GRU

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Russian singer/songwriter Yulia Chicherina sits beneath a flag emblazoned with the GRU logo.

GRU stands for Glavnoe razvedyvatel’noe upravlenie, or Main Intelligence Directorate. Since 1942, except for a few brief periods, GRU has been the acronym for the Soviet (now Russian) military intelligence service.

When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, the KGB was disbanded. However, exactly as GRU defector Victor Suvorov predicted and explained years earlier, the GRU survived. The GRU has always been staffed with military experts, and not Communist Party ideologues. In fact, the GRU often found itself at odds and threatened by the KGB, whom GRU officers regarded as non-professional intelligence officers and drunks. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, most residents of Russia and former Soviet-bloc countries had never heard of the GRU, whose primary task was defending the homeland. Offensive or aggressive operations against sovereign nations were the design of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, of which the GRU would be compelled to fulfill by threats from the KGB of execution or imprisonment in the Soviet gulag system. The GRU, being the central brain of the only armed group within the USSR, was regarded with suspicion and mistrust by communist party rulers, who always considered the Russian and Soviet armed services as a potential domestic threat to their power.

As military and technical experts, the GRU played an important part in arms control negotiations with the West during the Cold War.

History

Since its inception in 1918, this service has had a series of names, the best-known of which are listed here:

  • Razvedupr [Razvedyvatel'noe upravlenie shtaba RKKA - The Intelligence Directorate of the Staff of the Worker and Peasant Red Army], 1921-1924;
  • IV upravlenie [Chetvertoe upravlenie shtaba RKKA - IV Directorate of the Staff of the Worker and Peasant Red Army], 1926-1934;
  • Razvedupr Razvedyvatel'noe upravlenie RKKA - The Intelligence Directorate of the Worker and Peasant Red Army), 1934-1939;
  • Pyatoe upravlenie [5-e upravlenie NKO - The Fifth Directorate of the People's Commissariat of Defense], 1939-1940;
  • RU GSh [Razvedyvatel'noe upravlenie General'nogo shtaba KA - The Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army], 1940-February 1942; 1943-June 1945;
  • GRU [Glavnoe razvedyvatel'noe upravlenie General'nogo shtaba krasnoi armii - The Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army], February–September, 1942; June 1945 – 1946;
  • GRU VS [Glavnoe razvedyvatel'noe upravlenie vooruzhennykh sil - The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Armed Forces], 1946-1947; 1949-1950;
  • From 1947 to early 1949, military intelligence was part of the short-lived Committee of Information (KI) at the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
  • GRU GSh SA [Glavnoe razvedyvatel'noe upravlenie General'nogo shtaba Sovetskoi Armii - The Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Soviet Army], 1950-1955;
  • GRU VS SSSR [Glavnoe razvedyvatel'noe upravlenie vooruzhennykh sil SSSR - The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Armed Forces of the USSR], 1955-1991;
  • GRU VS RF [Glavnoe razvedyvatel'noe upravlenie vooruzhennykh sil Rossiiskoi Federatsii - The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation], 1991–present.

See also

Sources