Skip to content

August 30, 1986

Order from the Chair of the Committee of State Security [KGB] of the USSR, 'On Measures to Strengthen the Counter-Intelligence Work at Atomic Energy Units in connection with the Accident at the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station'

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

[Stamp: “DECLASSIFIED” in Ukrainian]



[Handwritten in Ukrainian: “Not secret 24/2 4690 29.11.13]





30th of August 1986



On measures to strengthen the counter-intelligence work at atomic energy units in connection with the accident at the Chernobyl atomic energy station


The accident that occurred on April 26, 1986 at the Chernobyl atomic energy station turned out to be one of the most serious in the history of atomic energy. It led to the loss of human lives; the discharge of significant quantities of radioactive substances into the environment; brought serious moral, material, and political damages to the state; and raised great concern among all Soviet people and the global community.


The accident and its consequences are being used in bourgeois propaganda and the enemy’s secret services to unfold an anti-Soviet campaign, to discredit the atomic energy of our homeland, and to destroy the prestige of the Socialist economy and science. Speculating on what has occurred, the enemy is creating additional difficulty in the USSR’s trade with Western partners and making attempts to introduce elements of distrust into the cooperation between countries within the socialist community. The special services of the USA and its NATO allies are making bold attempts through agents acting under the cover of embassies of capitalist countries in Moscow, representatives from foreign companies, journalists, and other foreign citizens. They are also using technological means of surveillance to obtain secret information about the radiation conditions within and without the zone of the atomic energy station, the level of contamination among the population, military preparedness of Chemical Defense troops and the Citizens’ Defense, primary activities to eliminate the consequences of the accident, and so forth. Hostile elements within the population of Soviet citizens have been called upon to collect and hand over negative information to foreigners.


As the conclusions of the Government Commission demonstrate, the accident became possible first and foremost as a consequence of the irresponsible and negligent way that leadership of the Chernobyl atomic station and a number of managers in the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Medium Machine Building, and State Atomic Energy Inspectorate of the USSR addressed questions of nuclear safety, the lax expectations from the leadership regarding staff following the strictest discipline and order in the use of reactor installations, the decline of scientific research on a number of technical problems, inadequacies in the design of RBMK type reactors, and unsatisfactory implementation of Resolutions made by the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers to provide atomic energy stations that work in a highly reliable way.


Workers in subdivisions of the KGB’s central apparatus from the USSR, the Ukr. SSR, the BSSR, and the city of Kiev and Kiev Oblast are actively taking part in the investigation of the accident’s causes and activities to localize its consequences. An account about possible sabotage done by the enemy or hostile elements was painstakingly investigated (along with others) in a short period of time. Cooperation was provided by the offices of the Prosecutor in the investigation of criminal cases related to the accident, and information was provided in the form of a report to the authorities and appropriate Ministries possessing important significance for increasing the effectiveness of work in the Chernobyl zone to eliminate the preconditions for the appearance of negative expressions among certain categories of citizens.


At the same time the accident at the Chernobyl atomic energy station demonstrated with all clarity that the Chekist detail [Note: The Cheka does not exist at this point; they are referring to KGB and Ukr. KGB] at atomic energy units is still not meeting the requirements of the Resolution passed by the USSR College of the KGB on July 11, 1984: “On the Status of Counterintelligence Work in the Area of Atomic Energy and Measures to Further Improve It”.   It revealed the inadequacies of the system of operative measures and first and foremost in the warning about critical events at atomic stations and uncovering and removing the conditions and causes that head to accidents.


The Pripyat City Department of the Ukr. SSR KGB Administration did not pay the necessary attention in the process of its counterintelligence work to various experiments that entailed great risk and to tests at the active energy block of the Chernobyl atomic energy station, as well as to cases of negligence and violations of construction standards and rules on radiation safety and technical regulations on equipment use. The quality of the intelligence staff and its placement did not allow evaluation of the impact of the experiments conducted on the vulnerability of the station, or the reliability and safety of its use.


The Committee of State Security of the Ukr. SSR, having received information from the territorial offices of the Republic about conditions that could lead to dangerous incidents at atomic energy stations, did not react in the necessary way and did not always inform the USSR KGB, the Party, or State agencies of the Republic.


