Foreign Intelligence Service (Russia)

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Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki (Служба внешней разведки) (SVR) is Russian for "Foreign Intelligence Service" and is the name of Russia's primary external intelligence agency.

The SVR evolved from the KGB after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In October of 1991, the Centralnaya Sluzhbza Razvedki (or CSR, the Central Intelligence Service) took over the intelligence gathering and analysis duties of the KGB's First Chief Directorate. In December of that year, the former chief of the KGB First Chief Directorate, Yevgeni Primakov, was appointed head of the organization, which was then renamed SVR. The SVR was officially established on 18 December 1991 amidst the chaos occurring as the U.S.S.R. was collapsing and facing geopolitical decentralization.

The SVR performs intelligence gathering operations abroad and also enters into anti-terrorist cooperation and intelligence-sharing arrangements with foreign intelligence agencies. The SVR also conducts counterproliferation operations, environmental intelligence gathering, and special counternarcotics intelligence operations. The service also provides analysis and dissemination of intelligence to Russian Federation policymakers. Unlike the FSB, which is an investigative-enforcement organization, the SVR is an intelligence organization and does not operate as a law enforcement agency.


[edit] SVR Legal Authority

The Constitutional basis for the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) can be found in Articles 71, 72, 76 and 80 of the Russian Federation's Constitution. The power of the Russian Federation President to exercise executive direction and control of the SVR is based on Articles 80, 83, 86, 87, and 90 of the Russian Constitution.

The Russian Federation's "Law on Foreign Intelligence Organs" was passed by the Duma and the Federation Council in late 1995 and signed into effect by then-President Boris Yeltsin on 10 January 1996. The law authorizes the SVR to carry out the following missions:

(1) Acquire, process and analyze information vital to the Russian Federation's interests; (2) Assist the federal government in implementing measures to ensure Russia's security; (3) Conduct activities to benefit the economic, scientific and technological development of Russia; (4) Protect employees of Russian institutions overseas and their families; (5) Provide personnel security for government personnel and their families; (6) Cooperate and conduct liaison activities with foreign security services (consistent with the law, treaties and agreements); (7) Establish and operate information systems and communication networks pertaining to foreign intelligence administration.

[edit] SVR Intelligence Oversight

The President of the Russian Federation exercises executive oversight and supervision of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) pursuant to Articles 2, 4, 5, 10, 12, and 14 of the 1996 Foreign Intelligence Organs Act. The Legislative Branch monitors SVR financial and staffing issues pursuant to Article 24. The Procurator General (per Article 25) has the authority to investigate and assess whether the SVR follows Russian law. SVR officials provide regular briefings to members of the Federation Council and the Duma. Most appropriations bills for the SVR start in the Federation Council rather than in the Duma. The Russian Federation President has the prerogative of special administrative privilege to issue special orders, instructions and decrees concerning foreign intelligence (on behalf of the Duma and Federation Council) that, at his discretion, can remain secret or made public.

[edit] SVR Organizational/Corporate Command Structure

The SVR Director is appointed by and reports directly to the Russian Federation President. The Director currently holds the rank and grade of a Ground Forces General or Navy Admiral. The Director provides routine briefings to the President every Monday and on other occasions as necessary. The Director is also an integral member of the Security Council. Within the SVR, the Director is a strong chief executive officer and has a Consulting Group that serves as a sort of strategic advisory team and "kitchen cabinet". Within the Executive Directorate (Office of The Director), there is a: (1) Protocol Office; (2) Power Structure Liaison Office; (3) Legal Counsel; (4) Public, Media & Press Relations Office; (5) SVR Historian; and (6) Inspector General. The Inspector General is believed to be very new and the I.G. is appointed by the SVR Director with the approval of the President; the I.G. serves as the overseer of operational readiness inspections, financial audits, and internal affairs/professional responsibility investigations on behalf of the SVR Director. The staff within the Inspector General's Office consist of accountants and highly experienced foreign intelligence officers who have received additional training through the FSB in criminal investigation. The Principal Deputy Director of the SVR serves as the acting director in the absence or leave of the Director and can be assigned duties analagous to a Chief Operating Officer. There are seven directorates in the SVR (5 primary and 2 ordinary) and are titled as follows: Personnel (primary); Analysis & Information (primary); Science (primary); Operations (primary); Operational Logistics & Support (primary); Foreign Counterintelligence (ordinary); Economic Intelligence (ordinary). Each of the 7 directorates is headed by a Deputy Director. Each Deputy Director is selected by and reports directly to the SVR Director. The SVR is believed to consist of an estimated 14,500 full time equivalents (FTE). The SVR budget is classified and is not made public.

[edit] SVR Personnel

Just as any government organization, and given that it is a global intelligence organization, the SVR employs people from many disciplines- law, journalism, public affairs, accounting, medicine, occupational health nursing, finance, logistics, business, engineering, computer science/information technology, forensics, and the natural and physical sciences. The SVR has secretaries and other program generalists who have extensive experience and competence in performing their duties.

