Foreign Intelligence Service (Russia)

Foreign Intelligence Service (Russia)

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The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service ( or SVR) is Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

's primary external intelligence agency
Intelligence agency
An intelligence agency is a governmental agency that is devoted to information gathering for purposes of national security and defence. Means of information gathering may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public...

. The SVR is the successor of the First Chief Directorate
First Chief Directorate
The First Chief Directorate , of the Committee for State Security , was the organization responsible for foreign operations and intelligence collection activities by the training and management of the covert agents, intelligence collection management, and the collection of political, scientific and...

 (PGU) of the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 since December 1991. The headquarters of SVR are in the Yasenevo District
Yasenevo District
Yasenevo District is an administrative district of South-Western Administrative Okrug, and one of the 125 raions of Moscow, Russia....

 of Moscow .

Unlike the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the SVR is responsible for intelligence and espionage activities outside the Russian Federation. It works in cooperation with the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate
GRU
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), which reportedly deployed six times as many spies in foreign countries as the SVR in 1997. The SVR is also authorized to negotiate anti-terrorist cooperation and intelligence-sharing arrangements with foreign intelligence agencies, and provides analysis and dissemination of intelligence to the Russian president.

History



SVR is the official foreign-operations successor to many prior Soviet-era foreign intelligence agencies, ranging from the original 'foreign department' of the Cheka
Cheka
Cheka was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by aristocrat-turned-communist Felix Dzerzhinsky...

 under Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

, to the OGPU and NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 of the Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

ist era, followed by the First Chief Directorate of the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

.

Officially, the SVR dates its own beginnings to the founding of the Special Section of the Cheka on 20 December 1920. The head of the Cheka, Felix Dzerzhinsky, created the Foreign Department (Inostranny Otdel – INO) to improve the collection as well as the dissemination of foreign intelligence. On 6 February 1922, the Foreign Department of the Cheka became part of a renamed organization, the State Political Directorate, or GPU. The Foreign Department was placed in charge of intelligence activities overseas, including collection of important intelligence from foreign countries and the liquidation of defectors, emigres, and other assorted 'enemies of the people'. In 1922, after the creation of the State Political Directorate (GPU) and its merger with the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs of the RSFSR, foreign intelligence was conducted by the GPU Foreign Department, and between December 1923 and July 1934 by the Foreign Department of Joint State Political Administration or OGPU. In July 1934, the OGPU was reincorporated into the NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

. In 1954, the NKVD in turn became the KGB, which in 1991 became the SVR.

In 1996, the SVR issued a CD-ROM entitled Russian Foreign Intelligence: VChK–KGB–SVR, which claims to provide "a professional view on the history and development of one of the most powerful secret services in the world" where all these services are presented as a single evolving organization.

Former SVR chief Sergei Lebedev
Sergei Lebedev
General of the Army Sergei Nikolaevich Lebedev is a Russian political figure who has been the Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States since 2007. He was Director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service from 2000 to 2007....

 stated “there has not been any place on the planet where a KGB officer has not been.” During their 80th anniversary celebration, Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 went to SVR headquarters to meet with other former KGB/SVR chiefs Vladimir Kryuchkov
Vladimir Kryuchkov
Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov was a former Soviet politician and Communist Party member, having been in the organization from 1944 until he was dismissed in 1991...

, Leonid Shebarshin
Leonid Shebarshin
Leonid Vladimirovich Shebarshin became head of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB in January 1989, when the former FCD chief, Vladimir Kryuchkov, was promoted to KGB chief...

, Yevgeny Primakov
Yevgeny Primakov
Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov is a Russian politician and diplomat. During his long career, he served as the Russian Foreign Minister, Prime Minister of Russia, Speaker of the Soviet of the Union of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, and chief of intelligence service...

 and Vyacheslav Trubnikov
Vyacheslav Trubnikov
Vyacheslav Ivanovich Trubnikov is a Russian journalist, political scientist, spy and a diplomat. He has worked as the Director of Foreign Intelligence Service and currently is a First Deputy of Foreign Minister of Russia....

, as well as other famous agents, including the British double agent and ex-Soviet spy George Blake
George Blake
George Blake is a former British spy known for having been a double agent in the service of the Soviet Union. Discovered in 1961 and sentenced to 42 years in prison, he escaped from Wormwood Scrubs prison in 1966 and fled to the USSR...

