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SVR Organization

The present head of the SVR is Lt. Gen. Sergei Lebedev.

Headquartered in Moscow, the SVR has offices in Russian embassies, consulates and trade establishments throughout the world. As with its predecessor, the First Chief Directorate of the KGB, it is likely that the SVR continues to be composed of three separate Directorates, and three Services:

The operational core of the SVR is eleven geographical departments, which supervises SVR employees assigned to residencies abroad. These officers, or rezidenty, operate under legal cover, engaging in intelligence collection, espionage, and active measures. Although SVR personnel frequently use diplomatic cover when assigned abroad, the SVR frequently uses journalists for cadre work, and many SVR intelligence officers consider it one of the best covers.

The Spetsnaz unit Vympel ("Banner") is a counter terrorist unit of the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service). Originally developed in 1981 as an infiltration unit to conduct infiltration, sabotage, and intelligence missions in enemy territory, Vympel subsequently evolved into a Counter Terrorist (CT) unit, and by 1987 the unit had expanded to a staff of over 500. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the unit was transferred to the Main Administration for the Protection of the Russian Federation (GUO), along with Spetsgruppa "A", and in 1993 the unit was again transferred to MVD control to MVD. After many original members left, Vympel was disbanded and a new unit, Vega, was created, and subsquently the SVR reinstated the name Vympel.

The SVR is represented on the Security Council and the Defense Council, it participates in the work of various interagency groups and commissions. The coordination of operations by various Russian intelligence services is also carried out on the basis of bilateral agreements and existing working contacts. However effective interagency cooperation is still frustrated by Soviet-style compartmentalization of classified information and limited lateral and vertical information sharing. It remains the case that important initiatives go directly to the president from a ministry without being coordinated with other ministries or the SVR.

The Russian Federation Comptroller's Office has the right to audit the intelligence expenditure estimate. In addition parliament exercises control over the SVR's work. The State Duma and Federation Council conduct parliamentary hearings and investigations, and both chambers' deputies have the right to put deputies' questions to SVR leaders.

Sources and Resources



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http://www.fas.org/irp/world/russia/svr/org.htm
Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Updated Wednesday, November 26, 1997 5:56:23 PM