Some consider Russia to be a bear, vodka, ballet, balalaika, Dostoevsky. Others see Putin, wars, fears, terrorism. Due to the Kremlin’s imperial activity’s painful manifestations, the latter’s amount increases. Fear! It is a fear that appears where smiles and interest have been before. And this fear is not baseless. The three letters that changed the world during the Cold War were KGB. The three letters that affect the normal state of affairs, peace, and security of life almost worldwide are GRUD: Main Intelligence Directorate, which does not exist at all formally.
In 2010, after the army reform, military intelligence became known as the Ministry of Defence General Staff Main Directorate. In November 2010, officers celebrated a professional holiday at the Crocus City restaurant and raised a toast to the “bright memory of the GRU,” from which Anatoly Serdyukov (then Russian Defence Minister) “stole one letter.” But no matter how you change the letters in the name – the essence of this will not change.
CID is the famous “Moscow’s hand” that the Kremlin uses despite international law or any civilised norms of morality and common sense.
From 2017 to early 2018 – despite the fierce competition of FSB, SZR, and other security forces – the GRU became virtually the “main imperial Kremlin’s violin.” The aggression against Ukraine, which began under the FSB “supervision,” eventually came under the GRU’s control. Access to unlimited financial resources, which appeared in the intelligence services with the support of Surkov and Putin, closed in the question “who is in charge?”
The Russian Federation intelligence service’s global influence
In 2018, the GRU became the key Russian abbreviation both inside and outside the country. Intelligence officers were accused of hacking the US Democratic Party’s servers and trying to impact the US election; the attacks on anti-doping agencies and the International Court of Arbitration; an attempt to hack the network resources of the Chemical Weapons Prohibition Organisation in the Netherlands.
Besides, the same service was accused of trying to poison Sergei Skripal, a former GRU colonel, recruited by the British. Apparently, two men who came to Salisbury for this purpose under the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were GRU officers Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga.
The “GRU’s trace,” explicit or indirect, appears in almost every “dark” case involving murder, threats, bribery, fraud, and terrorism. The GRU’s structure covered practically the whole world with its “net.” Its 1st Directorate is responsible for the intelligence in Europe, the 2nd in the United States, the 3rd in Asia, and the 4th in the Middle East and Africa. In turn, the 5th Department is operational intelligence, the 6th is radio-technical intelligence, the 7th Department is the information-analytical service, the 8th is the sabotage one, and the 12th is the information warfare unit.
The senseless imperial ambitions of a lifelong leader do not leave any of these administrations without a job 24/7. “Cloak-and-dagger agents” work without weekends and rest. But can they be called the “knights?” What principles do these “knights” defend? Whose interests do they support?
The history spires
Having started the war in Donbas and occupied Crimea, the Kremlin realised that it had attracted the attention of the whole world as an “aggressor country.” Kremlin policy is, first and foremost, a struggle for financial flows and resources. Some illusory “national interests,” “protection of scraps” and other fairytales only cover the painful greed of the lifelong helmsman and his close circle. But money loves silence. The Kremlin does not need negative attention to its actions. Therefore, it is necessary to shift the focus to another object, at any cost. Especially since there is such a powerful tool as the GRU, which can perform any task in any country throughout the world.
From 2015 to 2018, a wave of terrorist acts, committed by persons associated with the Islamic world, rolled through European cities. Is this a simple coincidence or a special operation to distract attention from another object with terrible consequences? The total number of dead exceeded 100, wounded about 1000.
- And again the Kremlin is in the “risk zone.” Regional conflicts have practically taken Russia into the ring. Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Nagorny Karabakh. And again a wave of terrorist attacks took a ride via the European Union’s territory. Coincidence again? A simple coincidence that intensifies the European leaders’ anti-Islamic rhetoric, easing the Kremlin’s position in the confrontation with Turkey on the Armenian-Azerbaijani front.
Recently, the GRU’s “knights” celebrated their professional holiday. Without loud congratulations and speeches. Intelligence, like money, loves silence. Many “knights” received high awards from the Kremlin. No marches and toasts. Quietly. How many of those awards will be “For Paris,” “For Nice” and “For Vienna?”
Yuri Fedorenko, an analyst, public communication expert
The author’s opinion does not always coincide with the editorial position