Intelligence at all times was a matter of national importance, it has been since the times of Kievan Rus. At that time, ambassadors, merchants, messengers, as well as residents of the border areas of the state were involved in collecting information. No wonder the profession of intelligence is called one of the oldest on earth. Later in the year 1654, already under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, the Order of Secret Affairs was created, which was the prototype of the intelligence directorate of those years. In the military charter 1716 of the year, Peter I summed up the legal and legislative framework for intelligence work. Later in January, 1810, already in the reign of Emperor Alexander I, on the initiative of the Minister of War, Barclay de Tolly, formed the so-called secret affairs expedition under the war ministry in Russia; in January, 1812, it was renamed Special Office under the Minister of War.
The formed Special Chancellery solved important tasks: conducting strategic intelligence (collecting strategically important secret information abroad), operational tactical intelligence (collecting information about the enemy’s forces at the country's borders) and counterintelligence (identifying and subsequently neutralizing foreign agents). This office became the first central body of the Military Ministry of the Russian Empire, which would be engaged in the organization of intelligence of the armed forces of foreign powers.
November 5 date to celebrate the Day of the military intelligence officer was not chosen by chance. This day is considered to be the birthday of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces. On this day in 1918, in Petrograd, a Registration Directorate was created within the Field Headquarters of the Red Army in Petrograd to coordinate the efforts of all the intelligence agencies of the army. In order to train personnel for the new administration in Moscow, reconnaissance and military control courses were opened, at which 13 various disciplines were taught, including tactics, geography, topography, artillery, intelligence, counterintelligence, and others. Later the educational program introduced elementary learning of foreign languages (English, German, French, Swedish, Finnish and Japanese).
The first to head the Registration Directorate was Simon Aralov, a Bolshevik from among the intelligence veterans of the Russian army during the First World War. It was Registerrupr who became the prototype of the military intelligence directorate today - the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. Today, the GRU is an important component of the strengthening of the Russian state. This structure combines all currently known types of intelligence - strategic, technical, economic, space, undercover (including illegal), as well as military, also known as GRU special forces.
Since April, 1921, the Registrar transformed into the Intelligence Agency (Intelligence Agency) of the Red Army headquarters. At the same time he became the central body of military intelligence in both peacetime and wartime. Beginning with 1926, the Intelligence Agency was renamed the IV Directorate of the Headquarters of the Red Army. One of the most famous intelligence officers who had to do with the Red Army Intelligence Agency (transferred to work in November 1929) was the famous Soviet intelligence officer Richard Sorge.
Since the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the main activity of intelligence has been to ensure the combat operations of the troops and the operations conducted by the Red Army. The preparation and conduct of all strategic, front-line and army operations during the war years was based on data obtained through operational and strategic intelligence. During the war years, the work of intelligence officers, who selflessly acted behind the front lines in territories temporarily occupied by the enemy, as well as in other states, differed in effectiveness and great scope. Starting from the first days of the Great Patriotic War, reconnaissance, sabotage and reconnaissance groups were deployed to the enemy rear, on the basis of which large partisan detachments were often later formed and deployed, a reserve reconnaissance network was created in the territories temporarily left to the enemy forces.
So only in the first 6 months of the Great Patriotic War, about 10 thousands of people were thrown into the enemy rear, including a huge number of trained intelligence officers with radio equipment. Also during the war years, the Smersh General Counterintelligence Directorate was created (short for Death to the Spies!). This administration was engaged in the fight against espionage and sabotage of the enemy, the fight against desertion and betrayal in the ranks of the Red Army.
In February 1942, the Intelligence Agency was reorganized into the Main Intelligence Agency (GRU). In October of the same year, it was separated from the General Staff and reassigned directly to the People's Commissar of Defense of the Soviet Union. The task of the GRU was to conduct agent intelligence of the enemy's armies abroad of the USSR, as well as in the territories temporarily occupied by the enemy. In April 1943, along with the already existing GRU, a new intelligence department of the General Staff of the Red Army was formed, whose task was to guide the intelligence and military intelligence of the fronts, as well as regularly informing about the intentions and actions of the enemy, as well as conducting disinformation operations. After the end of the war, they were merged into the GRU of the General Staff, which since 1947 was called the Second Main Directorate of the Information Committee at the Council of Ministers of the USSR, and from 1949, the GRU of the General Staff of the Armed Forces again became. During the war years, the military traditions of modern military intelligence were laid down, a large number of highly skilled intelligence officers were trained, who managed to accumulate and then, in the post-war years, successfully use rich combat experience.
Over the years that have passed after the war, the role of military intelligence has not only not decreased, on the contrary, it has increased many times over. Nowadays, it is the most important component of state strengthening. Military intelligence is an element of the national security system of the Russian Federation; it extracts, processes, summarizes and analyzes information coming through various channels about the military-political situation around our country, predicts its development, and also timely reports to the command of the Armed Forces and the leadership of Russia about real and potential threats to national security and the sovereignty of our state.
Today, military intelligence includes all local and regional armed conflicts, foreign armed forces, their weapons and military equipment, the equipment of possible theaters of war, as well as the economic component, especially industrial enterprises working in the interests of the armed forces. To solve the tasks assigned to it, military intelligence has both operational and various technical units, as well as information-analytical and support structures. All of them receive only the most modern technical means of conducting reconnaissance, which are created on the basis of the latest achievements in the field of telecommunication, information and space technologies.
At the same time, one should never forget that a military intelligence officer is a very difficult and dangerous profession. In our country, for courage and heroism, which were shown in the performance of special tasks to ensure national security, more than 700 military intelligence officers were awarded the highest title of Hero of the Soviet Union and Hero of the Russian Federation. In the 21st century, representatives of this heroic military profession are still at the forefront of protecting our country, solving a wide range of tasks. At present, military intelligence is structurally related to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and is rightfully considered the “eyes and ears” of the armed forces of our country, their main means for obtaining important military, economic and political information.
On this festive day, the “Military Review” team congratulates all those who had or are directly involved in Russia's military intelligence. Especially veterans of military intelligence, participants of the Great Patriotic War. The security of the existence of our state depends on your professional and dedicated work.
Based on materials from open sources