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Organization of the Main Intelligence Administration (GRU)
Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie (GRU)

The GRU, which is subordinate to the General Staff, is organized into Directorates, Directions, and Sections, which are responsible for the proccurement and processing of intelligence, as well as for supporting activities.

First Deputy Director

The First Deputy Director of the GRU, a post held by a Colonel General, is responsible for all intelligence procurement operations, other than those peformed by other main directorates. In addition to a number of subordinate Directorates, four Directions report to the First Deputy Director:

Sixth Directorate

The Sixth Directorate, headed by a Lieutenant General, is responsible for electronic intelligence. This includes clandestine collection from embassies in foreign states, as well as Electronic Intelligence Regiments which are directly subordinated to the Sixth Directorate, which also controls the activities of electronic intelligence assets which are organic to land, sea and air combatant forces.

Cosmic Intelligence Directorate

The Cosmic Intelligence Directorate is responsible for space-based intelligence collection. It includes activities at launch sites, a variety of research institutes, and a central coordinating facility.

Fleet Intelligence

The Chief of Fleet Intelligence, an office held by a Vice Admiral, is a Deputy of the GRU Director, although operational tasking and coordination is conducted through the Fifth Directorate. Fleet Intelligence consists of five Directorates:

Chief of Information

The Chief of Information, a Colonel General, is responsible for the Information Service, responsible for intelligence processing.

Political Section Deputy Director

The Political Department is responsible for personnel security and reliability.

Deputy Director for Personnel

The Personnel Directorate is responsible for the recruitment, training and professional development of GRU staff.

Administrative/Technical Directorate

The Administrative/Technical Directorate is responsible for financial management, including foreign currencies and other valuable items of use in international operations.

Financial Directorate

The Financial Directorate is responsible for domestic financial management, excluding foreign operations.

Operational Technical Directorate

The Operational Technical Directorate, headed by a Lieutenant General, is responsible for the development of intelligence collection systems. Work is conducted at several scientific institutes and enterprises.

First GRU Deparment

The First GRU Deparment is responsible for all aspects of replicating foreign identity documentation to support clandestine GRU operations, such as forging passsports.

Eight GRU Department

The Eight Department is responsible for the security of internal GRU communications.

Archives Department

The Archives Department maintains the records of the GRU, including files on personnel, as well as foreign assets and targets.


The staff of each military district, group of forces and fleet also includes an intelligence directorate [Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie RU], which is subordinated to the GRU. In turn, lower echelons, such as an Army or Flotilla are also supported by an Intelligence Department [RO]. Within ground forces armies, each division includes a reconnaissance battalion, which includes scout and electronic intelligence elements.

The GRU does not have any special-purpose large units, units, or subunits that are directly under the jurisdiction of the GRU. They are all part of the military districts and the fleets, and in operational terms are subordinate to the relevant commanders. During the Soviet period, the basic operational spetsnaz unit was the brigada or brigade. Virtually every military district (MD) was assigned one spetsnaz brigade of 900 to 2,000 spetsnazovtsi. Each brigada includes a brigade headquarters, a signal battalion, support units and battalions (otriadi) of variable composition, ranging from fewer than 200 to over 200 soldiers.

As of mid-1992, GRU special-operations groups remained trained to operate in 3-7 man groups for intelligence-gathering and directaction missions in enemy rear areas. They likely are assigned missions in interethnic conflict areas, as well. Their prominent role in the new Russian mobile force components now being planned (comprising largely airborne, naval infantry, air assault and transport aviation) seems assured.

Sources and Resources

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Updated Wednesday, November 26, 1997 5:56:23 PM