Appendix F: Russian Intelligence Services

Russia has three primary intelligence services: the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU). The FSB and SVR trace their lineage to the old Soviet Committee of State Security (KGB). Although the FSB and SVR are considered military services under Russian federal law, they are more akin to civilian intelligence agencies.496

The Federal Security Service

The FSB has three primary missions: countering foreign intelligence services, combatting organized crime, and ensuring economic and financial security. It is also the Russian lead counterterrorism organization.497 President Vladimir Putin launched a major reorganization of the FSB during his first term, placing the organization under the president’s direct control. The FSB has continued to grow, integrating the Border Guard Service of Russia and the Federal Agency of Government Communication and Information (FAPSI).

The Foreign Intelligence Service

The SVR is Russia’s main external intelligence agency; it focuses on civilian affairs, whereas the GRU focuses on military affairs. According to Russian law, the SVR is authorized to carry out the following missions:498

• Conduct intelligence.

• Implement active measures (disinformation, propaganda, etc.) to ensure Russia's security.

• Conduct military, strategic, economic, scientific, and technological espionage.

• Protect employees of Russian institutions overseas and their families.

• Provide personal security for Russian government officials and their families.

• Conduct joint operations with foreign security services.

• Conduct electronic surveillance in foreign countries.

Responsibilities of Russian Intelligence Services499,500,501,502

GRU Headquarters Moscow.503,504

The Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff

The GRU is the Ministry of Defense’s foreign intelligence organization that provides military intelligence for the General Staff, Ministry of Defense, and senior government officials.505,506,507,508 The GRU’s responsibilities include providing senior political and military leadership with all-source intelligence, including indications and warning of strategic threats and information to assist leadership in making decisions regarding Russia’s armaments program.509,510 GRU operations abroad involve human intelligence (HUMINT) collection on potential enemies’ military-industrial capabilities, troop movements, and weapon systems.511,512 The GRU manages military attaches, intelligence analysis, cryptanalysis, space-based assets, telecommunications intercept capabilities, and radio-electronic and telecommunications-based offensive capabilities.513,514 It also oversees Spetsnaz units and special operations forces.515,516,517,518 GRU operational combat and advisory roles have expanded dramatically in the past decade, involving military operations in Ukraine’s Crimea region, eastern Ukraine, and Syria.519,520,521,522,523,524,525,526

You can support our site by clicking on this link and watching the advertisement.

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at Thank you!