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This report examines the role of the Soviet secret police (KGB) in some of the most important power struggles in the Kremlin since the death of Stalin. It relies heavily on an ability to separate useful information from the misinformation and disinformation that are too often found in the only available sources--publications and statements by Soviet and ex-Soviet participants and observers. The available evidence leaves little doubt that the KGB has been an instrument and arena of internecine conflict among Soviet leaders from its founding in April 1954. Thanks to their control of an immense arsenal of politically potent weapons, moreover, KGB cadres appear to have played important and sometimes decisive roles in the allocation of power and authority in the Kremlin under all of Stalin's successors.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation joint report soviet series. The joint report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1988 to 1993 that included documents published jointly with other organizations, which transmitted major research findings and final research.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.