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Cheka: (ЧК in Russian) was the first Soviet state security organization.

Actually called the Vecheka (ВЧК), it was created on December 20, 1917 and headed by Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinskiy. Vecheka stands for All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage (Всероссийская чрезвычайная комиссия по борьбе с контрреволюцией и саботажем).

After early attempts by the west to intervene against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War, great paranoia gripped the Soviet leadership and the Cheka. They became convinced that there was a wide ranging conspiracy of foreign enemies and internal counter-revolutionaries, and poured resources into the intelligence service to combat this conspiracy. The Cheka quickly succeeded in destroying any remaining counter revolutionary groups. Additionaly, The Cheka played a significant role in destroying nonpolitical criminal gangs.

Perhaps the most noted success of the Cheka was the Trust operation. Cheka agents contacted emigrés in western Europe and pretended to be representatives of a large group working for the overthrow of the communist regime, known as "the Trust". Exiled Russians gave the Trust large sums of money and supplies, as did foreign intelligence agencies. The trust finally succeeded in luring one of the leading anti-Communists back into Russia to meet with the Trust. Once he was in Russia, he was captured and killed. The Trust was dissolved, and it became a large propaganda success.

At the end of the civil war, the Cheka was changed on February 8, 1922 into the GPU (State Political Directorate), a section of the NKVD (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs). Soviet state security personnel were referred to as Chekists throughout the Soviet period and the term is still found in use in Russia today.

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