Bobkov, Filip Denisovich

(1925– )
   An experienced intelligence officer whose career in the KGB spanned five decades, Bobkov directed KGB activities against dissidents for more than 15 years. During World War II, he served in Smersh, and he entered the security service in 1946. In the late 1960s he took a prominent role in the Fifth Directorate (Counterintelligence within the Intelligentsia). Under his direction, the KGB penetrated underground religious and nationalist organizations. Bobkov oversaw the persecution and eventual exile of Nobel Prize laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He also worked to coordinate active measures against Soviet and East European dissidents. Bobkov was described by one KGB colleague as the agency’s main ideological watchdog.
   Bobkov, whose career was closely mentored by KGB chief Yuri Andropov, rose to deputy chair of the service in 1982. During Mikhail Gorbachev’s period of leadership, Bobkov refocused the Fifth Directorate from the struggle with dissidents to the suppression of corruption. He oversaw KGB activities during nationalist riots in Alma Ata (1986) and Baku (1990). But in late 1990, Bobkov publicly criticized Gorbachev, noting in a television interview that he had been “disillusioned” with Gorbachev. He also complained at Central Committee meetings about the growth of “informal groups” in the Baltic Republic and Moscow. Bobkov retired from the KGB in 1991. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, he became a security advisor to MOST Bank chair Viktor Gusinskiy and wrote a revealing memoir about the KGB.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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