CRYPTO AND CIPHER MACHINES

SEE FIALKA, THE RUSSIAN ENIGMA MACHINE USED DURING THE COLD WAR!

The most secure equipment that KGB agents used were cipher devices. They needed to transfer operational information that would not be captured or understood by the enemy. Cipher devices were used to make messages illegible to all except the intended recipient. Essentially, they worked by replacing letters and numbers with coded ones. Early cipher devices used simple letter-for-letter substitution, where a given letter was always enciphered with the same other letter.  

The most sophisticated Cold War cypher machine was Fialka. The design of the Fialka was based on the well-known Enigma machine which was used by the German Armed Forces during WWII. Like the Enigma, it used electromechanical cipher wheels to scramble the letters typed onto a keyboard.

Crypto machine Russian Enigma - Fialka
KGB Museum exhibition hall

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union. With the retreat of the Russians from countries behind the Iron Curtain, the remaining Fialka machines were taken back and have subsequently been dismantled or destroyed. Nevertheless, we managed to get ahold of one and to preserve it in order to show you this masterpiece of Soviet design.