Although this study is concerned primarily with the KGB’s role in Soviet domestic politics and society, this role cannot be properly understood without taking into consideration the KGB’s involvement in foreign affairs. Domestic and foreign issues are closely intertwined in the Soviet policy process, and developments in both areas have a significant impact on each other. The state of East-West relations, for example, appears to be a crucial factor in the determination of Soviet policy toward dissent. The close connection between domestic and foreign policy is exemplified by the fact that the KGB itself combines both internal security and foreign intelligence functions in one organization. In this respect Soviet practice differs from that of most Western governments, where these functions are usually assigned to separate agencies. Such a dual role stems from the ideological preconceptions of the Soviet regime, in particular its tendency to blur the distinction between internal and external security threats. The foreign and domestic functions of the KGB are, of course, executed by separate directorates whose personnel tend, with some exceptions, to follow career tracks that are distinct from one another. At the top level of the KGB hierarchy, however, these roles are combined in the person of the KGB chairman, who, in his current capacity as a full member of the Politburo, participates in the policy process as a coordinator of the KGB’s domestic and foreign operations.