History of the Main Intelligence Administration (GRU)
Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie (GRU)
Few nations developed a healthier respect for the relationship between intelligence and warfare than the Soviet Union. The four years of warfare on the Eastern Front during the Second World War, known by the Soviets as the Great Patriotic War, were unprecedented in scale and intensity. From the commencement of BARBAROSSA on June 22, 1941 to the end of the European War in May 1945, intelligence played a significant role in the course and outcome of operations.
The Soviets acknowledged that serious intelligence failures played a significant role in the outcome of operations during the first two years of war. The Soviets, however, learned from those failures, and, by the summer of 1943, they had created an effective, complex system for intelligence collection and processing. This new system bore fruit in the last two years of war, during which effective Soviet razvedka provided the basis for successful Soviet deception and for operational and strategic victory.
Most Westerners have only a sketchy awareness of that role. The Soviet intelligence failure of June 1941 and the apparent intelligence success at Kursk in 1943 have received attention in numerous works. Yet the appreciation of both has been, at best, superficial, replete with generalizations which have characterized most descriptions of war on the Eastern Front.
The first Soviet organization, which began systematic intelligence work abroad, was the Cheka under the leadership of Felix Dzerzhinsky. Approximately at the same time, other services began to work. The military commissariat under the leadership of Leon Trotsky created his own intelligence agency. In November 1918, the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic (RVSR) approved the staff of the RPFR Field Staff, which included the Registration Department (Razvedopr), with the coordination functions of the intelligence services of the Red Army units and the preparation of reconnaissance information for the Red Army Field Staff.
The registration department became the first central body of the military intelligence intelligence of the Red Army and the first central body of military counterintelligence. Since the secret order of the Revolutionary Military Council of the RSFSR No. 197/27 on the staff of the Field Staff (including the State of Registry) was dated November 5, 1918, this day is considered the birthday of Soviet (and now Russian) military intelligence.
It was never written about in the press, it avoided fame, but never concealed the goals and functions. The first head of the GRU and its head for fifteen years was Jan Berzin, an outstanding personality and an excellent organizer. He began as Comrade Berzin, then became the army commissar Berzin, then General Berzin, and ended his days with the accused Berzin.
Sometimes, because of necessity, the Soviet intelligence agencies had to work in contact with foreign special services. For example, during the Second World War, the GRU and its chefs officially acted in conjunction with American and British intelligence. By its structure and type of activity, the GRU did not differ from the military intelligence agencies of foreign armies. The main agents abroad were military, air and naval attachés and their employees. Among its units in Moscow were those who were engaged in the management of foreign agents, the selection and assessment of information, radio communications, codes, sabotage, false documents and other issues. Some GRU agents were well known: Klaus Fuchs, Rosenberg's wife, Richard Sorge, Bruno Pontecorvo and those Russians with whom they had contacts, such as Anatoly Yakovlev, Valentin Gubichev and many others.
There was never a clear division of functions between the NKVD and the GRU. Formally, the army and navy, mobilization plans and new types of weapons belong to the field of military intelligence, and ideological operations, agreements, secret treaties - to the field of interests of the NKVD. But in fact, their functions were always overlapping, and the sphere of authority was never exactly defined, which was by no means an accident.
The GRU changed its name over three decades, although these changes were of little political significance. It was consistently called the Registration Department of the Red Army, the Second Bureau of the General Staff. The Fourth Division, the Seventh Division, and finally the General Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff. Marine intelligence, as a separate unit, appeared in 1940. Among the four departments of the GRU, the most important and most interesting is the operational one, which is conducting reconnaissance abroad. It is divided into eight sections: 1 - Western Europe; 2 - Middle East; 3 - America, the Far East, India; 4 - technical data, mainly on armaments; 5 - terrorist acts abroad, sabotage, kidnapping, etc .; 6 - fake documents and new spy equipment; 7 - reconnaissance operations in various border areas; 8 - codes and ciphers.
The creation of Soviet military intelligence is dated November 5, 1918. Its successive names briefly read as follows: Registration Department of the Field Staff of the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army, Headquarters of the Red Army Headquarters, Intelligence Division of the 1st Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Red Army, the Statistical Office of the Red Army, the Office of the People's Commissariat of Defense, the Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff and, finally, since 1942. - Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff.
In February 1921, with the goal of creating a single body for the management of the armed forces, the Field Staff of the RVSR was merged with the All-Russia General Staff into the Headquarters of the Red Army. The Register became part of the newly formed body.
