F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)
This FAQ is not meant to help you beat the game! It is meant to help you answer questions you might have AFTER beating it.
There are major spoilers here. If you haven't finished KGB, I advise you to stop reading, as this will likely diminish the enjoyment you can get from playing on your own. There are major plot twists which you don't want to know in advance if you want to experience the game the way you're meant to.
As I said in the introduction, I can explain with certainty about 95% of the story, but the remaining 5% is open to interpretation. Most of the explanations below are verified by facts stated in the game. I carefully thought about the missing bits and you are about to read the most plausible explanations I came up with. If you disagree with something I wrote and can offer a more convincing explanation, or if you have another question that you'd like to see answered here, send me an email.
Q: Whose side is major Vovlov really on? What does he want?
A: Vovlov supports the coup against Gorbachev, as evidenced by his dying words. For once his words can be trusted here, since he would have no reason to lie about this when he's about to die in a matter of seconds. Vovlov was involved in New Birth and played the role of a triple agent: an agent who pretends to be a double agent having infiltrated an organisation (New Birth) for the benefit of another organisation (Uncle Vanya), while he is in fact on the side of the first organisation (New Birth) all along. But Vovlov is above all an ambitious and self-serving man. When Protopopov is kidnapped and Rukov's actions prompt Savinkov to come to him, he understands there have been major leaks and the plan is likely compromised. He thus attempts to switch sides before it's too late. Galushkin and Savinkov have become a liability to him as they know of his involvement, so he kills them. In an attempt to destroy all evidence and also perhaps so he can claim he prevented the conspiracy and receive considerable honours, he attempts to "clean up" by trying to kill Rukov and Vanya.
Q: Who sends Cut-throat?
A: Uncle Vanya. During the game's last sequence, Vovlov is still trying to convince Rukov that he means him well, and pretends he's the one who sent Cut-throat. If true, this would mean Vovlov is working against New Birth, but from the answer to the previous question we know that's not the case. Vovlov's statements at this point clearly can't be taken seriously, since he also claims Galushkin committed suicide, when it is later revealed he actually killed him. The one person who has been pulling strings and secretly helping Rukov get on the right track is Uncle Vanya, who is thus very likely the person who sent Cut-throat.
Q: Who assassinated Rukov's parents?
A: Verto and Yakuchev, on the orders of Galushkin. The photo of the exploding car was taken both as a proof that the job was done, and as a safety measure so that by tearing it up and keeping one half each, Verto and Yakuchev got to keep incrimating evidence against each other, preventing them from turning on each other. The first half of the photo is found in Verto's apartment, and the second half (showing Galushkin secretly observing the explosion) is found in Yakuchev's apartment.
Q: Why is there a photo of Rukov's parents' assassination in the flats of Verto and Yakuchev?
A: Because they were the assassins (on the orders of Galushkin), see above.
Q: Why were Rukov's parents assassinated?
A: This is never explained, but because it took place eight years before the game's events, it can be assumed the reasons are otherwise unrelated and simply involve some previous internal KGB shenanigans. It is indeed completely unlikely that New Birth existed when Gorbachev wasn't even in power, and similarly unlikely that the snuff tapes / crack trade existed either, since it was a diversion created by the New Birth conspirators.
Q: How did Rukov end up investigating the same people who killed his parents?
A: Since Uncle Vanya orchestrated Rukov's transfer to Department P, he was definitely behind it. It is probable that his own investigation on the murder of Rukov's parents eventually led him to Galushkin, and that he picked up on the New Birth conspiracy while investigating him.
Q: Who bugged Golitsin's phone and searched his office?
A: Greenberg. He spies on Golitsin as he is investigating the snuff tapes business. The bug is of western origin, and Greenberg can be seen watching the place the first time Rukov looks out the window.
Q: Who killed Golitsin?
A: Jealous Husband, or someone working for him. Jealous Husband is undoubtedly a KGB member, possibly Vovlov or Galushkin, as evidenced by Golitsin's speech on the audio tape. Golitsin was killed as he was attempting to discover his identity, so either he discovered too much and had to be disposed of, or he was going to get killed either way so that Rukov could take over his investigation. We know from Verto's comments on Golitsin that his gang didn't do it, so the only other possible answer is Jealous Husband.
Q: Who sends the two killers to Rukov's hotel room, and why?
A: Agabekov did it, knowing it would incriminate Kusnetsov and Chapkin. Chapkin admits it wasn't him while under the influence of the truth serum, so that definitely rules him out. Kusnetsov could have done it out of fear that Rukov would expose his illegal activities, but then: 1) Wouldn't Chapkin know about it since they closely work together? and 2) Why couldn't Kusnetsov simply ask Chapkin to send Viktor Sliunkov, who already openly handles Chapkin's dirty work, instead of hiring him while hiding his identity behind a light? Agabekov, on the other hand, has good reason to hide his identity, and he also fits the "dark haired" description that Burlatski gives. Savinkov is meant to dispose of the killers (isn't it a strange coincidence that the killers show up at the same time as he does?), and coerce one of them into telling Rukov about the deal they made in room 304, eventually pointing to the involvement of Kusnetsov and Chapkin, who control the hotel and let one of their prostitutes use this room. Savinkov instructs Rukov to find out who sent the killers, which is of little relevance to the investigation of the snuff tapes / crack trade, but which is interesting in regards to his real agenda, i.e. finding evidence against Kusnetsov. Agabekov got the copy of Rukov's photo from his ID card when his belongings were taken away in Department 7.
