Igor Korobov

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Igor Korobov
И́горь Ко́робов
Igor Korobov (2017).jpg
Director of Russian Military Intelligence
In office
2 February 2016 – 21 November 2018
Preceded byIgor Sergun
Succeeded byIgor Kostyukov
Personal details
Igor Valentinovich Korobov

(1956-08-03)3 August 1956
Vyazma, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died21 November 2018(2018-11-21) (aged 62)
Moscow, Russia
AwardsЗолотая звезда Героя России.svg
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union
Branch/serviceSoviet Air Force
Russian Air Force
Years of service1973–2018
RankColonel General
Battles/warsRussian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War

Colonel General Igor Valentinovich Korobov (Russian: И́горь Валенти́нович Ко́робов; 3 August 1956 – 21 November 2018) was the Chief of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Russia's military intelligence agency previously known as the GRU.

Early life[edit]

Igor Korobov was born in Vyazma, a town in Russia's Smolensk Oblast, on 3 August 1956.[1][2] In 1977, Korobov graduated with honors from the Stavropol Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots and Navigators, North Caucasus Military District, as an officer in the Soviet Air Forces.[2]

Career and death[edit]

Korobov in 2016
Korobov in 2017

Korobov served as head of the Strategic Intelligence Directorate (Upravlenie strategicheskoi razvedky).[3][4] He was appointed by president Vladimir Putin to head the military intelligence directorate (GU) following the sudden death of Igor Sergun in January 2016.[5][6]

On 29 December 2016, Korobov was one of the individuals sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury for "malicious cyber-enabled activities" threatening the national security of the United States.[1][7] In May 2017, by a "closed" Decree of the Russian President, Colonel-General Korobov was awarded the Hero of the Russian Federation for courage and heroism displayed in the performance of military duty. Nevertheless, he officially visited the U.S., along with other Russia's top security chiefs, at the end of January 2018.[8]

Korobov died on 21 November 2018, "after a long and serious illness", according to sources in the Russian defence ministry cited by official news agencies.[9][10] Korobov's death followed a few months after the badly bungled poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, widely attributed in the West to Korobov's GRU. GRU defector Viktor Suvorov said that while he had no knowledge, "My spy instinct tells me that Korobov was murdered. Everyone sitting inside GRU would understand this, 125%." According to Suvorov, Korobov would have been killed to eliminate a witness who might easily defect.[11]


  1. ^ a b Office of Foreign Assets Control (29 December 2016). "Issuance of Amended Executive Order 13694; Cyber-Related Sanctions Designations". United States Department of the Treasury. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. KOROBOV, Igor (a.k.a. KOROBOV, Igor Valentinovich); DOB 03 Aug 1956; nationality Russia; Passport 100119726 (Russia); alt. Passport 100115101 (Russia); Chief of GRU (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE).
  2. ^ a b "Коробов Игорь Валентинович" (in Russian). Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016.
  3. ^ Jones, Bruce (4 February 2016). "New Russian military intelligence chief appointed". Jane's Defence Weekly. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. The appointment comes one month after the sudden death of Lt Gen Korobov's predecessor at the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye), General Igor Dmitrievich Sergun. Prior to the appointment, Lt Gen Korobov was a first deputy director within the organisation, responsible for strategic intelligence. He also acted as caretaker leader after Gen Sergun's death.
  4. ^ Galeotti, Mark (9 February 2016). "What Putin's Security Appointments Say About How Russia Works". War on the Rocks. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. From the first, it was clear that all the main stakeholders — Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chief of the General Staff Valeri Gerasimov, and the GRU hierarchy itself — favored the promotion of one of Sergun’s deputies: Vyacheslav Kondrashev, Sergei Sizunov, Igor Lelin, and Igor Korobov. Of them all, Korobov, head of the Strategic Intelligence Directorate (USR: Upravlenie strategicheskoi razvedky) was clearly the front-runner.
  5. ^ "Putin Names Korobov As New Military Intelligence Chief". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 2 February 2016. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. President Vladimir Putin has appointed Lieutenant General Igor Korobov to head the Russian military intelligence agency, known as the GRU, following the death of his predecessor in early January.
  6. ^ Lee, Carol E.; Sonne, Paul (29 December 2016). "U.S. Sanctions Russia Over Election Hacking; Russia Threatens to Retaliate". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 December 2016. The U.S. sanctions include GRU General Lieutenant Igor Korobov, who took over as Russia’s military intelligence chief early this year after his predecessor died while on the job.
  7. ^ Sanger, David E. "Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2016. Mr. Obama used that order to immediately impose sanctions on four Russian intelligence officials: Igor Valentinovich Korobov, the current chief of a military intelligence agency, the G.R.U., and three deputies: Sergey Aleksandrovich Gizunov, the deputy chief of the G.R.U.; Igor Olegovich Kostyukov, a first deputy chief, and Vladimir Stepanovich Alekseyev, also a first deputy chief of the G.R.U.
  8. ^ US suspends sanctions against Russian security chiefs during their visit to Washington TASS, 2 February 2018.
  9. ^ Умер начальник ГУ ГШ РФ Игорь Коробов tvzvezda.ru, 22 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Источник: умер начальник Главного управления Генштаба ВС РФ Игорь Коробов". TASS. 22 November 2018.
  11. ^ Luke Harding (29 December 2018). "'Will they forgive me? No': ex-Soviet spy Viktor Suvorov speaks out". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2018.

External links[edit]

Media related to Igor Korobov at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Igor Sergun
GRU Chief
2 February 2016 – 21 November 2018
Succeeded by
Igor Kostyukov