Hungarian Revolution

   The KGB was unable to provide the Soviet leadership any warning of the October 1956 revolution that deposed the pro-Soviet Hungarian government. The archives show that both the Soviet embassy and Moscow were stunned by the level of violence, and the execution of Hungarian party and security police officials. The KGB did play, however, an important role in the restoration of communist power in Hungary. KGB officers identified Hungarian militants for arrest and persecution; more than 300 were executed, including nationalist leader Imre Nagy. The KGB also helped reestablish the Hungarian security organizations.
   The KGB repeatedly warned the Soviet leadership in the fall of 1956 that the Hungarian revolution could have consequences for Soviet society. The leadership, they argued, could not allow Magyars greater rights that Balts, Ukrainians, and Russians. Filip Bobkov, later a deputy chair of the KGB, noted in his memoirs that the Hungarian revolution set off student protests in several Soviet universities, but the KGB squashed the protests and ensured the punishment of their leaders.
   Soviet ambassador Yuri Andropov was deeply influenced by events in Budapest. As KGB chair from 1967 to 1982, Andropov often told people that he wanted to ensure that no such explosion could ever happen again inside the Soviet bloc. Andropov’s strong support for a crackdown on the Prague Spring in 1968 undoubtedly sprang from his experiences in Budapest in 1956. Andropov’s decisions to harshly punish Soviet dissidents and to push for the exile of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn can also be explained by his fear that intellectual dissent could lead to counterrevolution.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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