.

Legal authority


The "Law on Foreign Intelligence" was written by SVR leadership itself and adopted in August 1992. This Law provided conditions for "penetration by chekists of all levels of the government and economy", since it stipulated that "career personnel may occupy positions in ministries, departments, establishments, enterprises and organizations in accordance with the requirements of this law without compromising their association with foreign intelligence agencies."

A new "Law on Foreign Intelligence Organs" was passed by the State Duma
State Duma
The State Duma , common abbreviation: Госду́ма ) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to...

 and the Federation Council
Federation Council of Russia
Federation Council of Russia ) is the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , according to the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation...

 in late 1995 and signed into effect by then-President Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

 on 10 January 1996. The law authorizes the SVR to carry out the following:
  1. Conduct intelligence;
  2. Implement active measures
    Active measures
    Active Measures were a form of political warfare conducted by the Soviet security services to influence the course of world events, "in addition to collecting intelligence and producing politically correct assessment of it". Active measures ranged "from media manipulations to special actions...

     to ensure Russia's security;
  3. Conduct military, strategic, economic, scientific and technological espionage;
  4. Protect employees of Russian institutions overseas and their families;
  5. Provide personal security for Russian government officials and their families;
  6. Conduct joint operations with foreign security services;
  7. Conduct electronic surveillance in foreign countries.


The Russian Federation President (currently Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the third President of the Russian Federation.Born to a family of academics, Medvedev graduated from the Law Department of Leningrad State University in 1987. He defended his dissertation in 1990 and worked as a docent at his alma mater, now renamed to Saint...

) can personally issue any secret orders for the SVR, without asking the houses of the Federal Assembly
Federal Assembly of Russia
The Federal Assembly of Russia is the legislature of the Russian Federation, according to the Constitution of Russian Federation, 1993...

: State Duma
State Duma
The State Duma , common abbreviation: Госду́ма ) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to...

 and Federation Council
Federation Council of Russia
Federation Council of Russia ) is the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , according to the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation...

.

Command structure


Mikhail Fradkov
Mikhail Fradkov
Mikhail Yefimovich Fradkov is a Russian politician and statesman who was the Prime Minister of Russia from March 2004 to September 2007. Fradkov has been the head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service since 2007.-Early life:...

 is the current SVR Director. The SVR Director is appointed by and reports directly to the President of Russia. The Director provides briefings to the President every Monday and on other occasions as necessary. The Director is also a member of the Security Council of Russia
Security Council of Russia
The Security Council of the Russian Federation is a consultative body of the Russian President that works out the President's decisions on national security affairs...

 and the Defense Council (svr.gov.ru).

According to published sources, the SVR included the following directorates in 1990s:
  • Directorate PR – Political Intelligence: Included seventeen departments, each responsible for different countries of the world (espionage in the USA, Canada, Latin America, etc.)
  • Directorate S – Illegal Intelligence: Included thirteen departments responsible for preparing and planting "illegal agents" abroad, conducting terror operations and sabotage in foreign countries, "biological espionage", recruitment of foreign citizens on the Russian territory and other duties.
  • Directorate X – Scientific and Technical Intelligence
  • Directorate KR – External Counter-Intelligence: This Directorate "carries out infiltration of foreign intelligence and security services and exercises surveillance over Russian citizens abroad."
  • Directorate OT – Operational and Technical Support
  • Directorate R – Operational Planning and Analysis: Evaluates SVR operations abroad.
  • Directorate I – Computer Service (Information and Dissemination): Analyzes and distributes intelligence data and publishes a daily current events summaries for the President.
  • Directorate of Economic Intelligence


According to the SVR web site http://svr.gov.ru, the organization currently consists of a Director, a First Deputy Director (who oversees the directions for Foreign Counterintelligence and Economic Intelligence) and the following departments:
  • Personnel;
  • Operations;
  • Analysis & Information (formerly Intelligence Institute);
  • Science;
  • Operational Logistics & Support.


Each Directorate is headed by a Deputy Director who reports to the SVR Director. The Red Banner Intelligence Academy has been renamed the Academy of Foreign Intelligence (ABP are its Russian initials) and is housed in the Science Directorate.

Within the Operations Department of Directorate S, there is the elite Special Operations (Spetsnaz
Spetsnaz
Spetsnaz, Specnaz tr: Voyska specialnogo naznacheniya; ) is an umbrella term for any special forces in Russian, literally "force of special purpose"...

