The Soviet Intelligence Department (the 1st Department) operated from the end of 1940. In 1941, the 1st Department of the NKVD State Security Board became the 1st Department of the NKGB. The Soviets returned to the Baltic States in 1944, and the 1st Department was established in 1945. This was conditioned by the wish of Soviet security to monitor émigré organisations in Germany and other countries. The KGB’s 1st Department was under the direct jurisdiction of the chairman of Soviet security, who was responsible for the results of intelligence work. In 1953 and 1954, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) took over intelligence work.
The main functions of the 1st Department were operative activities against Lithuanian émigré organisations and political intelligence, i.e. gathering strategic political information about NATO countries’ political and economic structures. Inside the country, the department searched for foreign secret agents, and helped to fight against the partisan movement. The 1st Department consisted of four branches. It was the only department with a separate archive. During all the time it was in operation, it devoted most attention to working with émigré organisations, destroying them from the inside, and compromising them. From the 1980s, more attention was paid to scientific-technical intelligence in Western countries. It was then that the branch was the largest and the most important in the whole Intelligence Department.