Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 72

According to "Moskovskie novosti," which quotes the latest report of the German Federal Office to Protect the Constitution, the mission of the Russian security services has of late been significantly expanded, including their efforts to counter NATO’s planned eastward expansion. The Russian security services were tasked with stepping up intelligence activity against NATO countries back in October 1995 by President Boris Yeltsin personally, who demanded that the GRU "penetrate NATO military bases in Western Europe, and as far as possible, NATO headquarters — up to and including the entourage of its secretary general."

The Foreign Intelligence Service [SVR], with its 15,000 employees, plays the main role in foreign espionage. It remains, if one believes the words of its former chief (and current foreign minister) Yevgeny Primakov, faithful to its predecessors and "takes an active part in implementing Russian foreign policy, as a counterweight to the West." Moreover, the SVR has been assigned the task of "preserving the multinational Russian state, economic espionage, directed mainly towards military technology and arms exports," and collecting information on NATO’s eastward expansion. (Moskovskie novosti, No. 10, March 1997)

The newspaper reports that another Russian intelligence service, second only to the SVR in the number of its employees, is also taking a special interest in NATO expansion. This is the 12,000-man GRU, which remains untouched by the political changes that have taken place in Russia in recent years. Together with the SVR, this service is concentrating, among other things, on ascertaining the positions of Western European governments on NATO expansion. Moreover, the intelligence services of Kazakstan, Ukraine, and Belarus, which were formed out of the KGB’s former structures and which maintain close contact with the Russian security services, are also evidencing significant interest in information about NATO. Their agent base is said to include ethnic Germans who have resettled in Germany from CIS countries, and who were allowed to go to Germany only after being recruited by the intelligence services of the newly-independent states.

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