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Security Service of Ukraine
Служба Безпеки України
(SBU) / (СБУ)
Security Service of Ukraine.gif
Service insignia
Flag of the Security Service of Ukraine.png
Agency overview
Formed September 20, 1991
Preceding Agency Committee for State Security (Ukraine)
Jurisdiction Ukraine
Headquarters 32–35 vulytsia Volodymyrska, Kiev
Employees 30,000[1]
Agency executive Valentyn Nalyvaichenko[2][3], Head of the Security Service of Ukraine
Parent agency President of Ukraine
Website http://www.sbu.gov.ua
History of State Security of Ukraine
Flag of the Ukrainian SSR Ukrainian SSR
Flag of Ukraine Ukraine
  • SBU (1992–Present)

The Security Service of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Служба Безпеки України (СБУ); Sluzhba Bezpeky Ukraiyny), or SBU, is Ukraine's special purpose law enforcement agency and main government security agency in a sphere of counterintelligence activity and combatting terrorism.

Duties and responsibilities[edit]

The Security Service of Ukraine is vested, within its competence defined by law, with the protection of national sovereignty, constitutional order, territorial integrity, economical, scientific, technical, and defense potential of Ukraine, legal interests of the state, and civil rights, from intelligence and subversion activities of foreign special services and from unlawful interference attempted by certain organizations, groups and individuals, as well with ensuring the protection of state secrets.[4]

Other duties include combatting crimes that endanger the peace and security of mankind, terrorism, corruption, and organized criminal activities in the sphere of management and economy, as well as other unlawful acts immediately threatening Ukraine's vital interests.

The SBU uncovered seven spies and 16 special service agents in 2009.[5]


  • Central Apparatus (consists of some 25 departments)
    • Main Directorate on Corruption and Organized Crime Counteraction
  • Regional Departments (26 departments)
  • Special Department
  • Anti-Terrorist Center cooperates with numerous ministries and other state agencies such as the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Emergencies, State Border Guard Service, and others.
  • Educational Institutions
    • National Academy of Security Service of Ukraine
    • Institute in preparation of Service Personnel at the National Law Academy of Yaroslav the Wise.
    • Others
  • State Archives of SBU
  • Special Group "Alpha"


The SBU is a successor of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic's Branch of the Soviet KGB, keeping the majority of its 1990s personnel. Since 1992, the agency has been competing in intelligence functions with the intelligence branch of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Despite this, a former Military Intelligence Chief and career GRU technological espionage expert, Ihor Smeshko, served as an SBU chief until 2005.

In 2004, the SBU's Intelligence Department was reorganized into an independent agency called Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine. It is responsible for all kinds of intelligence as well as for external security. As of 2004, the exact functions of the new service, and respective responsibilities of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine were not regulated yet.

On November 7, 2005 the President of Ukraine created the Ukraine State Service of special communications and protection of information, also known as Derzhspetszvyazok (StateSpecCom) in place of one of the departments of SBU and making it an autonomous agency.

The SBU subsumed the Directorate of State Protection of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Управління державної охорони України), the personal protection agency for the most senior government officials, which was the former Ninth Directorate of the Ukrainian KGB.

History of state security agency and its directors[edit]

The All-Ukrainian Cheka was formed on December 3, 1918 in Kursk[6] on the initiative from Yakov Sverdlov and Lenin's orders. The commission was formed on the decree of the Provisional Workers' Peasant Government of the Ukrainian SSR and later adopted on May 30, 1919 by the All Ukrainian Central Executive Committee. To support the Soviet government in Ukraine in Moscow was formed a corps of special assignment with 24,500 soldiers as part of the All-Ukrainian Cheka. In spring 1919 there was created the Council in fight against counterrevolution and consisted of Adolph Joffe, Stanislav Kosior, and Martin Latsis. In its early years the security agency fought against the "kulak-nationalistic banditry"[7] (against people who opposed creation of collective farms). On August 19, 1920 the All Ukrainian Cheka arrested all members of the All Ukrainian Conference of Mensheviks after accusing them in counterrevolution.[8] On December 10, 1934 the State Political Directorate was liquidated.[6]

All Ukrainian Extraordinary Commission (Cheka)[edit]

Department of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs

  • Isaak Shvarts, December 3, 1918 – April 2, 1919
  • Martin Latsis, April 2, 1919 – August 16, 1919

Directorate of Extraordinary Commissions and Special Departments[edit]

Special Commission of the All Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee

Central Directorate of Extraordinary Commissions[edit]

Special Commission of the Council of People's Commissars of Ukraine

All Ukrainian Extraordinary Commission (Cheka)[edit]

Special Commission of the Council of People's Commissars of Ukraine

State Political Directorate (GPU)[edit]

Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Ministry of State Security (MGB)[edit]

Committee for State Security (KDB)[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Committee for State Security (Ukraine).

