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Monday, February 19, 2018

The head of the SVR, Sergei Naryshkin: “I’ve always liked the monument to Dzerzhinsky”

Intelligence – it is not public. The veil of secrecy even more attracted to her the interest of the society. Sometimes intelligence interest satisfies. This year, for example, has unveiled part of the reports of legendary “spy” Kim Philby and put on display his personal belongings. And in the center of Moscow opened a monument to Pavel Fotin, who led the exploration in the difficult war years, celebrated the 95th anniversary of the most secret units. But all that is to say, on historical material.

And what happens in foreign intelligence in our country today? To find out, before the day of the employee of the state security observer “MK” interviewed Director of the foreign intelligence Service of the Russian Federation Sergey NARYSHKIN.

Photo: the foreign intelligence service.

HELP “MK”: “Foreign intelligence traces its history to 20 December 1920, when it created the Foreign Department (INO) of the Cheka. Called the foreign intelligence Service of the Russian Federation it was 1991, and the first Director of the foreign intelligence service of Russia was Yevgeni Primakov. Sergey Naryshkin headed the foreign intelligence service of Russia from October 5, 2016″.

“Owl’s nest”

The headquarters of the SVR of Russia located in the capital Sochi. This is a restricted area. Don’t work here cell phones (I would like to be witty to write “and the birds here don’t fly”, but — fly, I saw it myself). It’s almost impossible to meet a stranger, that is not related to the intelligence of man. It is here that the “chief scout of the country” spends most of his working time.

In the office, he inherited from his predecessors, Sergei Naryshkin, almost nothing changed. Says that this is not necessary: a Desk by the window, where a dozen telephones (including red for direct communication with the President), is filled with books, the cabinets, the emblem of the foreign intelligence service of Russia and a modest portrait of Dzerzhinsky.

Amazingly, nowhere to be seen on the computer.

— Office — a special, protected from prying ears and eyes, — said Naryshkin. We know that the enemy seeks to penetrate our closed network. And the Internet and mobile communications, of course — in the next room…

That is particularly memorable — a huge globe at the window. Another striking a delicate bronze owl. It is considered the unofficial symbol of intelligence. For the record, some intelligence services have cruise “Trustees”: the GRU, for example, the bat. The clever owl have Naryshkin seemed to be guarding the documents of special importance, so I thought. In the center of the Cabinet is a large oval table that can easily fit a few dozen people.

— Then you hold a “debriefing”? — ask Naryshkin.

— Here, hear reports, hold meetings with colleagues, discuss with them the plans of the operations he smiles, and, of course, work daily with a large number of documents — operational, analytical and other…

No one will recall Itachi even raised his voice (“quiet sounds louder”, as he himself said more than once) — even when he was speaker of the state Duma, at least during the leadership of the office of the Kremlin. This is one of the features of his character. In addition, he never does anything deliberately, revealing. The nobility of Sergei Sokolov in the blood: some Russian scientists in the field of genealogy has argued that he is an indirect descendant of Natalia Naryshkina — wife of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, mother of Peter I.

History of exploration — the history of the country

— Sergey, for your name you can learn the history of the Russian state. Are you trying to do?

— The history of the Fatherland — the great, complex, sometimes tragic — of course, I studied. And studied very deeply. Family history I also studied, but to conduct a serious analysis of family history and the emergence of the names of the Naryshkins will when I have more time.

— You rightly said that the centenary of the revolution need not to celebrate, and to celebrate. Curious, how do you feel about the white movement? If you lived at the time, would take part in it, as did the vast majority of nobles?

— It is impossible to imagine what could be for each of us then, a hundred years ago. Where is the starting point, the decision point? Revolution is a truly historical event with massive implications — both positive and tragic. So, the Civil war was a horrific and terrible tragedy. The main conclusion that we have to make, is that this war is a cruel punishment of society for the inability to find a compromise in terms of the split. Sure our society will never be divided into “white” and “red”.

— It just so happened that the attitude of the NKVD (and because intelligence has its roots there), people today are not very good: the letters associated with repression, blood…

— Let’s face it. Foreign intelligence was born 20 December 1920, when the Cheka was created by a Foreign Department, so we will celebrate this year the 97th anniversary of the foreign intelligence. But we must not forget that in the terrible years of repression, especially in 1937-1938, suffered heavily in the exploration. False slander has been arrested many members of staff. Connection with the securities agents were, or is temporarily lost, or lost altogether. In 1938, during the 127 days of the foreign intelligence leadership of the country did not received any information.

