Main Intelligence Directorate

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GRU Generalnogo Shtaba
Glavnoje Razvedyvatel'noje Upravlenije
ГРУ ГШ ВС РФ
Главное Разведывательное Управление
Generalstaff central dep.svg
Agency overview
Formed May 7, 1992
Preceding agencies
Jurisdiction President of Russia
Headquarters Grizodubovoy str. 3, Moscow
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Parent agency Ministry of Defense
Child agencies
  • Svyazinformsoyuz Company
  • Directorate for Space Intelligence
Website Ministry of Defense Website

Main Intelligence Agency (Russian: Гла́вное разве́дывательное управле́ние, tr. Glavnoye razvedyvatel'noye upravleniye; IPA: [ˈglavnəjə rɐzˈvʲɛdɨvətʲɪlʲnəjə ʊprɐˈvlʲenʲɪjə]), abbreviated GRU (Russian: ГРУ; IPA: [geeˈru]), is the foreign military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (formerly the Soviet Army General Staff of the Soviet Union). The official full name is Main Intelligence Agency of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (Russian: Гла́вное разве́дывательное управле́ние Генера́льного шта́ба Вооружённых Сил Росси́йской Федера́ции). It is also known as GRU GSh (Russian: ГРУ ГШ; abbreviation of ГРУ Генера́льного шта́ба, tr. GRU Generalnovo Shtaba (English: GRU of the General Staff)).

The GRU is Russia's largest foreign intelligence agency.[1] In 1997 it deployed six times as many agents in foreign countries as the SVR, the successor of the KGB's foreign operations directorate (PGU KGB). It also commanded 25,000 Spetsnaz troops in 1997.[2]

History[edit]

GRU Official emblem (until 2009) with motto engraved: "Greatness of the Motherland in your glorious deeds"

The first body for military intelligence was established in 1810 by the War minister Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly who suggested to the Czar to create a permanent body for Strategic military intelligence.

In January 1810 The Expedition for Secret Affairs under the War Ministry was formed. Two years later it was renamed the Special Bureau.

In 1815 the bureau became the First Department under the General Chief of Staff. In 1836 the intelligence functions were transferred to the Second Department under the General Chief of Staff. After many name changes through the years, in April 1906 the Military intelligence was carried out by the Fifth Department under the General Chief of Staff of the War Ministry.

In November 5, 1918 the Imperial Military intelligence was replaced by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Soviet Union. In May 1992 the GRU was dissolved and became part of the new Russian Ministry of Defense.

In 2006 the GRU moved to a new Headquarters complex at Khoroshovskoye Shosse, which cost 9.5 billion rubles to build and incorporates 70,000 square meters.[3][4]

In April 2009, President Dmitry Medvedev fired then-GRU head Valentin Korabelnikov, who had helmed the GRU since 1997, reportedly over Korabelnikov's objections to proposed reforms.[5][6]

In 2010 GRU changed its name to Main Directorate of the Russian General Chief of Staff, but the GRU remains commonly used.[citation needed]

Activities[edit]

According to the Federation of American Scientists: "Though sometimes compared to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, [the GRU's] activities encompass those performed by nearly all joint US military intelligence agencies as well as other national US organizations. The GRU gathers human intelligence through military attaches and foreign agents. It also maintains significant signals intelligence (SIGINT) and imagery reconnaissance (IMINT) and satellite imagery capabilities."[7] GRU Space Intelligence Directorate has put more than 130 SIGINT satellites into orbit. GRU and KGB SIGINT network employed about 350,000 specialists.[8]

United States[edit]

According to GRU defector Kalanbe,[citation needed] "Though most Americans do not realize it, America is penetrated by Russian military intelligence to the extent that arms caches lie in wait for use by Russian special forces." He also described a possibility that compact tactical nuclear weapons known as "suitcase bombs" are hidden in the US[9][10] and noted that "the most sensitive activity of the GRU is gathering intelligence on American leaders, and there is only one purpose for this intelligence: targeting information for spetsnaz (special forces) assassination squads [in the event of war]." The American leaders will be easily assassinated using the "suitcase bombs," according to Lunev.[9] GRU is "one of the primary instructors of terrorists worldwide" according to Lunev.[9] Terrorist Shamil Basayev reportedly worked for this organization.[11][12][13] US Congressman Curt Weldon supported claims by Lunev but noted that Lunev had "exaggerated things" according to the FBI.[14] Searches of the areas identified by Lunev – who admits he never planted any weapons in the US – have been conducted, "but law-enforcement officials have never found such weapons caches, with or without portable nuclear weapons."[15]

