Title: Inside Soviet Military Intelligence
Author: Viktor Suvorov
Suvorov, Viktor (1984). Inside Soviet Military Intelligence. New York: Macmillan
Date Updated: February 29, 2016
The Chief Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, also known as GRU, was the section of the KGB responsible for the international arena. Suvorov, a Soviet defector, was a member, and here he reveals the organization’s inner workings. Publishers Weekly noted that “readers will find here a thorough analysis of the structure of GRU, its recruiting, training and methods of planting agents in governmental, military and technological centers of the enemy.”
How is espionage structured and organized? The concept of a modern intelligence agency was created by the British, who developed a world-wide system. They had the largest pre-war organization in the world. Although MI5 and MI6 existed in a meager way, British diplomats did not like the Secret Service or MI6. Instead they provided cover in a host country by designating a “passport control officer,” attached to embassies, whose duties included:
- See all applications to enter the home country
- Costs for visas provided support for Passport Control Officers (PCO)
- Broadly provide cover for British intelligence
- Never act against the host country
- System broke down in the 1940s owing to the Germans knowing all PCOs in every country, and they had to be withdrawn
- SIS was isolated with only a handful of stations left (Helsinki, Stockholm, Bern – in neutral countries.)
The PCO in Germany didn’t work against Germany, but against the Soviets. The Paris PCO worked against the Germans and the Soviets.
This model followed by almost all countries. The Soviet Union used rezidentura from c 1917-1930. They were put in trade delegations since many countries did not recognize the USSR. The Soviets also had a parallel system known as Illegals (that they may still exist was covered in a New York Times story, June 10, 2010. A large group of Russian “sleepers” was identified in the U. S. and sent home), sent to a country via a third country to operate without any protection.
The British became worried about all eggs in one basket. It was clear the PCOs were known to the German Gestapo. Overnight, all British spies in German-related territory were eliminated or withdrawn. One was left in Helsinki, one in Bern, and one in Stockholm. The SIS office in Rome was closed and the nearest agency was in Istanbul, which became vital for the Balkans. What the British still had in Madrid, Lisbon, and Bern became vitally important.