) Group called Zaslon. However, mere existence of such group within SVR is denied by Russian authorities. Nevertheless, there were some rumors that such group does indeed exist and is assigned to execute very special operations abroad primarily for protection of Russian embassy personnel and internal investigations. It is believed that the group is deep undercover and consists of approximately 500 highly experienced operatives speaking several languages and having extensive record of operations while serving in other secret units of the Russian military.

Involvement in Russian foreign policy


During Yeltsin presidency, SVR fought with Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is the central government institution charged with leading the foreign affairs of Russia. Its predecessor organisation is the Ministry of External Relations of the USSR...

 for directing Russian foreign policy. SVR director Yevgeni Primakov upstaged the foreign ministry by publishing warnings to the West not to interfere the unification of Russia with other former Soviet republics and attacking the NATO extension as a threat to Russian security, whereas foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev
Andrey Kozyrev
Andrey Vladimirovich Kozyrev was the foreign minister of Russia under President Boris Yeltsin from October 1991 until his dismissal in January 1996. The son of a Soviet diplomat, he was born in Brussels, Belgium. Andrey Kozyrev graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations...

 was telling different things. The rivalry ended in decisive victory for the SVR, when Primakov replaced Kozyrev in January 1996 and brought with him a number of SVR officers to the foreign ministry of Russia.

In September 1999, Yeltsin admitted that the SVR plays a greater role in the Russian foreign policy than the Foreign Ministry. It was reported that SVR defined Russian position on the transfer of nuclear technologies to Iran
Nuclear program of Iran
The nuclear program of Iran was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program. The support, encouragement and participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran's nuclear program continued until the 1979 Iranian Revolution...

, NATO expansion, and modification of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was a treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union on the limitation of the anti-ballistic missile systems used in defending areas against missile-delivered nuclear weapons....

. SVR also tried to justify annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union in World War II using selectively declassified documents.

SVR sends to the Russian president daily digests of intelligence, similar to the President's Daily Brief
President's Daily Brief
The President's Daily Brief , sometimes incorrectly referred to as the President's Daily Briefing or the President's Daily Bulletin, is a top-secret document produced each morning for the President of the United States...

 produced by the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 in the US. However, unlike the CIA, the SVR recommends to the president which policy options are preferable.

Front organizations


According to Yuri Shvets
Yuri Shvets
Yuri B. Shvets was a Major in the KGB during the years 1980-1990. From April 1985 to 1987 he worked in the Washington Rezidentura of the KGB....

, a former KGB agent “In the days of the Soviet Union, the number of spies was limited because they had to be based at the foreign ministry, the trade mission or the news agencies like Tass. Right now, virtually every successful private company in Russia is being used as a cover for Russian intelligence operations.” For example, close connections of SVR with Russian gas company Gazprom
Gazprom
Open Joint Stock Company Gazprom is the largest extractor of natural gas in the world and the largest Russian company. Its headquarters are in Cheryomushki District, South-Western Administrative Okrug, Moscow...

 and oil company LUKoil
LUKoil
Lukoil/LUKoil ; ) is Russia's second largest oil company and its second largest producer of oil. In 2009, the company produced 97.615 million tons of oil; ....

 have been reported.

Although every Russian company abroad may be a front organization
Front organization
A front organization is any entity set up by and controlled by another organization, such as intelligence agencies, organized crime groups, banned organizations, religious or political groups, advocacy groups, or corporations...

 of SVR or GRU (and in fact some of them have been organized by SVR), the most famous of them is Russian airline Aeroflot
Aeroflot
OJSC AeroflotRussian Airlines , commonly known as Aeroflot , is the flag carrier and largest airline of the Russian Federation, based on passengers carried per year...

. In the past, this company conducted forceful "evacuations" of Soviet citizens from foreign countries back to the USSR. People whose loyalty was questioned were drugged and delivered unconscious by Aeroflot planes, assisted by the company KGB personnel, according to former GRU officer Victor Suvorov. In 1980s and 1990s, specimens of deadly bacteria and viruses stolen from Western laboratories were delivered by Aeroflot to support Russian program of biological weapons
Soviet program of biological weapons
The Soviet Union began a biological weapons program in the 1920s despite the fact that the USSR was a signatory to the 1925 Geneva Convention, which banned both chemical and biological weapons...

