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Glavonoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravlenye

The GU (Russian: ГУ) is the current Russian foreign Military Intelligence Service of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. It was established in 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, and is the successor to the GRU (Russian: ГРУ). Nevertheless it is still commonly known by its old name GRU. Until 2010, the Russian Special Forces were also part of the GU/GRU.

Unlike the other security and intelligence services, such as the FSB, the SVR and the FSO, the GRU does not report directly to the president. Instead, its Director is subordinate to the Russian Military Command, which means he reports to the minister of defence and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

The GRU is arguably Russia's largest foreign intelligence agency. According to unverified statements from GRU defector Stanislav Lunev, the GRU had six times as many agents (in 1997) as the SVR, the successor of the KGB's foreign operations directorate PGU KGB (Russian: ПГУ КГБ). In that year, the GRU/GU also commanded approx. 25,000 Spetsnaz Special Forces troops.

In 2010, the GRU was renamed GU (Russian: ГУ) and the Spetsnaz special forces were separated from the organisation.

Since then, various governments have tried to re-organise the GRU, but apparently to no avail. It is widely believed that the GRU is behind the capture of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent Russian intervention is eastern Ukraine. There is also strong evidence to suggest that the GRU was involved in shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MA17) on 17 July 2014, a civil airplane with 283 passengers and 15 crew. In the event, all 298 people aboard lost their lives [3]. Despite very strong evidence gathered by JIT and Belingcat investigators, Russia denies all allegations.

In September 2018, two GRU officers were charged by the UK for attempting to assassinate former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury (UK). Furthermore, in October 2018, both the Netherlands and the UK announced that in April of that year the Dutch Military Intelligence Service (MIVD) had caught four GRU officers red-handed whilst trying to mount a cyber attack against the OPCW headquarters in The Hague. As they were travelling on diplomatic passports, they could not be arrested, but were expelled from the country the next day [1].

GRU gadgets on this website
Tensor 4-piece spy radio set (USSR)
R-350 / Orel (Eagle)
R-350M / Orel (Eagle)
R-353 / Proton
R-394 K (Strizh-K) spy radio set
R-394 KM (Strizh-KM) spy radio set
R-394T (Strizh-T) spy radio set (agent version)
Minox-EC, used by The Red Colonel (Guy Binet) in Belgium
Sony ICF-2001D receiver that was used by some Soviet spies in the West
Embedded microphones used by the KGB, the GRU and the FSB
Kopchik aperiodic surveillance detection receiver
Radio Direction Finder for 121.5 MHz distress beacons
Yachta (Soviet clone of Nagra SNST)
 Overview of KGB and GRU cameras

Numbers Stations
One of the methods used by Russian intelligence services to send messages to agents and intelligence officers in foreign countries, is the so-called One-Way Voice Link (OWVL), also known as Numbers Stations: mysterious radio stations on the short wave radio band, that broadcast long strings of spoken numbers. Such stations were frequently spotted during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

The number strings represent coded messages that are generally encrypted by means of a One-Time Pad (OTP) cipher. Most Numbers Stations have disappered after the end of the Cold War, but some are still active today. Although most of them are operated by the SVR and the GRU, they are often (falsely) attributed to the FSB (and previously to its predecessor, the KGB). The following Russian Numbers Stations were still active from Russia in 2019:

  1. Wikipedia, Main Intelligence Directorate
    Retrieved October 2018.

  2. GU/GRU website
    Retrieved October 2018.

  3. Wikipedia, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
    Retrieved October 2018.
Further information
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 07 October 2018. Last changed: Sunday, 15 May 2022 - 20:13 CET.
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