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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Any changes required by the foreign intelligence Service of Russia

SVR is one of the most closed structures in the power system. Its successes and its failures is usually hidden from the eye of the observer, but under Mikhail Fradkov was and those and others. Now the head of the service will be Sergei Naryshkin, and he will have to face a number of serious problems, not zeroing in this case the achievements of its predecessor. But where should you start first?

The appointment of Sergei Naryshkin, head of the foreign intelligence Service of Russia consider mainly in political context and in connection with the entire chain of personnel changes, marking a new period of development of state power. SVR-like structure, which President Putin has called “one of the most important in the system of Executive authorities”, of those analyses and reviews is slipping away. This is partly logical – the daily activities of the service may be subject to public discussion. But in recent years this structure has not only become the real key for the state (and not only in the military sphere or in foreign policy), but also attracted a lot of attention due to a series of failures in the first place in the American direction. The success of foreign intelligence has traditionally been less visible and appear in the media not so catchy that in the end forms the negative image of the service.

Optimism and routine

“It was sick the KGB of the past two decades, the highly contaminated CIA. How to cope with this disease Mossad – we don’t know, but there are specific methods”

The debate about who primarily should be the head of intelligence – a brilliant professional with hundreds of recruitments and nuclear and space secrets in your pocket or a competent administrator – as old as the intelligence to win that argument is impossible, and the choice of the parties, as a rule, opportunistic). Sergei Naryshkin, like his predecessor, Mikhail Fradkov, administrators, but the new head of the SVR still has the professional knowledge and experience. Usually, the first thing a new boss with experience, it is management reform. A change here is that.

It is believed that some units of the RAF picked up a very dangerous disease – optimism. With the beginning of the “Russian spring” and the introduction of sanctions against Russia, a substantial part of “man-hours” were redirected to the new, specifically formulated economic direction. Special interest began to cause parts of the sanctions regime and the process of discussion at the West technical methods of its implementation, the banking sector, as well as forms and methods of economic warfare. Example – the establishment, at the initiative of U.S. Transatlantic and Transpacific partnerships. In this context, a significant part coming from Yasenevo information seemed too promising. The talks of the EU and USA on TTIP was fed as a failure. That is, the original information, which can be interpreted in two ways, interpreted at the grassroots level, purely optimistic, in any information I was looking for something good and beneficial.

This is a common among people is a tragic mistake for intelligence. On the other hand, this can be seen as birth trauma all of the major political intelligence services of the world – the desire a little bit to adjust to the information recipient, slightly embellish the data. This hurt the KGB of the past two decades, the highly contaminated CIA. How to cope with this disease Mossad – we don’t know, but there are specific methods.

Objectivity – the God whom the foreign intelligence service is obliged to worship. But sometimes the task itself (and those who challenge the intelligence put) forced to deviate. In Soviet times, for the formulation of political objectives existed, the State Committee for science and technology (SCST) is a monster that has accumulated in its bosom the requests of all ministries and departments, perevarivatei their efforts of expert councils, which included academics, and former intelligence, and concisely betrayed their KGB and GRU sometimes. It has always been clearly defined “terms of reference”: go out and bring us to a certain deadline key 12 such specifications and such sizes of the submarine “Washington”. And people were – deceived, bribed, lied, stole, but brought, for which they received respect, honor and rewards. Sometimes the tasks were formulated more vague, sometimes more details (down to the exact formulas you had to memorize), but the essence remained the same.

Now the planned economy is not the SCST also in this building on Tverskaya now the Ministry of education and science), but there are many state-owned corporations and certain private companies whose interests are equivalent to the state. In addition to the main tasks set by the main customer – the President and the government, formed many “electives”, which are perceived accordingly. They take time, resources and emotions (and emotions are important in this profession), but their value is not always clear, especially for those who came to intelligence on a Patriotic wave of the last 10-15 years and would like to bring tangible profit. In this context, significant conversations of two Russian employees recorded relatively recently, the FBI in new York: they (especially the young) openly burdened by these “electives” (if not stronger, given the vocabulary that the interpreters did the FBI do not fully understand).