Security Service of Ukraine (SBU)[edit]

SBU's transgression of the law[edit]

33 Volodymyrska Street, SBU Headquarters in Kiev

SBU's State Directorate of Personal Protection is known for its former Major Mykola Mel'nychenko, the communications protection agent in President Leonid Kuchma's bodyguard team. Mel'nychenko was the central figure of the Cassette Scandal (2000)—one of the main events in Ukraine's post-independence history. SBU became involved in the case when Mel'nychenko accused Leonid Derkach, SBU Chief at the time, of several crimes, e.g., of clandestine relations with Russian mafia leader Semyon Mogilevich. However, the UDO was subsumed into the SBU after the scandal, so Mel'nychenko himself has never been an SBU agent.

Later, SBU played a significant role in the investigation of the Georgiy Gongadze murder case, the crime that caused the Cassette Scandal itself.

In 2004, General Valeriy Kravchenko, SBU's intelligence representative in Germany, publicly accused his agency of political involvement, including overseas spying on Ukrainian opposition politicians and German TV journalists. He was fired without returning home. After a half-year of hiding in Germany, Kravchenko has returned to Ukraine and surrendered in October 2004 (an investigation is underway).

Later, the agency commanders became involved in the scandal around the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko—a main candidate in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. Yushchenko felt unwell soon after supper with SBU Chief Ihor Smeshko, at the home of Smeshko's first deputy. However, neither the politician himself nor the investigators have ever directly accused these officers. It is also important to note that the Personal Protection department has been officially responsible for Yushchenko's personal security since he became a candidate. During the Orange Revolution, several SBU veterans and cadets publicly supported him as president-elect, while the agency as a whole remained neutral.

In 2005, soon after the elections, sacked SBU Chief Smeshko and other intelligence agents raised their own version of the revolution events. According to that version, they have prevented militsiya from violent oppression of the protests, contradicting the orders of President Kuchma and threatening militsiya with armed involvement of SBU's special forces units. This story was first described by the American journalist K.J.Chivers of New York Times and has never been supported documentally or legally.

Analysts agree that SBU is relatively free of political involvement compared to the Ukrainian militsiya, which is considered to be mainly responsible for persecution of opposition activists and ignoring crimes against them. However, the SBU is widely suspected of illegal surveillance and eavesdropping of offices and phones.

An episode of human rights abuse by SBU happened during the case of serial killer Anatoly Onoprienko. Yuriy Mozola, an initial suspect in the investigation, died in SBU custody in Lviv as a result of torture. Several agents were convicted in the case.[15]

The SBU remains a political controversial subject in Ukrainian politics.[16]

Current Security Service of Ukraine Head Valeriy Khoroshkovsky is also owner of U.A. Inter Media Group which owns mayor shares in various Ukrainian TV channels a.o. Inter TV.[17] For Khoroshkovsliy voted 238 members of the Verkhovna Rada, however the head of the parliamentary committee for the National Security and Defense Anatoliy Hrytsenko stated that the committee accepted the decision to recommend Verkhovna Rada to deny the candidature of Khoroshkovskiy on the post of the chairman of Security Service of Ukraine.[18]

As Khoroshkovskiy promised SBU under his leadership does what it supposed to do... to protect the president rather than the interests of Ukraine. On July 26, 2010 SBU arrested an internet blogger, however, a silly warrant for his arrest brought only the next day. SBU accused the blogger in threatening the President of Ukraine and after a short discussion let him go.[19] The threat was perceived in blogger's statement-curse "Let the thunder strike Yanukovych!". However, SBU showed a rather passive reaction on the statements of the Russian State official who continues to claim that Crimea and Sevastopol belongs to the Russian Federation.[20]

Protest group FEMEN has claimed that after the early 2010 election of President Viktor Yanukovych the SBU has attempted to intimidate the FEMEN activists.[21]