The activity of territorial agency subdivisions to carry out the College of the USSR KGB’s Resolution from July 11, 1984 were not sufficiently overseen by the Sixth Administration of the USSR KGB, and the continuity of the counterintelligence process at the atomic energy station was not always sufficiently reinforced by the necessary organizational measures, from the draft design and search for construction sites to the launch of the station.


Employees of the subdivisions of the central apparatus and the local sixth subdivisions of the KGB, based on the declarations of leading scientists and specialists about the absolute reliability of the RBMK type of reactors, did not fully study the signs of potential danger in its design, which was evident in the approach to the organization of counterintelligence efforts at atomic energy units to warn of critical events.


Insufficient measures were taken by the managing operative staff of the KGB that led the work at atomic energy units to swiftly reveal and eliminate conditions leading to accidents caused by violations of the technical process of using the atomic energy station and criminal negligence in the work of official individuals and service personnel of the station. The Recommendations of the Sixth Administration of the USSR KGB that were prepared and sent to the territorial offices on the improvement of counterintelligence at the atomic energy stations were not executed by them in full measure.


The accident at the Chernobyl atomic energy station is also a serious warning and lesson for the KGB. Its consequences demand with all urgency the that additional measures be taken in the interests of state safety to increase the role of the KGB in the existing system for ensuring the safe operation of atomic energy stations.




1. To the leadership of the Committee of State Security [KGB] of the Ukrainian SSR (Comrades S.N. Mukha and Iu.V. Petrov) and the Ukr. SSR KGB Administration for Kiev and Kiev Oblast (L.V. Bykhov):


To draw the necessary conclusions from the accident at the Chernobyl atomic energy station and conduct an analysis and reevaluation of the status of counterintelligence work at atomic energy stations and to bring it into strict conformity with the demands of the Resolution of the College of the USSR KGB from July 11th, 1984. To take active measures and increase personal responsibility for informing the USSR KGB and Party, Soviet, and domestic authorities on important questions relating to the safety of atomic stations in a timely manner.


To restore in the operative staff a sense of elevated responsibility in relation to their assigned cases, a deep understanding thereof, and of the fact that intelligence work in this division requires the capable approach of a new level of operative thinking. They should be oriented toward the creation of a reliable protective system for atomic energy stations from sabotage efforts by the enemy and hostile elements and the prevention of dangerous occurrences, including as a result of violations of established rules and standards in the design, construction, and operation of atomic stations.


2. To the chairpersons of the KGB of the Soviet Union and autonomous republics, to the leaders of the Ukr. KGB Administration for cities and oblasts, and to military counterintelligence, who provide intelligence to active atomic energy units, as well as those in the construction and design stages, scientific research and construction organizations, factories for production of equipment and fuel for atomic energy stations, and enterprises which ensure their production and utilization:


To take effective measures to swiftly reveal conditions that could cause accidents or dangerous occurrences at atomic energy stations. For these purposes:


-          To strengthen covert positions using recruiting highly qualified specialists and scientists who are capable of not only swiftly uncovering and competently evaluating violations and insufficiencies at atomic energy units but also introducing basic proposals to eliminate them and prevent their recurrence as dangerous incidents;


-          To devote particular attention to uncovering individuals whose actions create conditions that cause dangerous incidents and swiftly uncover the causes and motives of their behavior’s possible connection to the enemy’s special services;


-          To ensure close cooperation with the administration and oversight authorities. To more actively use Chekist positions in inspection services and the Inspectorate in order to obtain information with operative significance on the condition of equipment, conducting of scientific experiments, the quality of construction, repair or launch work at active atomic energy units or those under construction. To evaluate signals from all sides about possible consequences of violations of technological processes, rules of operation, and security regimes and radiation condition standards;


-          To swiftly uncover failures connected with the use, storage, and transportation of radioactive waste. To uncover and inspect individuals connected with the theft of radioactive isotopes, establish the purposes and motives of their activities, and take energetic measures to prevent the use of radioactive substances and isotopes for hostile purposes;


-          To improve cooperation between Ministry of Internal Affairs agencies and troops, Chemical Defense, subdivisions of the Citizens Defense, and medical services. To create a reliable intelligence presence in these areas and consistently oversee the condition of their preparedness for action in emergency conditions;


-          To swiftly inform Party, Soviet, and domestic administrative agencies related to atomic energy units about all insufficiencies that could lead to dangerous incidents uncovered by covert means; to definitively eliminate them; to enable the formation of a condition of intolerance in the collectives toward any instances of carelessness, complacency, or other deviations that could have a negative effect on the safety system of atomic energy units;


-          To the officers of the USSR KGB active reserve, to deputy directors of atomic energy stations by regime, and in places where they do not exist, to the heads of city district agencies of the KGB and KGB Administration:


To also compliantly report without delay to the Sixth Administration of the USSR KGB on all instances of actual conditions that could lead to dangerous occurrences demanding immediate intervention by the appropriate Ministries and agencies.