But a large part of intelligence consists of obtaining information and material is not too similar to the key to saving the world or protecting the interests of the homeland. While Fradkov in 2010 said that the SVR “total intelligence” is no longer. If it is wickedness, they are minor. Indeed, to evaluate the activities of foreign intelligence operations in brilliant, eye-catching, it is impossible (and learn about them in decades). But creativity in routine work a bit, and are necessary, as the daily check of the channels and communication lines, emptying the soul more than a prison, Suma and active army. A broken or disappointed, not finding in his work nothing from James bond or Nikolai Kuznetsov.

To change a system of applications is only possible on the level higher than the position of the head of service. But many have noted that Sergei Naryshkin in its political weight is considerably larger than all previous heads of the SVR (with the exception of Yevgeniy Primakov). And in this private club, outdoor exploration, any change causes a Domino effect. No one says the optional application is not necessary, but we need objective monitoring of their formation. And that in fact there was a period when almost all intelligence work in the Balkans was carried out in the interests of Gazprom, which, to put it mildly, incorrect formulation of the question. Setting priorities for intelligence activities – administrative task with far-reaching prospects, not just rubble.

Shots solve not all

“Intelligence work, contrary to popular belief, is part of the set of instructions. Even household behavior is sometimes strictly regulated, and operational – even more”

In the last few years the pressure on the SVR increased dramatically. The scope of tasks increased significantly and it is now not on the optional issues and about the General policy. Work on economic and scientific-technical direction historically was considered more important because of constantly increasing requirements of the defense industry and banking sector. But in the modern climate of political information cannot be overemphasized. It concerns not only information support of the President and government, but also more complex operations, including the implementation of influence. There are absolute successes, but in some countries, and entire regions political situation sometimes it is so profitable, that there is a desire to give natural processes for their own victory. This is another problem of the profession, mixed with purely human qualities, and problems with the staff not been canceled.

Yes, the personnel of intelligence in recent years has been significantly updated. And the majority coming to the service of young people differ from new shoots in other power departments. Graduates of the “forest school” races “Gelandewagen” and other major trick is not peculiar. But corporate habits, remaining from the Soviet era, is not yet eradicated. And unique methods of recruitment sometimes leave on the reputation of the service, picturesque spot.

In late Soviet time the system was designed so that automatically pushed up the averaged positive form, not the talent of a living person. Talent is generally considered to be something harmful, because it has a complex character: a man with innovative thinking inclined to self-reliance, therefore, can be a dangerous initiative. Meanwhile, intelligence work, contrary to popular belief, is part of the set of instructions. Even household behavior is sometimes strictly regulated, and operational. But in a stressful situation (stress, by the way, almost as a daily, eventually kills the organism) it requires fresh thinking, not the Executive, not taught, obkladyvaya operational work tons of instructions. Political intelligence also requires unconventional thinking and special knowledge, including cultural and linguistic, as well as specific character traits, is far from the average profiles.

As a result of political exploration into a piece goods. In the 90 years the country studies as applied science was destroyed – and only relatively recently begun its Renaissance. Thus, entire regions or dropped out of the professional sphere, or Vice versa – was formed out of the blue. Only this school year, for example, in specialized educational institutions appeared the Department of the countries of the former USSR, the African and specialized in Eastern Europe. Re-running the training program with some rare, but actual languages, including languages of the former Soviet Union. Appeared specific textbooks, for example, the first published textbook of military translation from Serbian, and paradoxically, it was not until now. But these measures support or education aimed at the formation of a new generation of professionals, and the problem sometimes lies in the environment of senior officers.