. This meant "delivering the material via an international flight of the Aeroflot airline in the pilots' cabin, where one of the pilots was a KGB officer". At least two SVR agents died, presumably from the transported pathogens.

When businessman Nikolai Glushkov
Nikolai Glushkov
Nikolay Glushkov is a former Deputy Director-General of Aeroflot and a former Finance Manager of AvtoVAZ.Glushkov had been AvtoVAZ's Finance Chief until he left his job in autumn 1995 and was appointed as Deputy General Director of Aeroflot on request from Yevgeny Shaposhnikov in February...

 was appointed as a top manager of Aeroflot in 1996, he found that the airline company worked as a "cash cow to support international spying operations": 3,000 people out of the total workforce of 14,000 in Aeroflot were FSB
FSB (Russia)
The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation is the main domestic security agency of the Russian Federation and the main successor agency of the Soviet Committee of State Security . Its main responsibilities are counter-intelligence, internal and border security, counter-terrorism, and...

, SVR, or GRU officers. All proceeds from ticket sales were distributed to 352 foreign bank accounts that could not be controlled by the Aeroflot administration. Glushkov closed all these accounts and channeled the money to an accounting center called Andava in Switzerland. He also sent a bill and wrote a letter to SVR director Yevgeni Primakov and FSB director Mikhail Barsukov
Mikhail Barsukov
Mikhail Ivanovich Barsukov is a former Russian intelligence and government official...

 asking them to pay salaries of their intelligence officers in Aeroflot in 1996. Glushkov has been imprisoned since 2000 on charges of illegally channeling money through Andava. Since 2004 the company is controlled by Viktor Ivanov, a high-ranking FSB official who is a close associate of Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

.

Espionage


According to former GRU Colonel Stanislav Lunev
Stanislav Lunev
Stanislav Lunev is a former Soviet military officer, the highest-ranking GRU officer to defect from Russia to the United States.He was born in the family of a Soviet Army officer...

, "SVR and GRU (Russia's political and military intelligence agencies, respectively) are operating against the U.S. in a much more active manner than they were during even the hottest days of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.". From the end of 1980s, KGB and later SVR began to create "a second echelon" of "auxiliary agents in addition to our main weapons, illegals and special agents", according to former SVR officer Kouzminov. These agents are legal immigrants, including scientists and other professionals. Another SVR officer who defected to Britain in 1996 described details about thousand Russian agents and intelligence officers, some of them "illegals" who live under deep cover abroad. Recently caught Russian high-profile agents in US are Aldrich Hazen Ames, Harold James Nicholson
Harold James Nicholson
For the English diplomat, author, diarist and politician, see Harold Nicolson.Harold James Nicholson is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and a twice-convicted spy for Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service...

, Earl Edwin Pitts
Earl Edwin Pitts
Earl Edwin Pitts is a former FBI special agent who, in 1996, was arrested at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Pitts was charged with several offenses, including spying for the Soviet Union and Russia...

, Robert Philip Hanssen and George Trofimoff
George Trofimoff
George Trofimoff was the highest ranking US military officer ever charged with, and convicted of, espionage by the United States. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on September 27, 2001.- Background :...

.

Cooperation with foreign intelligence services


An agreement on intelligence cooperation between Russia and China was signed in 1992. This secret treaty covers cooperation of the GRU and the SVR with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

’s Military Intelligence Directorate. It was reported that SVR trained Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i spies during collaboration of Russia with Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

. The SVR also has cooperation agreements with the secret police
Secret police
Secret police are a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime....

 services of certain former Soviet republics, such as Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 and Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

.

Assassinations abroad


"In the Soviet era, the SVR – then part of the KGB – handled covert political assassinations abroad". These activities reportedly continue. Igor the Assassin
Igor the Assassin
Igor the Assassin is an SVR and former KGB officer who allegedly killed Alexander Litvinenko and escaped back to Russia. According to one version of the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning, the official suspect of the murder, Andrei Lugovoi, only distracted the attention of Litvinenko, while "Igor the...

, who is believed to have been the actual poisoner of Alexander Litvinenko
Alexander Litvinenko
Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko was an officer who served in the Soviet KGB and its Russian successor, the Federal Security Service ....

 in 2006 was allegedly an SVR officer. However SVR denied its involvement in the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko. An SVR spokesperson said about Litvinenko: "May God give him health."