Q: Who is driving the car Agabekov climbed in after his meeting with Obukov?
A: It could be Savinkov, or it could be an unimportant chauffeur.
Q: Who is this "Renko" character Savinkov talks about?
A: There is no Renko, it's a password so that Savinkov can prove his identity to Rukov, since they had never met in person before. The game did not tell you about it, but it can be assumed Rukov was instructed about it orally. It is made clear that Savinkov does not actually expect you to be a "Renko": if you waited for him in your room, he will knock, say "You're not Renko, are you?" and, without waiting for an answer, he calls you Rukov and tells you he's coming in. If you waited for him outside of your room, he will see you face to face and again say "You're not Renko, are you?" before introducing himself and proceeding to your room without waiting for an answer, obviously fully aware of who you really are.
Q: Why does Rukov disobey Savinkov's instructions at the end of Chapter 2?
A: If you've been carefully following the story, it makes perfect sense. But the game just assumes you understand what's happening, even if you don't, so perhaps you were left wondering why the game automatically made you disobey your controller. For starters, Cut-throat and Savinkov are telling you entirely different things: one advises you to focus on Agabekov and ignore Kusnetsov / Chapkin, while the other one advises the exact opposite, so one of them is clearly leading you on. But which one? The first hint of Savinkov's untrustworthiness comes when Greenberg tells you about his habit of giving Cuban cigars to people he is close to. So, thanks to the remains of the Cuban cigar you found (or caught a glimpse of) in Agabekov's office, you know Savinkov recently visited Agabekov. Strange, since he seems so convinced of Agabekov's integrity but pretends they are not in touch. The second and biggest hint comes when you tell him of your important discoveries regarding when, where and how the snuff tapes will be exchanged with the crack. He seems completely uninterested, yet he becomes excited when you give him dirt on Kusnetsov, telling you this is the kind of information he is looking for. Wait a minute, aren't you supposed to be investigating the snuff tapes / crack trade, or is there a hidden agenda here? The final hint comes when Savinkov finally instructs you to do nothing and simply take a well deserved rest in your hotel room, even though this will make you unable to observe the snuff tapes / crack exchange. Greenberg told you that when Savinkov begins to act friendly and humane with you, this is when he's sharpening a knife for your back, which is indeed what he's doing by then. All these hints combined are logically enough to make you conclude you shouldn't trust Savinkov.
Q: Why does Savinkov want to swindle the Leningrad gang by giving them sea salt instead of the crack they are supposed to get?
A: He presumably does this to cause problems within the gang, pushing them to act recklessly and make it easier to attract attention on Kusnetsov's involvement.
Q: What is Carla Wallace after?
A: Her disloyalty to the CIA is made clear early on when she claims that she speaks on Greenberg's behalf and that they are working together, only to have both claims refuted by Greenberg minutes later. According to Greenberg she preferred things how they used to be in the USSR, and thus has an interest in the coup the “New Birth” conspirators are preparing, though her exact motives remain unexplained. She could also have an interest in the crack shipments or an interest in the snuff tapes trade in the USA.
Q: Who burgles Rukov's hotel room in Chapter 4?
A: Whoever did it is a friend of Rukov, since the only thing that disappears is Chapkin's body, and the authorities aren't alerted. The point of the burglary was thus to discreetly get rid of the body so that Rukov doesn't get in trouble. It was probably the work of Cut-throat or one of his men.
Q: Why does Cut-throat deny that the down-and-out with the newspaper in the alley works for him?
A: He is presumably annoyed by the stupid question and does not dignify it with a real answer. It is obvious that they really are working together, not only from the code in the newspaper he gives you but also from when he gives you Yakuchev's address on Cut-throat's behalf.
Q: How come Protopopov was functional even though he was kidnapped before Tsibulenko could work on him?
A: Protopopov was already programmed by someone else before he arrived in Leningrad. Tsibulenko says so himself when you question him, he says his job was merely to "check the stability" and "reinforce the programming" of Protopopov.
Q: Why do the Pamyat members need Protopopov in good shape, since they are anti-communist and obviously against the coup planned by the New Birth conspirators?
A: This is never explained, though it's easy to think of potential reasons. They may want to reprogram him to make him give a different speech and use him for their own goals, or they may want to trade him to the New Birth conspirators in exchange for something else, or they may not know what to do with him yet but want him in good shape because they reckon he'll be useful, etc.
Q: Why is no one from Pamyat guarding Protopopov?
A: This is never explained, but since Rukov gets there only hours after the kidnapping took place, it is entirely possible that they intended on quickly coming back to guard him, but were short of available members given the emergency. It is also possible that Yakuchev was supposed to guard him, but he obviously couldn't get there as he had just been killed.
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