3. To the Sixth Administration and the USSR KGB Investigative Department, along with other subdivisions:


To provide active help to the offices of the Prosecutor in the investigation of criminal cases in relation to actual perpetrators of the accident at the Chernobyl atomic energy station. To prepare an overview of covert operative and investigative activities and its results, with the participation of the Higher School of the USSR KGB, as well as recommendations on investigation methods of dangerous occurrences at atomic energy stations.


4. To the Ukr. SSR KGB, the BSSR KGB, the KGB Administration for Briansk and other Oblasts leading work in districts subjected to radioactive contamination, and special departments of the USSR KGB that are providing military subdivisions to participate in the elimination of the consequences of the accident:


To react sharply to signs of activities by foreigners and their connections among Soviet citizens to collect information about the scale and consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl atomic energy station; to swiftly uncover any existing preconditions for the development of negative events, and to take measures to prevent them. To use Chekist capacities in full measure in order to ensure cooperation in the existing State efforts to eliminate the consequences of the accident, and to precisely oversee the operative conditions in the accident zone and districts surrounding it.


5. To the Sixth Administration of the USSR KGB, the KGB of the Lithuanian SSR, the KGB Administration for Kiev and the Kiev, Leningrad, Kursk, and Smolensk Oblasts in consideration of failures uncovered in the design of RBMK type reactors and noted efforts to redesign them:


To introduce appropriate correctives to the counterintelligence plans at atomic energy stations.


6. To the First Main Administration:


To activate the work of fixed-post spies to uncover the plans and intentions of the enemy’s secret services in relation to atomic energy in the USSR, and to obtain scientific and technical information on questions related to the safe use of nuclear energy. In cooperation with safety agencies of friends and the Sixth Administration of the USSR KGB, to strengthen work to prevent dangerous occurrences at atomic energy stations erected in cooperation between the USSR and its Socialist allies. To persistently protest the attempts of the enemy’s special services to discredit the development of Soviet energy and cooperation in this area between the USSR and other countries.


7. To establish that the 6th subdivision and City District agencies of the KGB and KGB Administration are carrying out counterintelligence work in the Commandant’s offices of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Special Troops, and providing for the safety of atomic energy stations.



8. The Administration of USSR KGB cadre and the Sixth Administration of the USSR KGB:


To develop activities over three months directed at strengthening the cadre of the KGB and KGB Administration City District Apparatuses who are doing counterintelligence work at atomic energy stations, and to increase their professional and technical level.


9. The Sixth Administration of the USSR KGB:


-To strengthen oversight and provision of practical assistance to territorial KGB agencies providing state security at atomic energy stations;


-To develop a Regulation on Deputy Directors for Safety Procedures within 3 months in conjunction with the Ministry of Atomic Energy and present it to the USSR KGB;


-To conduct a conference together with other interested subdivisions of the central apparatus in December 1986 led by the KGB staff and Deputy Directors for Safety Procedures that are doing counterintelligence work at nuclear energy stations, industries, and scientific research installations.


10. To consider invalid Directive Number 390 of the KGB of the USSR from June 14th, 1986 .


Committee Chair V. Chebrikov





The Chairman lists a series of directives and responses to the Chernobyl incident, addressed to different levels of KGB cadre, discussing ways to strengthen standards at nuclear power facilities, calling for increased responsibility for the failure of local KGB staff to inform the central command on plant issues, recommending that specialists be pulled in to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities going forward, and implementing more intense oversight at all nuclear plants and scientific research facilities to ensure that issues which may lead to accidents are known.

Document Information


HDA SBU, f. 9, spr. 34. Originally published by the Center for Research into the Liberation Movement (TsDVR) together with the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv at


The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.

To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].

Original Uploaded Date



Record ID



Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)