| Part 1. K.G.B. BADGES
(Copyright: Shawn M. Caza, June 1998, updated February 2000)
NEW INTRO: Since I first wrote this page in June 1998 a great deal more information has come to me. It is no possible to state conclusively that most KGB badges currently on the market are fakes or fantasies. Genuine KGB issue badges are few and far between. There are still some types that may be real or fake but most are now confired fake or genine.
KGB personnel used a large number of badges, including some of the same badges used by the military. Unfortunately KGB uniform and badge regulations are not available and much speculation must be made on the basis of photo evidence and similarities to the military. Generally, it is easier to verify the authenticity of Border Guard badges than badges for the rest of the KGB; there are simply more photos and public information available on the Border Guards. Rules for wearing badges are, like those for orders and medals, identical for all Soviet personnel.
Badges can be grouped into three categories according to the issuing body: official, sanctioned, and unofficial. Official badges are authorized by order or decree of the government of the USSR and its Republics, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), or the Committee for State Security (KGB). The Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet had the authority to establish USSR government awards while the KGB Chairman had the authority to establish KGB awards. Official badges are accepted throughout the USSR and are generally well known and documented. They may be worn on uniforms (as long as the standard guidelines are followed concerning type of uniform, badge placement, number, etc.).
Sanctioned badges are authorized by order of a unit commander and are usually only worn by personnel of that unit. They are therefore not officially recognized outside of the issuing unit or formation and were not accepted throughout the USSR. Examples include badges for crews of specific ships, unit anniversary badges, local association badges, and even unit veteran badges. There are many such badges and they are often not well known or documented. Many of them of the same quality as official badges, some are of very high quality.
Unauthorized badges are not authorized for use on uniforms by any official authority. However, this does not mean that they are necesarily "fakes" or "frauds". They include civilian commemorative or collector badges, home-made badges, and "fantasy" badges. These may be found attached to uniforms by veterans or vendors but would not have been tolerated on uniforms of serving personnel.
For information on how to determine whether a badge is genuine or not, and on the different classes of "genuineness" please see the "Is It Real?" page on this site.
This section will endeavour to eventually list, describe, and illustrate all NKVD/KGB related badges that exist. Each badge is placed into a category, seen below, and is given a name. If there are several related or similar badges then they are given Type and Variation numbers. Badges are also given a catalogue number which can be used as a substitute for their full name. The purpose of all of this is to allow uniformity amongst researchers and collectors. We can now all use the same names and type and variation numbers and thus know exactly what we are refering to. (If anyone has a problem with one of the names that is given please let us know at email@example.com .) The badge images come from a great many sources, many thank yous are found on the "How You Can Help" page of this site. The majority of images were prepared by Charles Daum.