On 29 December 2016, the White House sanctioned the nine entities and individuals, including the GRU and the Federal Security Service (FSB), for their alleged activities to disrupt and spread disinformation during the 2016 US presidential election.[16] In addition, the United States State Department also declared 35 Russian diplomats and officials persona non grata and denied Russian government officials access to two Russian-owned installations in Maryland and New York.[16]

Georgia[edit]

During the 2006 Georgian–Russian espionage controversy, four officers working for the GRU Alexander Savva, Dmitry Kazantsev, Aleksey Zavgorodny and Alexander Baranov were arrested by the Counter-Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and were accused of espionage and sabotage. This spy network was managed from Armenia by GRU Colonel Anatoly Sinitsin. A few days later the arrested officers were handed over to Russia through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).[17][18]

Syrian Civil War[edit]

In 2015 GRU special forces soldiers have reportedly appeared in Aleppo and Homs.[19][20] GRU officials have also visited Qamishli, near the border with Turkey.[21]

SATCOM[edit]

Since the mid-1970s the GRU has maintained a satellite communications interception post near Andreyevka, located approximately fifty miles from Spassk-Dalny, Primorsky Krai.[22][23][24]

Chechnya[edit]

Dmitry Kozak and Vladislav Surkov, members of the Vladimir Putin administration, reportedly served in GRU. Two Chechen former warlords Said-Magomed Kakiev and Sulim Yamadayev are commanders of Special Battalions Vostok and Zapad ("East" and "West") that are controlled by the GRU. The battalions each included close to a thousand fighters until their disbandment in 2008.[25]

Approximately 300 commandos, intelligence officers and other GRU personnel died during the fighting in Chechnya.[26]

GRU detachments from Chechnya were transferred to Lebanon independently of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon after the 2006 Lebanon War.[27]

Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev was assassinated by two GRU officers. GRU officers have also been accused of creating criminal death squads.[28]

Canada[edit]

The GRU received intelligence from Jeffrey Delisle of the Royal Canadian Navy, leading to the expulsion of several Russian Embassy staffers, including the defence attaché to Ottawa.[29][30]

Estonia[edit]

A Russian citizen named Artem Zinchenko was convicted of spying on Estonia for the GRU in May 2017.[31][32]

Moldova[edit]

In June 2017, Moldova expelled five Russian GRU operatives with diplomatic cover from the Russian Embassy in Chisinau, as they were believed to be attempting to recruit fighters from Gagauzia to fight in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.[33] Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin rejected the allegations.[34][33]

Sixth Directorate – Signals Intelligence[edit]

The GRU's Sixth Directorate is responsible for signals intelligence (SIGINT).[35]

Syria[edit]

The Sixth Directorate was responsible for maintaining the Center S covert listening post in Syria prior to its loss to the Free Syrian Army in 2014.[36][37][38] The Sixth Directorate also operates a signals intelligence listening post at Hmeimim Air Base near Latakia.[39]

Compromise[edit]

In 2002, Bill Powell, former Moscow bureau chief at Newsweek, wrote Treason, an account of the experiences of former GRU colonel Vyacheslav Baranov, who had betrayed GRU for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and agreed to spy for it. He was exposed to the Russians by a mole in either the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the CIA and spent five years in prison before he was released. The identity of the mole remains unknown to this day, but speculation has mounted that it could have been Robert Hanssen.[40]

Chairmen[edit]

The Head of the Russian Military Intelligence is a military officer and is the highest ranking intelligence officer in Russia. He is the primary military intelligence adviser to the Russian Minister of Defense and to the Chief of Staff and also answers to the President of Russia.

Since 1991[edit]

# Head Term President(s) served under
1 Yevgeny Timokhin November 1991 – August 1992 Boris Yeltsin
2 Fyodor Ladygin August 1992 – May 1997 Boris Yeltsin
3 Valentin Korabelnikov May 1997 – April 2009 Boris Yeltsin
Vladimir Putin
Dmitry Medvedev
4 Alexander Shlyakhturov April 2009 – December 2011 Dmitry Medvedev
5 Igor Sergun December 2011 – January 2016 Dmitry Medvedev
Vladimir Putin
- vacant position January 3 – February 1, 2016 Vladimir Putin
6 Igor Korobov (ru) Since February 2, 2016 Vladimir Putin