On May 22, 2012 Volodymyr Rokytskyi, Deputy Head of the SBU, was photographed in public wearing a $32 000 luxury wristwatch despite the fact that its price amounts to his yearly official income. The instance happened at a joint Ukrainian-American event dedicated to fighting drug trade.[22]

SBU and Khoroshkovskiy[edit]

Article of Konrad Shuller on July 19, 2010[23][24]

Recently Khoroshkovskiy made a few misses as some of the operations of the spec-service has failed. For example, the rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv Borys Gudziak after the unwelcome visit not only did not break, but was so loud in his complaints that forced Khoroshkovskiy to apologize. Later the head of the Kiev Bureau of Konrad Adenauer Foundation Nico Lange was detained for a short while and was released only after he was vouched by several high-ranking officials from the German Chancellery. The Security Service asked to formulate that incident as a simple misunderstanding.

Khoroshkovskiy being the Chairman of SBU got rid of the main competition of Ukrainian TV-giant Inter, the owner of which officially is his wife Olena Khoroshkovskiy, in the face of TVi and Channel 5.

Konrad Shuller from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany) also believes that the most important string of his power lies through the group RosUkrEnergo. The President's spokesman Hanna Herman in the interview to this newspaper did not argue that Dmytro Firtash was one of the sponsors of the Presidential Party of Regions, with the help of which Khoroshkovskiy was appointed to the position of the State Security chairman. Khoroshkovskiy in his turn argued any connections to RosUkrEnergo. However it is a fact that Firtash possesses certain privileges in Inter. Mr. Shuller also stated that SBU acts in direct association with the RosUkrEnergo arresting their main opponents (see RosUkrEnergo) in order to recover their invested money in the recent presidential campaign.

Khoroshkovskiy did not wish to give an interview to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, however Mr.Shuller at the end of his article posted an interesting quote from one of his other interviews:

When Minister of Finance Fedir Yaroshenko resigned on January 18, 2012 he was replaced by Khoroshkovsky as the new Minister of Finance the same day.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://rieas.gr/images/tarask.pdf
  2. ^ "Rada appointed Nalyvaichenko with authority for the actions of the SBU". Lb.ua (in Russian). Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  3. ^ http://lenta.ru/news/2014/02/24/sbu/
  4. ^ (English) Duties and Responsibilities of SBU (official website)
  5. ^ Seven spies, 16 special service agents exposed in Ukraine in 2009, Kyiv Post (December 30, 2009)
  6. ^ a b All Ukrainian Extraordinary Commission
  7. ^ All Ukrainian Cheka
  8. ^ ЦЕЙ ДЕНЬ В IСТОРIЇ (This day in history). Newspaper Den. August 19, 2010
  9. ^ a b Mantsev at hrono.ru
  10. ^ a b Yanukovych dismisses Khoroshkovsky from military service, Kyiv Post (January 19, 2012)
  11. ^ a b Yanukovych names new Kalinin as state security chief, Kyiv Post (February 3, 2012)
  12. ^ Yanukovych appoints Rokytsky as acting SBU chief, Kyiv Post (January 19, 2012)
  13. ^ President calls on officials for joint work on reform in SBU, Kyiv Post (January 10, 2013)
  14. ^ a b Ukrainian parliament appoints Nalyvaichenko as security service chief, Interfax-Ukraine (24 February 2014)
  15. ^ Amnesty International Report 1997 – Ukraine (July 17, 2009)
  16. ^ Ukrainian MPs ask prosecution to probe Security Service head on several claims, Interfax-Ukraine (December 26, 2008)
  17. ^ Khoroshkovsky ready to sell his media business, Kyiv Post (June 12, 2010)
  18. ^ SBU was given to Khoroshkovskiy (Ukrainian)
  19. ^ Yanukovych was damned by a blog (Russian)/(Ukrainian)
  20. ^ Luzhkov again returned to his routine (Russian)/(Ukrainian)
  21. ^ 'The Entire Ukraine Is a Brothel', Spiegel Online (May 5, 2011)
  22. ^ Головний борець із корупцією з СБУ носить годинник дорожчий за його річну зарплату Template:Uk-icon
  23. ^ German press-media about the Chief of SBU (Ukrainian)
  24. ^ Original source of Konrad Shuller's article (German)

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_Service_of_Ukraine — Please support Wikipedia.
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