View Full Version : Breaking someone out of KGB headquarters?

C.M. Daniels
12-01-2012, 01:03 AM
I'm in the process of finishing up a first draft of a time travel novel that has four of my main characters breaking a fifth main character out of Lubyanka (KGB headquarters). This is in 1988. So far, the scene I wrote is very Hollywood (bordering on silly/guns blazing in a lobby), mainly because I don't know a lot about the building.

Do any of you in AWland know of any sources on this? So far, my research hasn't taken me very far. Sources need not be in English.

Thank you! And in return if anyone is looking for some help from a Coroner for murder/death/forensic questions, let me know.

12-02-2012, 02:58 AM
Unsurprisingly, I wasn't able to find anything useful on the Web, aside from the fact that there's a KGB museum there now that can be visited with a prior appointment.

Given its size and age, I'd suspect that its a big donut, with offices surrounding an atrium or courtyard. It is quite possible, however, that such a courtyard could have been filled in over the years.

Solzhenitsyn describes the prison in his book "the Gulag Archipelago," though not during the same era. Possibly if you went to Amazon and searched for the Gulag Archipelago, the 'people who liked this also liked...' function might lead you to other sources.

King Neptune
12-02-2012, 03:09 AM
Did you try searching google maps? I just put in lubyanka square, then I hit maps and I got an aerial photo, but I don't know which are the KGB buildings.

But now I do.

The resolution isn't all that good, but it gives a good idea of the buildings.

L.C. Blackwell
12-02-2012, 10:30 AM
If you don't mind reading through the book--simply because I can't remember all of it, and don't feel like chasing the relevant parts--Vladimir Kuzichkin, who defected in 1982, wrote Inside the KGB. There's some level of detail on entrances, procedures and who occupied which floor.

Please note, however, that by 1988, only parts of the KGB remained at Lubyanka, including the Special (Spetz) Directorate, which was the Illegal Service. Except for Spetz Directorate, the entire First Chief Directorate had been moved to the Yasenevo complex south of the Moscow Ring--Yasenevo being the KGB's answer to the CIA complex at Langley. If I remember correctly, the complex is also described in some detail by Kuzichkin, and with its fences, guards, and wooded parklands, might be better suited to a blazing guns scenario such as you've described.

(Pull a stunt like that in the middle of Moscow, and not only will you have the building guards and Guards Directorate responding, the militsia will have you blocked off before you can jump into your rusty Lada--or whatever it is you're driving.)

L.C. Blackwell
12-02-2012, 10:39 AM
To add: I don't know if you know this, but by Kuzichkin's time, the old torture and execution rooms, and all the cells, had long been converted into office and storage spaces, as well as a cafeteria.

Pre-trial prisoners might be taken to Lefortovo, but they would not be arrested by the KGB, which was supposed to supply the results of its investigations to the prokuratura--the Prosecutor's Office. I don't remember who was actually authorized to make arrests--the prokuratura or the militsia or both, but one of our members (Izhitsa) could probably tell you that easily.

C.M. Daniels
12-02-2012, 01:18 PM
I knew about the cafeteria/office conversion, and the character that's being rescued isn't of interest to the First Directorate, he's been pulled in for other reasons. Hmmm. I'm going to have to do some thinking.

Thanks for the book recommendation, that's one of the few I haven't read because I hadn't been able to find it in the tiny local library system and it's really hard to get renewals for ILLs.

L.C. Blackwell
12-03-2012, 01:04 AM
You know, thinking about what you've said.... The KGB "owned"/had access to a number of apartments that they used for various purposes. If the SCD or Fifth Directorate had gotten ahold of someone and didn't actually want the prokuratura to know about it, I don't think it would be out of character for them to take that person to one of the apartments or dachas they had available.

I do know access to the Lubyanka was tightly controlled enough that even KGB officers couldn't just wander in there. An apartment building, however, didn't even have a vakhtyor most of the time unless it was a pretty upscale building (thanks to Fresie for telling me that!), and the apartment itself would only have the number of guards the KGB chose to put on it, with maybe a man to watch the entrance. Possibly another couple of men inside; they would not want to draw great attention to any goings on.

If the orders come from a sufficiently high level in the directorate, somebody might even lend a dacha for the purpose--again, a more isolated and accessible area where you could station as many or as few guards as suited you--maybe even a few of the elite KGB tactical unit.