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Reuters Factbox on Russian military intelligence by Dmitry Solovyov". Reuters. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Lunev, Stanislav (12 September 1997). "Changes may be on the way for the Russian security services". PRISM. The Jamestown Foundation. 3 (14). Archived from the original on 25 November 2006. 
  3. ^ "Putin Arrives in Style at Military Spy Base". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Unlike its predecessor, a drab, redbrick monolith nicknamed the Aquarium, the new GRU complex is a futuristic glass-clad and bulletproof structure that bears more than a passing resemblance to the London headquarters of Britain's MI6 [...] The complex, whose construction began in 2003, cost 9.5 billion rubles ($357 million) to build, and incorporates an area of 70,000 square meters. 
  4. ^ Young, John (August 10, 2008). "GRU Headquarters - Russian MilIntel Eyeball". Cryptome. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. 
  5. ^ Solovyov, Dmitry (April 24, 2009). "Russia's Medvedev sacks military spy chief". Reuters. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. President Dmitry Medvedev sacked Russia's most powerful intelligence chief Friday in a move that underscores strained ties with some of the military top brass over a Kremlin-backed reform of the armed forces. The Kremlin said Medvedev had signed a decree to dismiss General Valentin Korabelnikov, who has directed Russia's military intelligence service since 1997. 
  6. ^ "Russia military spy boss 'sacked'". BBC News. April 24, 2009. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Gen Korabelnikov had been the head of military intelligence for 12 years and was a four-star general. Analysts say the 63-year-old was one of the main opponents of the planned military reforms, which could see the Russian armed forces shrink from 1.3 million serving men and women to one million. The majority of those cuts would come from the officer corps, which could see the loss of around 200,000 posts, including many generals. Some of the proposed reforms were said to have included the disbanding of several GRU-controlled army special forces (Spetsnaz) brigades and the redistribution of the command of some GRU structures to the SVR. Gen Korabelnikov is reported to have submitted his resignation in protest last November. 
  7. ^ "Operations of the Main Intelligence Administration (GRU) Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie - Russia / Soviet Intelligence Agencies". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  8. ^ Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7.
  9. ^ a b c Stanislav Lunev. Through the Eyes of the Enemy: The Autobiography of Stanislav Lunev, Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1998. ISBN 0-89526-390-4
  10. ^ Symposium: Al Qaeda’s Nukes by Jamie Glazov, FrontPageMagazine, October 27, 2006
  11. ^ Western leaders betray Aslan Maskhadov Archived 2009-01-14 at the Wayback Machine. – by Andre Glucksmann. Prima-News, March 11, 2005
  12. ^ CHECHEN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER: BASAEV WAS G.R.U. OFFICER Archived 2006-10-16 at the Wayback Machine. The Jamestown Foundation, September 08, 2006
  13. ^ Analysis: Has Chechnya's Strongman Signed His Own Death Warrant? – by Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, March 1, 2005
  14. ^ Nicholas Horrock, "FBI focusing on portable nuke threat", UPI (20 December 2001).
  15. ^ Steve Goldstein and Chris Mondics, "Some Weldon-backed allegations unconfirmed; Among them: A plot to crash planes into a reactor, and missing suitcase-size Soviet atomic weapons." Philadelphia Inquirer (15 March 2006) A7.
  16. ^ a b "FACT SHEET: Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment". White House. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  17. ^ Petriashvili, Diana (28 September 2006). "Tbilisi Claims Russian Troop Movements in Response to Spy Dispute". EurasiaNet. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. A Tbilisi city court September 29 ordered two Russian officers arrested in the Georgian capital, Dmitri Kazantsyev and Alexander Savva, and seven Georgian citizens to be held in pre-trial detention. The Russian consul in Georgia, Valeri Vasiliyev, told Rustavi-2 television that a lawyer for the officers had not been allowed into the courtroom. The Georgian Interior Ministry did not immediately comment on the allegation. The court also passed the same ruling for Konstantin Pichugin, who has been accused of espionage, but who is believed to be inside Russia's regional military headquarters, which remained surrounded by police for a second day. Moscow has refused to surrender Pichugin. 
  18. ^ "Georgia Arrests Russian ‘Intelligence Operatives’". Civil Georgia. September 27, 2006. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Georgia's counter-intelligence service arrested four Russian military intelligence (GRU - Glavnoye Razvedovatelnoye Upravlenie) officers and eleven citizens of Georgia who were cooperating with Russian intelligence services, Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili said on September 27 [...] He said that two Russian intelligence operatives were arrested in Tbilisi - GRU colonel Alexander Sava, who was allegedly the chief of the group operating in Georgia, and Dimitri Kazantsev. Two others - Alexander Zavgorodny and Alexander Baranov - were arrested in Batumi, the Georgian Interior Minister said. 