Specifics of sinecures

“Naryshkin will have to make many minor changes in the routine work of the already established mechanism, the overall good performance in recent years, but still suffering from classic ailments”

No one is going to throw stones at retreating back, but at a very high position in the service in 2012 was appointed a former aide to Fradkov from those distant times, when Mikhail Yefimovich worked the head of government (it was his assistant, and not inherited from the device Chernomyrdin). This man for a couple of months prior to his appointment at Yasenevo was dismissed from the presidential Administration for interregional and cultural relations with foreign countries (then a euphemism for problems in the post-Soviet space and “new” States of South Ossetia, the RA and TMR) for textured and scandalous failure in the assigned area. The scandal was so tectonic that led to the scrapping of the political system in a particular state, which halloo to one another so far. The hero himself as “the cherry on the cake” was noted even and impartial conduct in not adequate condition in the premises of the local CEC that was captured on video. The news about his appearance at a General position in the RAF were assessed in the categories of “monstrous” and “a nightmare.” His partner on the scandal left to lead the security service of “Norilsk Nickel”, what else can understand, given the nature of modern career mobility, but to pull this in Yasenevo was not necessary.

The transformation of SVR into a cross between sinecures with a hospice, the disease is not of yesterday. You may recall, for example, the retirement of Viktor Erin, the Minister of internal Affairs of the Yeltsin era, impeached after Budennovsk. The President then appointed him to the same position in the Service, which had already described a hero. Erin had no relation to illegal exploration in the Soviet time he worked in the anti-corruption squad and the flying squad. It happened and under Primakov, who, with all due respect to him, was inclined to surround himself with personally loyal people, whose personal column “place of birth” means the city of Tbilisi.

Earlier, the byword was “geographical war” (thankfully long obsolete). Then between competing “clans,” formed by regions of operational work. Winners are regularly published “Asians”, especially “Hindus” (Leonid Shebarshin, Vyacheslav Trubnikov) who tacitly supported Primakov. In that period it was very popular saying of one orientalist (now the responsible international policy positions representing our country in some of the European organizations) that those who know Eastern languages, may appoint to any high public office, so that a study of, say, Tamil, disciplinary intelligence. Whether it is the truth – no one checked, but the successful work of non-Asian offices, this is clearly not promoted.

People lose motivation for career growth, and this opposition was so exciting that even the appointment in 2000, the head of the service Sergei Lebedev called almost the “fundamental turn”, since in his childhood he lived in Uzbekistan and speak Uzbek. It all looked very ridiculous and unprofessional (journalistic publications on the subject provoked a stinging rebuke from the press service of the SVR), especially given the fact that Lebedev was recommended for the position personally Trubnikov, and he spent his life in Central and Eastern Europe, especially Germany, as the head was appointed from the position of the official representative of the FIS in the United States.

In the Soviet time, the intelligence community suffered greatly from the Communist party appointees, of which very few are genuinely fascinated by business and become good professionals. This notorious nepotism was rather positive phenomenon. Getting rid of unnecessary nepotism and appointments on the principle of sinecures – a vital issue, but not as scary as it seems at first glance. And it is important that this turned into a campaign that could sweep up and many not involved.

There are many problems of organization and optimization of operational work, which require a specific approach and that the administrative decisions that will have to take Sergei Naryshkin. But he obviously will not have to face misunderstanding on the part of the head of state or the traditional rivalry between “neighbors”. The FSB has now been granted authority to conduct operations outside Russia, but they relate primarily to organized crime, drug trafficking and crimes in the economic sphere. It’s not intelligence. Damped out and talk about merging the SVR and the GRU, which initially seemed like a bad dream. GRU historically performs a very different amount of work, and challenges the office is facing narrower than the front of the SVR. It serves the interests of the army, and the issue of crossing professional interests, for example in the scientific and technical intelligence- again, this is a question, on the one hand, the administrative, the other purely human. To find a common language more difficult than to compete from the comfort of the Embassy.

Naryshkin will have to make many minor changes in the routine work of the already established mechanism, the overall good performance in recent years, but still suffering from classic ailments of the intelligence world and also from the special heritage of the Soviet time. This problem can be solved administratively, including in terms of personnel. Another thing is that now the work of the SVR in demand as never before in the post. And will need to strike a balance between reforms and maintaining the daily operational status of a network. What the results are, society will know soon. When the Statute of limitations will pass, and the secrecy will be lifted.


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