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 Post subject: Russia GRU New Military Spymaster
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 28 Dec 2011 09:01 
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Russia's GRU New Military Spymaster

GRU or Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye is the foreign military intelligence directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
GRU is Russia's largest foreign intelligence agency. In 1997 deployed six times as many agents in foreign countries as the FSB, the KGB intelligence successor. In 1997 also commanded 25,000 Spetsnaz troops (special forces).


Russia appointed Major General Igor Sergun as the new chief of the GRU military intelligence service, the country's biggest espionage agency, news agencies quoted a Defense Ministry spokesman as saying on Monday.


No other details were given about the new head of the GRU, an organization so secretive it has neither a spokesman nor a web site.


The state-run newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta described Sergun as a career spy and cited sources as saying he had served as deputy to the outgoing GRU chief Alexander Shlyakhturov. 
The Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, told Interfax that Shlyakhturov, 64, was removed after reaching retirement age for military servicemen. 


The Kommersant newspaper, citing unidentified sources on Saturday, said Shlyakhturov, who was appointed by President Dmitry Medvedev in April 2009, had left his post to head the board of OAO Korporatsiya MIT, which develops nuclear missiles. 


The Russian military intelligence service, known by its Russian acronym GRU, has agents spread across the globe. 


Created in 1918 under the revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky, answers to the chief of the general staff, one of the three people who control Russia's portable nuclear briefcase. 
Shlyakhturov's predecessor, General Valentin Korabelnikov, was seen to have been dismissed for opposing Kremlin-backed military reforms. But Shlyakhturov is viewed as an ally of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who has cut the number of servicemen and reorganized the armed forces command. 


Unlike the Soviet-era KGB secret police, the GRU was not split up when the Soviet Union collapsed, although the organization has lost turf wars with the KGB's main successor, the FSB, over recent years, according to local media. 


Russia's most powerful man, Vladimir Putin, served as a KGB spy in East Germany in the 1980s and later became director of the FSB. In 2006, he visited the new Moscow headquarters of GRU, where he was shown shooting a pistol on a firing range.

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The GRU Head Quarters is 11 Km from Moscow central at the Khoroskovsky District.

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History

The GRU was created on the 21 October 1918 under the sponsorship of Leon Trotsky, who was then the civilian overseer of the Red Army; it was originally known as the Registration Directorate (Registrupravlenie, or RU). Semyon Aralov was its first head. In his history of the early years of the GRU, Raymond W. Leonard writes:

    "As originally established, the Registration Department was not directly subordinate to the General Staff (at the time called the Red Army Field Staff — Polevoi Shtab). Administratively, it was the Third Department of the Field Staff's Operations Directorate. In July 1920, the RU was made the second of four main departments in the Operations Directorate. Until 1921, it was usually called the Registraupr (Registration Department). That year, following the Soviet-Polish War, it was elevated in status to become the Second (Intelligence) Directorate of the Red Army Staff, and was thereafter known as the Razvedupr. This probably resulted from its new primary peacetime responsibilities as the main source of foreign intelligence for the Soviet leadership. As part of a major re-organization of the Red Army, sometime in 1925 or 1926 the RU became the Fourth (Intelligence) Directorate of the Red Army Staff, and was thereafter also known simply as the "Fourth Department." Throughout most of the interwar period, the men and women who worked for Red Army Intelligence called it either the Fourth Department, the Intelligence Service, the Razvedupr, or the RU.[...] As a result of the re-organization [in 1926], carried out in part to break up Trotsky's hold on the army, the Fourth Department seems to have been placed directly under the control of the State Defense Council (Gosudarstvennaia komissiia oborony, or GKO), the successor of the RVSR. Thereafter its analysis and reports went directly to the GKO and Politburo, even apparently bypassing the Red Army Staff."

It was given the task of handling all military intelligence, particularly the collection of intelligence of military or political significance from sources outside the Soviet Union. The GRU operated residencies all over the world, along with the SIGINT (signals intelligence) station in Lourdes, Cuba, and throughout the former Soviet bloc countries, especially in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

The first head of the GRU was Janis Karlovich Berzin, a Latvian Communist and former member of the Cheka, who remained in the post until 28 November 1937, when he was arrested and subsequently liquidated during Joseph Stalin's purges.

The GRU was well known in the Soviet government for its fierce independence from the rival "internal intelligence organizations", such as NKVD and KGB. At the time of the GRU's creation, Lenin infuriated the Cheka (predecessor of the KGB) by ordering it not to interfere with the GRU's operations. Nonetheless, the Cheka infiltrated the GRU in 1919. This planted the seed for a fierce rivalry between the two agencies, which were both engaged in espionage, and was even more intense than the rivalry between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency in America would be in a future time.

The existence of the GRU was not publicized during the Soviet era, although documents concerning it became available in the West in the late 1920s and it was mentioned in the 1931 memoirs of the first OGPU defector, Georges Agabekov, and described in detail in the 1939 autobiography (I Was Stalin's Agent) of Walter Krivitsky, the most senior Red Army intelligence officer ever to defect.

It became widely known in Russia, and the West outside the narrow confines of the intelligence community, during perestroika, in part thanks to the writings of "Viktor Suvorov" (Vladimir Rezun), a GRU agent who defected to Britain in 1978, and wrote about his experiences in the Soviet military and intelligence services. According to Suvorov, even the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union couldn't enter GRU headquarters without going through a security screening.

The GRU is still a very important part of the Russian Federation's intelligence services, especially since it was never split up like the KGB was. The KGB was dissolved after aiding a failed coup in 1991 against the then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It has since been divided into the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Federal Security Service (FSB) activities

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." GRU Space Intelligence Directorate has put more than 130 SIGINT satellites into orbit. GRU and KGB SIGINT network employed about 350,000 specialists.

According to GRU defector Kalanbe, "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 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. GRU is "one of the primary instructors of terrorists worldwide" according to Lunev, Terrorist Shamil Basayev reportedly worked for this organization.

US Congressman Curt Weldon supported claims by Lunev but noted that Lunev had "exaggerated things" according to the FBI. 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."

NOTE: Information and photos collated from various sources, Moscow times, Wikipedia and others.


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