It was reported that in September 2003, an SVR agent in London was making preparations to assassinate Boris Berezovsky with a binary weapon, and that is why Berezovsky had been granted a speedy asylum in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. GRU officers who killed Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev
Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev
Zelimkhan Abdumuslimovich Yandarbiyev was a Chechen writer and a politician, who served as acting president of the breakaway Chechen Republic of Ichkeria between 1996 and 1997...

 in Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 in 2004 reportedly claimed that supporting SVR agents let them down by not evacuating them in time, so they have been arrested by Qatar authorities.

Recruitment


SVR actively recruits Russian citizens who live in foreign countries.
"Once the SVR officer targets a Russian émigré for recruitment, they approach them, usually at their place of residence and make an effort to reach an understanding," said former FSB officer Aleksander Litvinenko. "If he or she refuses, the intelligence officer then threatens the would-be recruit with legal prosecution in Russia, and if the person continues to refuse, the charges are fabricated". It was reported that SVR prey on successful Russian businessmen abroad.

These claims have not been confirmed by the official SVR website, which states that only Russian citizens without dual citizenship can become SVR agents.

Today, Russian intelligence can no longer recruit people on the basis of Communist ideals, which was the "first pillar" of KGB recruitment, said analyst Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy
Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy
Konstantin Georgiyevich Preobrazhenskiy is a former KGB officer, an intelligence expert and the author of several books and numerous articles about Russian secret police organizations....

. "The second pillar of recruitment is a love for Russia. In the West, only Russian immigrants have feelings of filial obedience toward Russia. That’s precisely why [the SVR] works with them so often. A special division was created just for this purpose. It regularly holds Russian immigrant conferences, which Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 is fond of attending."

Notable Russian intelligence agents

  • February 1994 – Aldrich Hazen Ames was charged with providing highly classified information
    Classified information
    Classified information is sensitive information to which access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of persons. A formal security clearance is required to handle classified documents or access classified data. The clearance process requires a satisfactory background investigation...

     since 1985 to the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     and then Russia. The information he passed led to the execution of at least 9 United States agents in Russia. In April, he and his wife pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit espionage and to evading taxes. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

  • November 1996 – Harold James Nicholson
    Harold James Nicholson
    For the English diplomat, author, diarist and politician, see Harold Nicolson.Harold James Nicholson is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and a twice-convicted spy for Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service...

     was arrested while attempting to take Top Secret
    Classified information
    Classified information is sensitive information to which access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of persons. A formal security clearance is required to handle classified documents or access classified data. The clearance process requires a satisfactory background investigation...

     documents out of the country. He began spying for Russia in 1994. He was a senior-ranking Central Intelligence Agency
    Central Intelligence Agency
    The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

     officer. In 1997, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than 23 years in prison.

  • December 1996 – Earl Edwin Pitts
    Earl Edwin Pitts
    Earl Edwin Pitts is a former FBI special agent who, in 1996, was arrested at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Pitts was charged with several offenses, including spying for the Soviet Union and Russia...

     was charged with providing Top Secret
    Classified information
    Classified information is sensitive information to which access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of persons. A formal security clearance is required to handle classified documents or access classified data. The clearance process requires a satisfactory background investigation...

     documents to the Soviet Union and then Russia from 1987 until 1992. In 1997, he pleaded guilty to two counts of espionage and was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

  • June 2000 – George Trofimoff
    George Trofimoff
    George Trofimoff was the highest ranking US military officer ever charged with, and convicted of, espionage by the United States. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on September 27, 2001.- Background :...

    , a naturalized citizen of Russian parents, was arrested for spying for the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     and Russia since about 1969. Having retired as a colonel in the United States Army Reserve
    United States Army Reserve
    The United States Army Reserve is the federal reserve force of the United States Army. Together, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard constitute the reserve components of the United States Army....

    , he was the highest ranking military officer ever accused of spying. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

  • October 2000 – Sergei Tretyakov
    Sergei Tretyakov (intelligence officer)
    Colonel Sergei Tretyakov was a Russian SVR officer who defected to the United States in October 2000.-Biography:...

    , an SVR officer working undercover at the Russian UN mission defected to the United States with his family.

