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Vladimir Putin served in the KGB until 1991. Do we know of any operations or activities he was involved in, and their effects?(r/AskHistorians)
I’m actually reading The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin right now. For the most part, he did not seem to do many operations. No sexy spy work. He was stationed in Dresden, East Germany and mainly involved in monitoring communications.
The book points out possibly the biggest event of his KGB career was when the Berlin Wall fell. He was at his Dresden headquarters when mobs began to surround the building. Putin, the others at the office, and his guards could not get information from Moscow on how to handle the situation, and the guards refused to do anything about the protestors until they received orders from Moscow. Nervous that the mob would overtake his building and the KGB files fall into the wrong hands, Putin calmly walked out to the fence and spoke to the protestors, saying (and bluffing) that if anyone came toward the building the guards had orders to shoot. He then turned around and walked inside, and the crowd dissipated.