The first secret service of Russia was called the Cheka led by Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, a pole. Known as the “Knight of the Revolution,” Dzerzhinsky was the perfect man for the job because of his ruthlessness and ability to get matters taken care of, without any remorse for his actions.
The Cheka went through several name and organizational changes in Russia. Depending on the situation in Soviet Russia, the Soviet Secret Police created different departments within the Cheka to ensure that Communism retained its power. The INO, the foreign intelligence department of the Cheka, recruited agents to gather intelligence outside of Russia and report back to their superiors the plans of Western Nations believed to be plotting against the Soviets. Soviet intelligence operated in several countries during the 1920’s including: Poland, Turkey, Switzerland, France, and Japan. In order to obtain information from Japan the INO recruited the mail couriers that delivered the official Japanese correspondence allowing Russian agents to secretly read and intercept the mail. The Japanese correspondence revealed that there was intent on Japan’s part to conquer China militarily.
Soviet Intelligence was not confined solely as a state operation and was thriving within the Russian military. The Glavnoe Razvedyvatelnoe Upravlenie (GRU), was the Russian military’s parallel version of the CHEKA/KGB. The GRU was the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the military. The GRU conducted covert operations and ran several spy rings in different countries such as the “Tokyo Spy Ring,” and the “Dora Ring.” The GRU’s conducted its operations to further the interests of the Soviet military in order to gain the upper hand against their enemies.