with its first major hostage crisis after four Soviet diplomats were kidnapped in Lebanon by terrorists affiliated with an Islamic terrorist group. The kidnappers reportedly took the Soviets hostage to stop the USSR from giving support to Syria’s efforts in the Lebanese civil war, which the country was then embroiled in. After the Soviet diplomats were taken hostage, the kidnappers sent chilling photographs to news agencies of the hostages with guns to their heads. The terrorists demanded that the USSR force Syria-affiliated forces to stop attacking Iran-affiliated forces fighting in northern Lebanon, or the hostages would be executed.
Initially, the USSR was open to some form of negotiations with the terrorists to release the hostages unscathed. Things changed when the USSR didn’t seem to stop the Syrian forces’ involvement in the civil war, and the terrorists executed one of the hostages only two days after the initial demands were made.
That’s when the USSR abandoned negotiating, and the KGB took swift and bloody action. First, the KGB investigated what organization was behind the the kidnappings and found it to be the work of Hezbollah. That’s when the KGB did a bit of kidnapping of their own, snatching a close relative of a Hezbollah leader. They began to dismember him, castrating him and sending some of his dismembered body parts to the kidnappers of the Soviets. Soon after, the KGB killed the Hezbollah relative.
Then, the KGB sent the Hezbollah leader a message indicating that they knew of many more of his relatives and their whereabouts and warned that they would suffer the same fate if the hostages were not released. The Islamic terrorists holding the Soviets took notice and released the remaining three Soviet diplomats shortly after, entirely unscathed and without further demands.
Read About the Other 8 Operations at ListVerse