The Cheka, or secret police, was established in 1917 during the Civil War in Russia. An acronym for All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, it was tasked with eliminating all opposition to the Bolsheviks, including crushing anti-Soviet rebellions. In 1922, it became part of the GPU, and one year later, part of the OGPU (Unified State Political Administration), which carried out mass executions and established gulags, or forced-labor camps. The OGPU controlled both domestic and foreign intelligence and security and also carried out the collectivization process of agriculture, meant to reduce the power of wealthy peasants, known as kulaks.
In 1934, the OGPU became the NKVD, which conducted a deadly purge of high-ranking Soviets who were thought to be opposed to Stalin. The NKVD went through various reorganizations. From 1954 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the intelligence organization was known as the KGB, which stands for the Committee for State Secrecy. The KGB conducted both foreign intelligence operations and crackdowns on dissidence within the Soviet Union.