Working hard and being discreet means something pretty serious when your boss is the KGB. Failure to perform could result in more than termination, it could get your entire family shipped off to Siberia. The life of a Cold War agent was centered around discretion. That meant spying on the enemy without being detected and quietly killing when it was necessary. Just like the CIA, the KGB gave their agents some unfathomable tools. Here’s a crossword puzzle all about the KGB spy gadgets used during the Cold War.


1. Before turning to politics, Vladimir BLANK was a KGB agent.
2. KGB agents were given special BLANKS that were either tipped with syringes or would shoot poison pellets. Plural
3. This camera was so small and compact its lens was on the BLANK face and the workings fit behind it. Rumor has it that Hemingway had one.
4. This camera was disguised to look like a normal BLANK but when you unscrewed the cap, there was a small lens instead of a nib
5. The KGB created special shoes with transmitters in the BLANK. Using a specific pattern, the agent could tap their foot to relay information.
6. Known as ‘the thing’, the great seal BLANK was a covert listening device that used passive techniques to transmit an audio signal.
7. During the Cold War, microfilm was used for storing sensitive information. In order to transport it, the KGB created hollow BLANKS.
8. The BLANK gun was used in the mid1960s and fired a 4.5mm single shot.

Poison umbrellas

KGB agents were given special umbrellas that were either tipped with syringes or would shoot poison pellets. To kill with a syringe tip, an agent would poke their victim with the umbrella. Alternatively, the agent could fire a mechanism within the umbrella and shoot a poison pellet, the size of a pinhead. Often loaded with slow-acting poisons, the pellet would embed in the victim’s skin, killing them at a later time. Thus, the agent could not only make a getaway, but they could also ensure they had a credible alibi at the victim’s time of death. 

Hidden Cameras

When it came to hidden cameras, the KGB got very creative and used their technology to make them very small. 

Button camera – The KGB created a small camera that could be hidden inside a coat jacket. The lens was small and disguised to look like a button. 

Pen camera – This camera was disguised to look like a normal pen but when you unscrewed the cap, there was a small lens instead of a pen nib. 

Wristwatch camera – This camera was so small and compact its lens was on the watch face and the workings fit behind it.

Hollow Coins

During the Cold War, microfilm was used for storing sensitive information. In order to transport it, the KGB created hollow coins.

The KGB created cufflinks that could be pulled open to conceal microfilm.

Dead Drop Spy Bolt

The dead drop spy bolt was designed for sneaking messages. It looked like a large bolt but the top would screw off and the inside was hollow. With threads on the outside, the dead drop spy bolt could be screwed into something or out in the open.

Heel Transmitter

If a KGB agent was tracking a suspected CIA operative, it was important that they could transmit their whereabouts without being detected. To accomplish this, they created special shoes with transmitters in the heel. Using a specific pattern, the agent could tap their foot to relay information.

The Great Seal Bug – The Thing

Known as ‘the thing’, the great seal bug was a covert listening device that used passive techniques to transmit an audio signal. It was created by Leon Theremin, who was the inventor of the musical instrument, the theremin. Hidden in a wooden replica of the Great Seal of the United States, the device was given as a gift to the United States ambassador to the union, W. Averell Harriman. It hung in the ambassador’s home office for 7 years until it was discovered in 1952.

Lipstick Gun

This small gun was used in the mid-1960s and was designed to look like a tube of lipstick. It fired a 4.5mm single shot.

KGB Animal Agents

During the 1960s, the KGB trained beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions, and seals to search the seas and report what they found. Trained to detect underwater mines, submarines and protect assigned locations, these animals would alert and signal Soviet authorities.

If you want to read about CIA spy gadgets used during the Cold War, click here.

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