Since its inception (in December 1991), the SVR has departed from past precedent analysis methodologies of the KGB First Chief Directorate. No longer are the analytical products (assessments, estimates, white papers, and strategic studies) geared toward a preconceived or political agenda or rife with Communist era political correctness, but are geared with a mandate of objectivity from analysis of both open source and collected information. This is a major change because under the U.S.S.R., the political leaders wanted the raw intelligence and would perform the "analysis" themselves- whereas the Russian Federation's leaders want professional, scholarly, in-depth analyses and briefings provided for them. SVR analysts tend to be paid far higher salaries and benefits than their counterparts in academia or think tanks and represent some of the best minds in the Russian Federation. SVR analysts generally have a Ph.D. or master's degree in their field or discipline (primarily with respect to international relations, geographic area studies, economics, political science, history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and law). Analysts are assigned to either a geographic or functional division within the Operations Directorate in order to interact with operational personnel. The Analysis & Information Directorate has core analysts who collate and analyze information, and write necessary documents, briefing materials, and papers to inform policymakers in the Russian Federation. Unlike intelligence analysts in other foreign intelligence services, SVR analysts are not shy about adding their opinions and providing recommended courses of action (with projected outcomes analyses) as addendums to their products; in fact, President Yeltsin and President Putin and their administrations have encouraged this practice. Many of the SVR's analytic products have been disseminated to other governments (especially since the events of 9/11) and have gained the SVR greater stature and respect as a premier global intelligence organization. The SVR does make a historical series available to the public and media (either in paper or CD-ROM forms).

The SVR's Science Directorate organizationally houses the SVR Academy (formerly called the "Academy of Foreign Intelligence" in the pre-Putin era of the SVR and "The Red Banner School" during the KGB's existence). The SVR Academy is primarily located at Yasenevo (just outside metro Moscow) and provides world-class training, education, and facilities to officer candidates and other students. Academy professors are highly experienced intelligence practitioners, many even have advanced degrees from Russian, British, American, Canadian, and other universities. Interestingly enough, the SVR has a "publishing house" where professors, students, and SVR executives can publish books, training manuals, research compendiums, and in-house journals. The SVR Academy coordinates all training and education needs (in-service and external) for the SVR's global workforce- including basic and advanced operations curricula, counter-terrorism courses, and even doctoral courses.

Under the Putin Administration and General Lebedev's leadership, the salaries and benefits paid to SVR officers have dramatically improved. The days of the 1990's, where SVR had problems making payroll, are gone. As an example, in 2002, all SVR Officers received an across-the-board 50% raise (in addition to the ordinary salary adjustments for state employees) and new (tax-free) allowances to afford a home, condominium, or apartment in the Russian Federation (even while stationed overseas). SVR officers currently receive competitive salaries with the Russian and CIS private economic sectors and special tax advantages. Retirement benefits are correlated to the Russian military's defined benefit plan (regular, non-contributory annuity) and are higher than those provided to other civil servants, and the social insurance plan (which provides regular payments for women at age 60 and men at age 65, survivors payments and disability payments). President Putin has reportedly expressed a desire for civil servants to have a savings-investment plan like that provided by the U.S. Government to its federal civilian employees and members of the uniformed services. The SVR and the FSB are believed to be the first two federal entities where a thrift savings-investment plan would be offered as a third tier to complement the regular annuity and social insurance plans.

The SVR was somewhat "shunned" by many of the best students and intellectuals during the 1990's. Since 2002, recruitment (according to the Russian media) has picked up and the service is operating at full staff ceiling. In other words, the only people being hired are those needed to replace an employee who is retiring or separating. While standards fell in the late 1990's, now only the best and brightest, cream-of-the-crop candidates are being hired to become SVR officers. Minimum requirements are being between 21 and 35 years old (age waivers may be granted on a case-by-case basis by the SVR Director), being a Russian citizen, no prior criminal record (no felonies, drug use, hooliganism, moral turpitude), good mental and physical health, and having a bachelor's degree. A graduate degree in law, international relations, foreign languages, public administration, economics, criminal justice, business, geographic area studies, engineering, computer science, or history is desired. Prior military experience and overseas experience is considered desirable. Unlike the KGB, the SVR welcomes all races, ethnicities and creeds. All personnel, just as in any other Russian Federation ministry, serve at the pleasure of the ministry head (in this case, the SVR Director).

[edit] Public Perception

According to Russian media surveys (2004 and 2005), the Russian public realizes the need to have an active foreign intelligence capability in order to defend their homeland. The SVR appears to be positively perceived by most Russians as they view its mission as vital to their own security. This is a stark contrast to how citizens in Western countries tend to view their own nation's respective foreign intelligence services.

[edit] Directors

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

he:סו"ר it:Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki nl:Sloezjba Vnesjnej Razvedki ja:ロシア対外情報庁 pl:Służba Wywiadu Zagranicznego Rosji ru:Служба внешней разведки России

Foreign Intelligence Service (Russia)

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