Spetsgruppa "A", also known as Alpha Group (a popular English name), or Alfa, whose official name is Directorate "A" of the FSB Special Purpose Center (TsSN FSB), is an elite, stand-alone sub-unit of Russia's special forces. It is a dedicated counter-terrorism task force of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which primarily prevents and responds to violent acts in public transportation and buildings. It was created by the Soviet KGB in 1974. Although little is known about the exact nature of its primary directives, it is speculated that the unit is authorised to act under the direct control and sanction of Russia's top political leadership, similar to its sister unit, the Directorate "B" (Vympel), which is officially tasked with protecting Russia's strategic installations. It is also available for extended police duties, for paramilitary operations, and for covert operations, both domestically and internationally.