- For seven decades the headquarters of the Russian security service was in the Lubyanka, an office building in central Moscow. During the tsarist period, the Lubyanka was the headquarters of the State Insurance Company, whose Russian acronym Gostrakh can also be translated as an acronym for “state fear.” A Russian joke of the 1930s was that the Lubyanka had gone from Gostrakh to Gosuzhas: from state fear to state horror. It was also said that the Lubyanka was the tallest building in Moscow, because from its cellars one could see Siberia.During the Stalinist period, the Lubyanka also served as a jail and interrogation center. Executions of important prisoners were carried out there and at Lefortovo prison, as well as at Butovo, on the outskirts of the city, where there were mass graves. Following Joseph Stalin’s death, the KGB used the building as its headquarters, while prisoners were kept and interrogated at Lefortovo and Butyrka prisons. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Lubyanka became the headquarters of the FSB (Federal Security Service), and the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service) moved its headquarters to Yasenevo on the Moscow Ring Road.
Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. Robert W. Pringle. 2014.
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