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January 24, 2019 Marks the 100th Anniversary of the Creation of the First Unit of the Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence

The first unit of the national foreign intelligence in Ukraine was created on 24th January 1919, at the time of the Directory of the UPR.

From that day on, the Department of Foreign Information as part of the Political Department began to conduct intelligence work against the UPR's enemies and the countries – potential enemies and possible allies of the Republic.

Prior to this, during the Central Rada and the Hetmanate, the intelligence was a military one and part of the General Staff of the Army of the UPR.

Under the Directory of the UPR, a wide-spread structure of special services was created: military intelligence and counterintelligence, national intelligence and counterintelligence, support units, and an intelligence training school.

Within a short period of time, the Department of Foreign Information of the Political Department managed to create an intelligence network in Odesa, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Romania. In addition, through the operational capabilities of the Department, Head of the Directory Symon Petlyura studied the attitude of governments, political and business circles of a number of Western powers to the problems of Ukraine, and realized plans to influence and possibly use them.

The intelligence unit used methods, classical for the special services of that time, the main ones of which were secret agents, their secret infiltration and use. To this end, an instruction was written for agents of “political intelligence and counterintelligence”.

The Department of Foreign Information had the status of the military organization. Admission to the service was in accordance with the “Rules on the Admission of Employees to Departments of Political Information”, developed at the Department. A citizen had to file a written request and fill out an appropriate questionnaire in which, apart from the general information, he was obliged to mention in which service he had been before 1917, what he had been doing since March 1917, which foreign languages ​​he knew and how good his command of the Ukrainian language was. Besides, candidates had to have recommendations from Ukrainian parties or at least two of their members, as well as written evidence that the applicant was not involved in the Bolshevik, Russophile or other movements, hostile to the UPR.

Persons who had served in the domestic political intelligence of the Bolsheviks or other occupiers of Ukraine were not allowed to work at the Department. All the submitted information was carefully checked. Those found guilty for conceiving were punished by an administrative arrest for one to five months or were prosecuted if it became known that they were trying to deliberately infiltrate the Ukrainian intelligence with hostile intentions.

All employees, after being accepted to the service, took special vows-oaths for the honest and faithful performance of the duties assigned to them in the interests of the Ukrainian state. For the qualitative selection of personnel for departments of Anchorpolitical information and acquiring valuable agents, the heads of departments, their assistants and employees were paid for professional work from special funds - monthly allowances up to 25 per cent of the established salary.

To obtain the necessary information, the Department actively used diplomatic missions and other institutions of the UPR abroad, as well as the Ukrainian diaspora and foreign socio- political circles who sympathized with Ukraine's struggle for independence, and often helped by deeds.

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