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The First Directorate

My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West


During 32 years with the KGB, Oleg Kalugin enjoyed one of the most meteoric and illustrious careers in the history of the Soviet spy agency, so his dramatic break with the Communist Party and his advocacy of democratic reform provided a sensational end to an amazing career. Kalugin became the highest-ranking KGB officer ever to tell his story, taking the reader into the heart of the Soviet spy apparatus at the peak of the Cold War.


The First Directorate, written with journalist Fen Montaigne, is a riveting and nuanced personal account of a life in espionage. As deputy chief of station in Washington, Kalugin played a major role in handling American spy John Walker, as well as orchestrating a brazen attempt to bug the House Armed Services Committee. As chief of KGB Foreign Counter-intelligence, Kalugin helped rehabilitate the famous, broken-down English spy Kim Philby. He played a role in the assassination of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov and worked intimately with the men who ran the KGB.

“In his fascinating memoir . . . Kalugin traces his evolution from loyalist to critic in one of the most honest accounts by a former official to come out of the post-Soviet period.”

- The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Oleg Kalugin is a man eminently able to chop through much of the wilderness of mirrors . . . One can read this work with genuine reward and pleasure.”

- The Wall Street Journal

“A credible and compelling memoir written with [Fen] Montaigne, former head of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Moscow bureau . . . By 1990, concluding that the organization was `rotten beyond salvation,’ Kalugin threw in his lot with the democratic reformers.”

Publishers Weekly

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