Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
GRU is the English transliteration of the Russian acronym ГРУ, which stands for "Гла́вное Разве́дывательное Управле́ние" (Glavnoe Razvedyvatel'noe Upravlenie), meaning Chief Intelligence Directorate. The GRU was created in 1918 by Lenin, and given the task of handling all military intelligence. It operated residencies all over the world, along with the SIGINT (signal intelligence) station, in Lourdes , Cuba, and throughout the former Soviet bloc countries, especially in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
The GRU was totally independent of most other power centers in the Soviet Union, most famously the CPSU and KGB. At the time of the GRU's creation, Lenin ordered the Cheka (predecessor of the KGB) not to interfere with the GRU's operations. The rivalry between the GRU and KGB was even more intense than the rivalry between the FBI and CIA.
The existence of the GRU was not publicized during the Soviet era. It became widely known in Russia, and the West outside the narrow confines of the intelligence community, during perestroika, in part thanks to the writings of "Viktor Suvorov" (Vladimir Rezun), a GRU agent who defected to Britain and wrote about his experiences in the Soviet military and intelligence services. According to Suvorov, even the Communist Party general secretary couldn't enter GRU headquarters without going through a security screening.
The GRU still remains to this day a very important part of the Russian Federation's intelligence services, especially since it was never split up like the KGB was.
In 2002, Bill Powell wrote Treason, an account of the experiences of former GRU colonel Vyacheslav Baranov. Baranov had been recruited by the CIA, but was betrayed by a mole in either the FBI or CIA and spent five years in prison before being released. The identity of the mole remains unknown to this day, though some speculation mounted that it could have been Robert Hanssen.
- GRU Info from FAS.org
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