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About the infamous Udba ustanovka

Petra Janša. (Photo: Demokracija archive)

By: Petra Janša

A recent conversation in Ura moči show with publicist Igor Omerza about Udba’s work brought to mind the book Udbovski účbenik (‘Udba’s textbook), basic course.

Now you already know that the book by Dr Željko Oset is a reproduction of typescript on microfilm kept by the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia in the AS 1931 fond, Republican Secretariat for Internal Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. I still maintain that knowledge of the anatomy, strategy, and goals of Udba is a must-read for understanding today.

The chapter titled Information apparatus/ustanovka/and its role in the operative part is an interesting read. Ustanovka (Russian) or the collection of data on an individual, an opponent of the people, as the Udba named it, is, as the textbook says, “an operational measure, with the help of which the authorities of secret data collection then clarify the place of residence, place of work, service, biography and associations of objects, which interest us”. As the Udba’s official wrote, “the information apparatus is made up of unofficial, secret Udba bodies, who live in their private apartments, registered with any profession. They receive work instructions in conspiratorial apartments from a certain operative who is responsible for a certain group of information apparatus, but according to the instructions of his boss”.

“There must be a telephone in the conspiratorial apartment to contact the information section of the Udba. Of particular importance is the greatest conspiracy when working with the information apparatus and the special guarding of the conspiratorial apartment. /…/ The establishment must not be carried out in the offices of the Central Committee of the KPS, district committees of the KPS, in the National Assembly, the General Headquarters, in the premises of foreign embassies, missions, etc.”

The following is a description of the rights of the secret organs of the Udba information apparatus, among other things, they can “disguise themselves and present themselves with credentials of any profession, with the aim of performing their task as best as possible (e.g., a militiaman, post office clerk, electrician, correspondent, sales representative, etc.). It should be borne in mind that when they appear under the guise of a profession, that in general they also become somewhat familiar with a certain profession, because otherwise they will reveal themselves”. Do you remember, comrades?

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