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This is the Russian intelligence service GRU

This is the Russian intelligence service GRU

GRU, like most intelligence services, has always kept a low profile. But its alleged involvement in the attack on Sergei Skripal and the US elections attests to the scope of its activities.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, supported by the United States, Canada, Germany and France, said that the two Russian nationals believed to be behind the major nerve agent attack were likely working for Russian military intelligence. Russia denies these accusations.

12 people were charged with trying to influence the US election. They are all mentioned GRU members. The GRU has been described as a “troll factory” in connection with the incident.

The public got a rare glimpse of the GRU headquarters when Vladimir Putin visited in 2006. picture: Dmitry Astakhov/TT

long history

The intelligence service was actually created in 1918 after the Russian Revolution. Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin was keen to keep him separate from other Russian intelligence services, which viewed him as a competitor.

Russia's two most famous intelligence services, the KGB and SVR, were also formed during the Soviet Union.

In 2010, Russian intelligence changed its name from GRU to GU, but despite this, the GRU is used more often both outside and inside Russia.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russian military intelligence continued its activity in the former Soviet states. Recently, two people were arrested in Estonia, one of whom works for the Estonian intelligence service, on suspicion of leaking information to Russian military intelligence.

And not only in the countries of the former Soviet Union there are agents. The GRU is active around the world, and also has special forces that have been involved in many conflicts.

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Known worldwide

In March 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on 13 Russian citizens who were said to be close to President Vladimir Putin. One of them was Igor Koperov, the last known leader of the GRU, who is still believed to be at the head of the organization.

The European Union imposed sanctions on another senior Russian military intelligence official, Valery Gerasimov, after Russia's annexation of Crimea.

When MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in 2014, a GRU officer was identified as one of those responsible. The same officer was also reported to have served as Minister of Defense of South Ossetia, under a pseudonym.