Orders of the Chief of the Main Military Counterintelligence Directorate from the year 1989

Introductory Notes :: Military Counterintelligence

As of 1951, Military Counterintelligence (Vojenská kontrarozvědka – VKR) was a unit of the State Security Service (Státní bezpečnost – StB) functioning within the structure and apparatus of the Czechoslovak Army, Border Guard Service and Armed Services of the Ministry of the Interior, during its first year under the name Military Intelligence Service (Vojenská zpravodajská služba).

The VKR as an independent unit was created after WWII, based on the Soviet model. As early as April 1945, during the emergence of the so-called Košice government, the original intelligence service at the Ministry of National Defense was divided into intelligence and counterintelligence units. Counterintelligence received the name Main Defense Intelligence Directorate (Hlavní spraáva obranného zpravodajství); at its head was the later infamous Bedřich Reicin, probably a Soviet agent. In 1946, this military counterintelligence service was incorporated into the Armed Forces Headquarters as Department 5.

Its main task was to follow political opinions of the officers’ corps in the Armed Forces, and after the communist assumption of power in February 1948, carry out political purges and uncover enemy agents. With these were associated roundups, imprisonments and torture of officers, especially those who during the war had actively fought in foreign Czechoslovak military units. The “little house” (domeček) at the Hradčany Castle District (infamously known as a special prison facility belonging to the Czechoslovak military, where the worst punishments were carried out) earned its notoriety after February 1948 due to the tyranny and torture that took place there; the most well-known victim of communist judicial murders became General H. Píka.

After February 1948, there followed several reorganizations and the renaming of the VKR, until in May 1952 it became a part of the Ministry of National Security under the name Main Military Counterintelligence Directorate (Hlavní správa vojenské kontrarozvědky). After the reorganization of the Ministry of the Interior in the year 1953, the VKR headquarters was incorporated into it under the cover name Directorate VI of the Ministry of the Interior, and from that time until the fall of the communist regime, it was considered part of the State Security Service (StB); as of 1964 it also held the cover name Directorate III.

The VKR’s mission was, among other things, to protect military secrets, prevent the occurrence of emergency incidents and desertions, fight against the spread of “enemy ideologies,” and so on. For these purposes, it made use of its own network of collaborators and secret collaborators, maintained its own meeting apartments, records, registries and archives. Its headquarters functioned as a part of the Ministry of the Interior, and had responsibility for the “protection” of the Ministry of National Security and the General Staff of the Czechoslovak People’s Army (Československá Lidová Armáda – ČSLA). A majority of VKR employees served at military commands of various levels. At the end of the regime, its staff totalled around 1,000 people; an additional 4,000 collaborators cooperated with them. As for soldiers on compulsory military duty, they often did not even understand what they were doing. But the officers and civilians who helped in counterintelligence protection of military property and in the supervision of the sought-after “moral-political state of rank and file personnel” understood very well. The Border Guards Intelligence Service maintained similar activity in the strictly guarded border zone. Their headquarters was likewise a part of the Ministry of the Interior.

After November 1989, the VKR was transferred to the provenance of the Ministry of National Defense, along with all records, archives and units of existing servicemen. At the Ministry, the VKR was converted into the Military Defense Intelligence Service (Vojenské obranné zpravodajství – VOZ).

Excerpted from Encyklopedie špionáže ze zákulisí tajných služeb, zejména Státní bezpečnosti (Encyclopedia of Espionage from Behind the Scenes of the Secret Services, Especially the State Security Service). Milan Churaň and Co.. Nakladatelství Libri, Prague, 2000.

Web Project: The Events of 1989 in Czechoslovakia

Orders of the Chief of the Main Military Counterintelligence Directorate from the year 1989 (in Czech only):