They were the East German version of the KGB. The Stasi - the most respected and feared intelligence and secret police force in Eastern Europe. But if civilians had seen these comic photos they may have have slightly undermined the iron grip they held over them.
A new exhibition of recently uncovered and formerly highly classified photos from the communist era has just opened in Berlin, and amongst other items are these images, originally used during courses to teach spies how to dress up and blend in to society.
'Costumes' include furry Russian hat and trenchcoat, as well as the cardigan-wearing casual man-about-town.
We can laugh now but they probably looked good at the time - and similar outfits can still be seen in London's hipster area Shoreditch on a regular basis.