In 1939, intelligence headed by very young people Pavel Phytin, which is based on the few remaining experienced staff, was able in a short time to recover and establish the work. Intelligence has fulfilled its main purpose: reported to the leadership of the country about the preparation of Nazi Germany to the war against the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, despite detailed intelligence reports, the Kremlin war “began suddenly.” And this was the greatest tragedy for our country.

And already during the war Stalin began to implicitly trust the information coming from foreign intelligence. Remember the legendary battle of Kursk and reports received on the eve of the famous reconnaissance — the “Cambridge five”. Valuable information about the plans of the German command helped to save thousands of lives of our soldiers! Those interested in history, knows about the unique operation “Enormous” for the extraction of nuclear secrets, which ultimately allowed to achieve nuclear parity with the United States. If Stalin did not trust the Phytin, of course, Pavel would not remain on the post of the chief of intelligence has been through the war To the great Victory!

— An unexpected question? And how you relate to disputes around the monument to Dzerzhinsky?

— How can you relate to the artwork? I must admit: I really like the monument to Dzerzhinsky works of Yevgeny Vuchetich. Monument graced Lubyanskaya square, has been its dominant feature. Now he modestly located in the Park “Muzeon”. I have no doubt its historical and artistic value.

Dzerzhinsky, a prominent figure of the first stage of formation of the young Soviet Republic, and its role is important not only to create a domestic intelligence service. He was the author of a number of serious social and economic projects. It is also part of the responsibility for the tragic events of that time. The story keeps everything, and she should not hide.

This profession will never die

— Intelligence before the war, during the Soviet years, during the perestroika years and today is a different intelligence?

— Of course, technically different. It is impossible to compare the exploration of the mid-twentieth century, and especially the 20’s with the present. The technology intelligence process has leaped forward. First of all it concerns the means and methods of obtaining, processing, and analysing information.

But for all that retains many of the basic principles — such as reliance on human intelligence, a high degree of secrecy.

Sergey Naryshkin with the observer of the “MK”. Photo: the foreign intelligence service.

The world is changing so rapidly that maybe soon the time will come when the exploration is not needed?

— One of the oldest professions need always. Only naive people can assume that exploration will lose its purpose. Its task is the extraction of political, military-strategic, economic, scientific and technical information. Even in the era of universal prosperity and peace, if that happens, the state will experience interest and need in receiving such information on a systematic basis. And in these tense times, in a difficult international environment, the intelligence must work with increased intensity.

Today, attempts to create a fundamentally new types of weapons of mass destruction, their uncontrolled proliferation. Clearly, what trouble could happen if such weapons delivered into the hands of terrorists. Hence, a special place is occupied by the fight against international terrorism as the most critical and cynical of infringing on the most fundamental human right — the right to life.

— And that in addition to terrorism worries you today as a scout and a citizen?

— Russia is seeking to displace on the margins of world politics, to undermine its economy and internal stability, to use exclusively as a donor of natural resources. To limit our opportunities in terms of economic development. What is happening today in the international sports movement?!

— SVR Russia can prevent it?

— She’s doing it. In addition, SVR Russia is now also actively engaged in addressing serious threats to cybersecurity. Processes in the field of information warfare today is unprecedented in scope and severity.

— I would like to know about the illegal exploration. She dies in our technological age of global control?

— With what you have? It works successfully, it has its modern day heroes. Summer is the division of the SVR Russia celebrated the 95th anniversary. Was the ceremony the veterans, young employees. All personally congratulated the President of Russia!

— At one time the head of an illegal intelligence, Yuri Ivanovich Drozdov has created a unique combat unit “Vympel”. His fighters were called “gods of war”. Know what they were capable of without a single shot to capture a pirate ship and much more. It was honest and noble people: they refused to execute criminal orders to seize the House of Government of the Russian Federation in the tragic moment in modern history, for what it is a combat unit was disbanded. Is now intelligence like a tool of the secret war?

— The Service is a unit whose staff is capable to successfully solve specific tasks abroad. They proved it in practice. High-class professionals participated in a major operation to ensure security of Russian institutions and rescue our citizens abroad in emergencies. Words of gratitude for the salvation of people, our staff have received from the citizens of other countries.