  19. ^ Tsvetkova, Maria (November 5, 2015). "New photos suggest Russia's operation in Syria stretches well beyond its air campaign". Business Insider. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. CIT also published screenshots from the Instagram page of Ilya Gorelykh, who it said had served in Russia's GRU special forces in the past [...] In late October it showed he had uploaded pictures from Aleppo, one of which showed him holding an assault rifle while wearing civilian clothes. Another image of him posing in camouflage with three other armed men was apparently taken in Homs. 
  20. ^ "Beyond the airstrikes: Russia's activities on the ground in Syria". November 8, 2015. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. We believe that Russia's operation in Syria is a "hybrid war", not unlike the one seen in Ukraine. Apart from the airstrikes, Russia provides Assad forces with surface-to-surface rocket systems, combat vehicles, equipment, advisors, artillery support and spotters. More importantly, recently there have been more and more reports of Russian soldiers, vehicles and "volunteers" being spotted close to the frontlines. 
  21. ^ Agence France-Presse (January 22, 2016). "Turkey alarmed by ‘Russian build-up’ on Syria border". The National. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Top Russian military officials, including figures from the GRU military intelligence service, had already visited Qamishli, it added. 
  22. ^ Ball, Desmond (1993). Signals Intelligence in the Post-cold War Era: Developments in the Asia-Pacific Region. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 105. ISBN 9789813016378. 1. Andreyevka SATCOM Station, Russia 
  23. ^ Aid, Matthew (July 29, 2012). "Russia’s Andreyevka SIGINT Station". Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. The station is located in the Maritime Province of the Russian Far East near the tiny village of Andreyevka (Google Earth transliterates the name as Andreevka) at the following geographic coordinates: 44-30-30N 133-28-28E. [...] Built during the mid-1970s by the Soviets, a former senior NSA official mentioned it to me in the late 1980s as being "the biggest and baddest of the Sov’s SIGINT stations.“ At the station’s peak during the Cold War, it was jointly manned by several hundred KGB and GRU (Soviet military intelligence) SIGINTers. Today, the station is owned and operated solely by the GRU, and it would appear that the station has not been upgraded with new equipment in quite some time. 
  24. ^ Aid, Matthew (May 12, 2012). "Soviet Eavesdropping Station Identified". Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Andreyevka SATCOM Station: 44-30-30N 133-28-28E Some of these stations are still apparently active (the largest of which is the Andreyevka station near Vladivostok), although to what degree they are still working COMSAT targets cannot be determined from imagery available on Google Maps. 
  25. ^ Walsh, Nick Paton (June 13, 2006). "Land of the warlords". The Guardian. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Sulim Yamadayev: heads 1000 strong East battalion, controlled by the chief intelligence directorate (GRU) of the Russian military. Dislikes Kadyrov [...] Said Magomed Kakiev: commander of 900-strong "West" battalion, also under GRU control. Dislikes Kadyrov. 
  26. ^ "Spies Still Everywhere, GRU Says". The Moscow Times. July 17, 2003. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. GRU commando units operate in the armed forces to provide field intelligence and carry out special operations, such as the penetration and elimination of enemy units. The military actively employs GRU commandoes in Chechnya, where they have proven to be about the most able of all military units. More than 300 commandos, intelligence officers and other GRU personnel have died in fighting in Chechnya, Korabelnikov said. 
  27. ^ McGregor, Andrew (October 26, 2006). "Chechen Troops Accompany Russian Soldiers in Lebanon". Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. In a surprise move, the Russian Defense Ministry assigned security responsibility for its team of military engineers in Lebanon to two detachments of Chechen troops [...] The East and West battalions of Chechen troops are controlled by the Russian military intelligence (GRU) and do not report directly to the Chechen government. 
  28. ^ Special services are making teams for extrajudicial punishment (Russian) by Igor Korolkov, Novaya Gazeta, January 11, 2007. English translation
  29. ^ Chase, Steven; Moore, Oliver; Baluja, Tamara (September 6, 2012). "Ottawa expels Russian diplomats in wake of charges against Canadian". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. The Harper government has expelled staff at Russia’s embassy in the wake of charges filed against a Canadian military intelligence officer for allegedly passing secrets to a foreign power, The Globe and Mail has learned. [...] A Russian embassy official acknowledged the following three staffers have recently left Canada, saying, however, that all departures were routine: Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry V. Fedorchatenko, assistant defence attaché. Konstantin Kolpakov, attaché. Mikhail Nikiforov, with the administrative and technical staff. The embassy did not provide a clear explanation for the fourth name now gone from Canada’s official list of diplomatic, consular and foreign government representatives: Tatiana Steklova, who had been described as “administrative and technical staff.” 