  • February 2001 – Robert Philip Hanssen was arrested for spying for the Soviet Union and Russia for more than 15 years of his 27 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

    . He passed thousands of pages of classified documents on nuclear war defenses and Sensitive Compartmented Information
    Sensitive Compartmented Information
    Sensitive compartmented information is a type of United States classified information concerning or derived from sensitive intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes. All SCI must be handled within formal access control systems established by the Director of National Intelligence...

     and exposed three Russian agents of the United States, two of whom were tried and executed. He pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison.

  • June 2010 – With the breakup of known parts of the Illegals Program
    Illegals Program
    The Illegals Program, as it was called by the United States Department of Justice, was a network of Russian sleeper agents under non-official cover whose investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation culminated in the arrest of ten agents and a prisoner swap between Russia and the United...

    , 10 individuals who allegedly carried on deep-cover espionage activities were arrested by FBI, and an eleventh was arrested while attempting to transit through Cyprus. These individuals were purportedly working for the SVR on long term covert assignments in penetrating policy making circles in the United States government. An agent going by the name of Christopher Metsos is still being sought by the authorities; the agents arrested on 28 June 2010 include Mikhail Semenko, Vladimir Guryev, Lidiya Guryev, Andrey Bezrukov, Yelena Vavilova, Mikhail Kutsik, Nataliya Pereverzeva, Mikhail Anatolyevich Vasenkov, Vicky Pelaez, and Anna Chapman
    Anna Chapman
    Anna Vasil’yevna Chapman is a Russian national, who was living in New York, United States when she was arrested along with nine others on 27 June 2010, on suspicion of working for the Illegals Program spy ring under the Russian Federation's external intelligence agency, the SVR...

    . A twelveth man, Alexey Karetnikov, was deported later. They were revealed by SVR defector Deputy Head of illegal spies, colonel Alexander Poteyev (Александр Потеев).

Directors

  • Yevgeni Primakov (December 1991–1996)
  • Vyacheslav Trubnikov
    Vyacheslav Trubnikov
    Vyacheslav Ivanovich Trubnikov is a Russian journalist, political scientist, spy and a diplomat. He has worked as the Director of Foreign Intelligence Service and currently is a First Deputy of Foreign Minister of Russia....

     (1996–2000)
  • Sergei Lebedev
    Sergei Lebedev
    General of the Army Sergei Nikolaevich Lebedev is a Russian political figure who has been the Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States since 2007. He was Director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service from 2000 to 2007....

     (20 May 2000 – 6 October 2007)
  • Mikhail Fradkov
    Mikhail Fradkov
    Mikhail Yefimovich Fradkov is a Russian politician and statesman who was the Prime Minister of Russia from March 2004 to September 2007. Fradkov has been the head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service since 2007.-Early life:...

     (since 6 October 2007)

See also

  • Aldrich Ames
    Aldrich Ames
    Aldrich Hazen Ames is a former Central Intelligence Agency counter-intelligence officer and analyst, who, in 1994, was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia...

  • Robert Hanssen
    Robert Hanssen
    Robert Philip Hanssen is a former American FBI agent who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States for 22 years from 1979 to 2001...

  • United States government security breaches
    United States government security breaches
    This page is a timeline of published security lapses in the United States government. These lapses are frequently referenced in congressional and non-governmental oversight...

  • FSB
  • GRU
    GRU
    GRU or Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye is the foreign military intelligence directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation...

  • Federal Protective Service
    Federal Protective Service (Russia)
    In the Russian Federation, the Federal Protective Service is a federal government agency concerned with the tasks related to the protection of several, mandated by the relevant law, high-ranking state officials, including the President of Russia, as well as certain federal properties...

  • FAPSI
    FAPSI
    FAPSI or Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information was a Russian government agency, which was responsible for signal intelligence and security of governmental communications...

  • First Chief Directorate
    First Chief Directorate
    The First Chief Directorate , of the Committee for State Security , was the organization responsible for foreign operations and intelligence collection activities by the training and management of the covert agents, intelligence collection management, and the collection of political, scientific and...

  • Ninth Chief Directorate
    Ninth Chief Directorate
    The Ninth Chief Directorate of the KGB was the organization responsible for providing bodyguard services to the principal Communist Party of the Soviet Union leaders and major Soviet government facilities...

  • KGB
    KGB
    The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...


External links