The KGB was the premier policing agency in the former Soviet Union. The agency, formally known as the Committee for State Security, was largely known as a USSR espionage agency during the period of the Cold War. The KGB came into existence under its final name when it was formed in 1954 by restructuring and transitioning police agencies to serve as the international secret service of the Soviet bloc, operating divisions in each of the Soviet satellite nations. The KGB was largely involved in four particular areas of political activity in the Soviet Union as well as abroad.
The KGB was notorious for placement of agents in critical and deceptive governmental positions, acting in a perceptive front in order to gather information about specific investigation targets. The agency was eliminated in November 1991 when it surfaced that the KGB had been a major component in the attempted overthrow of Mikhail Gorbachev in August of the same year. Gorbachev finally resigned in December 1991, as the economic collapse of the Soviet Union became obvious.
Dissolution of the KGB may have been a perceptive measure. It was replaced in 1991 with the FSK, or Federal Counterintelligence Service. The FSK was closed in 1995 as the Russian Federation crumbled. The agency was renamed as the FSB, but maintained a similar operational mission. The KGB units that were operational in the Russian satellite nations are contemporarily in service in some countries, such as Belarus.
Gorbachev still makes the claim that the KGB is currently operating informally in the Russian government by virtue of the revolving door governmental placement of national leaders and their obsession with power in the former Soviet region. Several of the leaders who continue to reappear in the Russian government in various positions after each perceived transition of power began their political careers or facilitated their political rise as officers of the KGB. The political alliances of former KGB agents such as former President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are still strong and the national leaders who were operatives, whether they were undercover or validated, still hold positions of power by virtue of these political relationships.
In addition, several of these powerful national leaders with KGB backgrounds have enhanced their personal wealth immensely during the twenty years since the collapse of the communist system and appear to be acting in concert to keep themselves and their political cronies in power positions to continue building personal wealth. Putin is a prime example of this activity and uses his KGB training tactics to crush anyone who opposes him politically. In many respects, the modern Russia is similar to the old Russia without the USSR political federation.
The KGB still maintains an operational directory of active reserves that are in positions of power in the FSB and SFR helping to maintain the secretive mission of the old KGB. The "Law on Foreign Intelligence" required former career KGB personnel be placed on the Board of Directors for all Russian companies in order to maintain corporate compliance to former Russian principles and to assure the Russian government that no one company is operating in a manner that is counter to the wishes and stability of the state.
In this manner, the KGB is still organized loosely and is informally involved in the power structure of the modern Russian economy, though Russian businesses are all aware that the KGB had once been the world's most efficient collector of volatile information that is not shared with the public. The reputation of the KGB will linger over the rule of Russia as long as these former intelligence officers are allowed to hold active positions in a government structure that is largely perceptional and pro-free market while operating in a backsliding fashion similar to the informational secrecy and intimidation that made the KGB internationally famous.