  30. ^ Payton, Laura (January 20, 2012). "Spying mystery deepens with lack of information". CBC News. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Initial media reports said up to four Russian Embassy staff had been removed from a list of embassy and diplomatic staff recognized by Canada. CBC News has confirmed that two have had their credentials revoked since news broke of the naval officer's arrest, while two diplomats left the country a month or more before the arrest this week of Canadian Sub.-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle. 
  31. ^ "Estonia Sentences Russian Spy to Five Years in Prison". The Moscow Times. May 8, 2017. Archived from the original on May 13, 2017. Retrieved May 13, 2017. Zinchenko has lived in Estonia on a residence permit since 2013. The Estonian court determined that he was recruited by Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) in 2009, and spent the next four years collecting information about troop movements in Estonia, and about objects of national importance. [...] Zinchenko reportedly passed sensitive information to members of the GRU on multiple occasions, both by means of special communication and in person, on visits to St. Petersburg. 
  32. ^ Jones, Bruce (May 9, 2017). "Tallinn jails GRU agent spying on Estonian and NATO forces". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved May 13, 2017. Artem Zinchenko, a Russian citizen legally resident in Estonia since 2013, was convicted on 8 May of espionage for Russia's GRU military intelligence organisation. Recruited in 2009 and arrested in January 2017, Zinchenko was sentenced to five years for spying on locations, equipment, and manoeuvres of Estonian and NATO forces and critical infrastructure. 
  33. ^ a b Williams, Matthias (June 13, 2017). Char, Pravin, ed. "Exclusive: Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova recruited fighters - sources". Reuters. 
  34. ^ Reuters (June 13, 2017). Osborn, Andrew, ed. "Russia Says Report Its Moldova Diplomats Recruited Fighters Is 'Gossip': RIA". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2017. Allegations that five Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova last month recruited fighters for the Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine were "idle gossip", the RIA news agency quoted a deputy Russian foreign minister as saying on Tuesday. Grigory Karasin made the comment shortly after Reuters published an exclusive report citing Moldovan government and diplomatic sources as saying that the five were ejected because of their alleged activities as undercover officers with the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. 
  35. ^ Pike, John (November 27, 1997). "Signals Intelligence Programs and Activities". Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. The GRU's Sixth Directorate uses over 20 different types of aircraft, a fleet of 60 SIGINT collection vessels, satellites, and ground stations to collect signals intelligence. Together with FAPSI, the GRU operates SIG1NT collection facilities in over 60 diplomatically protected facilities throughout the world. These agencies also operate large ground collection facilities within the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States, at Cam Rank Bay, Vietnam, and at Lourdes, Cuba. 
  36. ^ Weiss, Michael (September 1, 2016). "Russia Puts Boots on the Ground in Syria". The Daily Caller. Archived from the original on September 2, 2015. In October 2014, the Free Syrian Army sacked a Russian listening post in Tel al-Hara, south of the Quneitra border crossing with Israel. Its location was key. A YouTube video showed a Syrian officer giving the rebels a guided tour of the office building attached to the facility. Documents hanging on the wall, in both Arabic and Russian, including the symbols for Syrian intelligence and 6th Directorate of Russia’s military intelligence agency (GRU), and photos showed spies from both countries hard at work deciphering intercepts. Maps displayed rebel positions; they also showed coordinates of Israel Defense Force units. 
  37. ^ Fitsanakis, Joseph (October 9, 2014). "Secret Russian spy base in Syria seized by Western-backed rebels". intelNews. Archived from the original on October 11, 2014. At some point in the video, the seal of Syrian intelligence is clearly visible, placed next to the seal of the GRU’s 6th Directorate, the branch of Russian military intelligence that is tasked with collecting signals intelligence (SIGINT). 
  38. ^ Oryx (October 6, 2014). "Captured Russian Spy Facility Reveals the Extent of Russian Aid to the Assad Regime". bellingcat. Archived from the original on April 9, 2015. The Russian operator of Center S was the Osnaz GRU, responsible for radio electronic intelligence within Russia’s Armed Forces. Although not much is known about this unit, its logos can be seen below. “Части особого назначения” – Osnaz GRU and “Военная радиоэлектронная разведка” – Military Radio Electronic Intelligence. 
  39. ^ Matthews, Owen. "Erdogan and Putin: Strongmen in love". Newsweek. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. The electronic intelligence was gathered, according to the report, by a Russian listening station at Hmemim Airport near Latakia, Syria, operated by the Sixth Directorate of GRu military intelligence. 
  40. ^ Powell, Bill (2002-11-01), Treason: How a Russian Spy Led an American Journalist to a U.S. Double Agent, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-7432-2915-0 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hastings, Max (2015). The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939–1945 (Paperback). London: William Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-750374-2. 

External links[edit]