Sunday, February 17, 2008

GRU

GRU (Russian: ГРУ, Главное Разведывательное Управление or Glavnoje Razvedyvatel'noje Upravlenije) is the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The GRU was created by Lenin in 1918 to gather military intelligence and is known for its fierce rivalry with the KGB and the CPSU, and other intelligence agencies, in order to maintain its independence.

The existence of this secret military service was unknown to the West until after the Cold War, when information became available after the defection of GRU and KGB agents. The GRU is the largest Russian intelligence gathering agency and has far more personnel, 'military attachés', 'advisers' and agents in foreign countries as the SVR, the successor of the KGB. They collect information by Human and Signal Intelligence, espionage, reconnaissance and satellite imagery (Space Intelligence Directorate). The Spetsnaz special forces originated from the GRU but were later introduced in other parts of the armed forces due to its success. GRU is the only intelligence agency that survived the reorganisations after the dissolving of the USSR.

Information by defectors and documents from the Mitrokhin Archive (see my book review) revealed that GRU is infiltrated in all Western countries and has weapons and explosives caches in Europe and the United States, to be used in event of a war. The GRU remains a very secretive organisation and little details of its operations, capabilities and methods are known.There's an interesting interview with General Korabelnikov, chief of the GRU or you can read more about GRU at the FAS website and on Agentura ru.

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