In April 1921, the Registration Department was transformed into the Intelligence Directorate of the Headquarters of the Red Army (Razdupr) with the inclusion of the military intelligence department. The relevant Regulations determined that this structure is the central body of military intelligence, both in military and in peacetime.
In 1921-1925, Razvedopr carried out the so-called "active intelligence" - led the actions of pro-Soviet partisan detachments in the territories of neighboring states with Soviet Russia and the USSR. In November 1922, the Intelligence Directorate of the Headquarters of the Red Army was reorganized into the Intelligence Division of the Office of the First Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Red Army with a significant narrowing of functions and a reduction in the number of staff.
In 1924, the Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army Headquarters was re-created. In September 1926, the Intelligence Directorate of the Headquarters of the Red Army was renamed the IV Office of the Red Army Headquarters. In August 1934, the IV Office of the Red Army Headquarters was renamed the Information and Statistical Office of the Red Army, which in turn was renamed the Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army in November 1934 (directly subordinated to the People's Commissar of Defense).
In May 1939 the Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army was transformed into the 5th Directorate of the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense. In July 1940, the 5th Department was again transferred to the submission to the General Staff and was called the Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army. On February 16, 1942, by order of the People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR, the Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army was reorganized into the General Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff with a corresponding change in the structure and staffing.
During the war, the army again took an honorable place, and the rivalry between intelligence agencies abroad subsided somewhat. Cooperation was established between the NKVD, the GRU and the agents of the Comintern. On October 23, 1942, by order of the People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR, the Main Intelligence Directorate was transferred from submission to the General Staff in direct submission to the People's Commissar of Defense. The GRU was entrusted with conducting all intelligence reconnaissance and subversive activities, both abroad and in the occupied territory of the USSR. Simultaneously, the General Staff formed the Directorate of Military Intelligence of the General Staff, which supervised the work of front-line reconnaissance and military intelligence. The conduct of intelligence reconnaissance to the newly formed management was prohibited. This division of functions between the two intelligence services quickly proved ineffective. By order of the People's Commissariat of Defense of April 19, 1943, the Directorate of Military Intelligence of the General Staff was renamed the Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, and he was given the leadership of the agency work and sabotage activities in the occupied territory of the USSR. The GRU of the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense retained only the conduct of intelligence intelligence abroad.
In June 1945, the GRU of the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense and the General Staff of the General Staff were again merged into the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army.
After the end of the war, the CI-Information Committee (CI) appeared, in which the NKVD and the GRU were to work together under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But this experiment was considered unsuccessful, in 1948 the GRU took its former independent position, and the CI in 1951 simply became part of the NKVD. After 1945, the NKVD still prevailed over the army, and the outward sign of this was the elevation of NKVD chief Lavrenti Beria to the marshal and conferring high military ranks to the leadership of the NKVD. One of the signs of the strengthening of the NKVD in the first post-war decade was a sharp increase in its activity abroad, which surpassed the intelligence activity of the Soviet Army.
In September 1947, in connection with the reorganization of the intelligence services of the USSR, the GRU of the General Staff was abolished. Most of his functions and employees were transferred to the recently formed Information Committee, which combined military and political (Intelligence Service of the USSR MGB) intelligence service in one structure. To manage the military intelligence units left in the Armed Forces, a relatively small Intelligence and sabotage service was established.
In January 1949, in connection with the return of functions for the management of military intelligence, the Ministry of the Armed Forces of the USSR restored the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR.
On October 24, 1950, the Directive of the USSR Military Minister No. ORG / 2/395/832 with the signature "Secret" was signed. It initiated the creation of special purpose units (S & L) (deep reconnaissance or special-purpose reconnaissance) for operations in the enemy's deepest rear. In the autumn of the same year in all military districts, 46 separate mouths of the Spin were created for 120 people each. Later, parts of the Spn were created (on a brigade for each military district or fleet and a brigade of central subordination).
Groups of scouts were to appear in close proximity to the command posts and other strategic targets of the enemy armed forces. Their task was to: conduct reconnaissance and, if necessary, disrupt command and control, eliminate commanders of the army and political leaders of aggressor countries, destroy command posts, missile launchers, aircraft of strategic aviation, nuclear submarines, disrupt communications, power supply, destroy transport communications, spread panic and bring chaos to the military and state administration of aggressor countries. Units and units of the GRU Spin-Command played a huge role in the Afghan War, and then in operations in the territory of the Chechen Republic.
In 1992, the GRU of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR became a member of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
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