Russian espionage in the United States

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Russian influence operations in the United States have existed since 1992.[citation needed]

According to American counterintelligence, in 2007 Russian espionage reached Cold War levels.[1]


The Foundations of Geopolitics, initially published in 1997 when Vladimir Putin became FSB chief, is a military training textbook which has influenced key Russian decision-makers. It states that Russia should use its special forces within the borders of the United States to:[2]

introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.



According to former GRU Colonel Stanislav Lunev, "SVR and GRU (Russia's political and military intelligence agencies, respectively) are operating against the U.S. in a much more active manner than they were during even the hottest days of the Cold War."[3] From the end of the 1980s, KGB and later SVR began to create "a second echelon" of "auxiliary agents in addition to our main weapons, illegals and special agents", according to former SVR officer Kouzminov.[4] These agents are legal immigrants, including scientists and other professionals. Another SVR officer who defected to Britain in 1996 described details about thousand Russian agents and intelligence officers, some of them "illegals" who live under deep cover abroad.[5] Recently caught Russian high-profile agents in US are Aldrich Hazen Ames, Harold James Nicholson, Earl Edwin Pitts, Robert Philip Hanssen and George Trofimoff.

Cooperation with foreign intelligence services[edit]

An agreement on intelligence cooperation between Russia and China was signed in 1992. This secret treaty covers cooperation of the GRU GSh VS RF and the SVR RF with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Military Intelligence Directorate.[6] In 2003 it was reported that SVR RF trained Iraqi spies when Russia collaborated with Saddam Hussein.[7][8] The SVR also has cooperation agreements with the secret police services of certain former Soviet republics, such as Azerbaijan and Belarus.[6]

Assassinations abroad[edit]

"In the Soviet era, the SVR – then part of the KGB – handled covert political assassinations abroad".[9] These activities reportedly continue.[9] Igor the Assassin, who is believed to have been the poisoner of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006,[citation needed] was allegedly an SVR officer.[10] However, SVR denied involvement in the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko. An SVR spokesperson queried over Litvinenko remarked: "May God give him health."[11]

It was reported that in September 2003, an SVR RF agent in London was making preparations to assassinate Boris Berezovsky with a binary weapon, and that is why Berezovsky had been speedily granted asylum in Britain.[12] GRU officers who killed Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in Qatar in 2004 reportedly claimed that supporting SVR agents let them down by not evacuating them in time, so they have been arrested by Qatar authorities.[9]


  1. ^ Putin spy war on the West. The Sunday Times. May 20, 2007
  2. ^ John B. Dunlop. "Review: Aleksandr Dugin’s Foundations of Geopolitics" (PDF). 
  3. ^ Expulsion of Russian Spies Teaches Moscow a Needed Lesson by Stanislav Lunev, 22 March 2001
  4. ^ Alexander Kouzminov Biological Espionage: Special Operations of the Soviet and Russian Foreign Intelligence Services in the West, Greenhill Books, 2006, ISBN 1-85367-646-2 [1]
  5. ^ Vasili Mitrokhin and Christopher Andrew (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference spies1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ Robert Collier; Bill Wallace (April 17, 2003). "Russia now admits training Iraqi spies / But it says intent was to fight crime, terror". SF Chronicle. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Iraq's Russian Arms Buyer Headed Germ Warfare Program; Russian Spies Unmasked in London Financial System". [dead link]
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference Littell was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Alex Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko. Death of a dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB, The Free Press (2007) ISBN 1-4165-5165-4