Do not be afraid of the “man in plainclothes”

— The collective image of the modern spy — what is it? All the same Stirlitz?

— The film “Seventeen moments of spring” I watched many times. The image of the Soviet scout in it though art, but clearly professional. Projecting today — Yes, Stirlitz is more appropriate than all the other characters of works of art. Scout, first and foremost, is an intellectual, a deep analyst with higher efficiency, able to perform tasks in stressful situations.

— And I think, even nobility?

— Definitely, Yes. And honesty and dedication is from the category of “mandatory program”. And, of course, one of the main criteria — high level of intelligence.

— And where to look for such noble intellectuals?

— We have a big country. Intelligent, educated, public-spirited young people. SVR Russia today is not experiencing a personnel shortage. Most of the young people accessed our staff offer service in the intelligence, the offer answers in the affirmative. This does not mean that this is the end of the selection process: it is much more complicated, contains many stages. It is clear that candidates for service in intelligence, special requirements, due to the specificity of work, you have access to the information constituting a secret protected by the law, other circumstances. Great detail on how to become a spy told on the website of the Service.

— We have a lot of hereditary intelligence?

— In the exploration of a dynasty — a rarity. There are Service employees who have each other relatives. But this is an exception. Staffing the apparatus is initially stiffer when selecting the work of relatives of existing employees.

— What gets scout?

— I will say briefly: salaries employee SVR worthy. There are good conditions for playing sports, medical services. But, when hiring, we do not promise Golden mountains. The intelligence are not for money but to serve the country in specific conditions, sometimes at risk of life. Ask our vets if they would like another destiny? They will tell you that the best years they spent in exploration. Because we have such a strong and United veterans organization.

No one in the “field”

— You miss working in the state Duma? In The Kremlin? And where do you prefer more?

— Do not miss, but often remember the years in the government and in the presidential Administration and the Duma. On each of the posts I worked with gusto and full dedication, has maintained a good relationship and business friendly with many colleagues.

— Once you were simple Opera and, I think, has not dreamed of the main positions in intelligence. A year ago, when he took office, was shocked by all tasks?

— I worked a lot in exploration in the 80s and 90-ies. In addition, since 2008 part of the security Council. So at the time of appointment was a good idea what was waiting for me as Director.

Feel Service comfortable. The team is unique in many ways: professionalism, high intellectual level employees combined with a healthy military discipline.

I would say: happiness to work in such a team.

To your office go scouts, who returned from travel?

— These meetings happen all the time. Together, analyze the results, seeking further opportunities of expansion of intelligence activities. And, of course, as the head pose new challenges. Conversation with colleagues is a delight. I remember once, when he worked in the “field”…

— I would like to again in the “field”?

— Of course. I think everyone who passed this way, I want to go back. There in “the field”, very special feeling.

— By the way, what was your alias in intelligence?

— Nickname was, but to refrain his voice.

— Was in critical situations, when you barely opened?

— Let’s be honest: one day I was in such a situation, but in the end, it ended without significant losses. Perhaps luck was on my side. And in General, much of life depends on luck. It is necessary for all, but scouts especially.

— I know that you have higher economic education, — it somehow helps to work?

— Of course. Intelligence is never too much knowledge. And demanded literally all specialties. In the list of objectives of intelligence activities include the provision of leadership in the country’s economic information and the promotion of economic development of Russia.

By the way, here’s an example from the economy: in the late 1970s it was estimated that receive foreign intelligence information has covered the costs of the work of the KGB. Do today’s findings.

— You were friends with the former Director of Russian foreign intelligence service Yevgeny Primakov? What is the footprint he has left in your life?

— Probably do not have the right to say that he had friends. But Mr Primakov, I knew, often talked to him. Made an impression of him as a remarkable man, a prominent scientist, a thinker from the time of my work in government and then in the presidential Administration.

Primakov headed the foreign intelligence service from 1991 to 1996. I and my distinguished predecessors in this post, I sincerely believed and believe that the SVR is Russia now — it is really a “legacy” of the Primakov. He led the Service in a difficult period. In the early 90-ies was the “hotheads” from among pseudogregoryceras, who shouted that intelligence is not needed. In fact, Primakov saved exploration and has retained the Service of the state.

— How often do you have to be in foreign missions? In which countries are allowed?

— Due to the fact that I am in the proverbial sanctions lists, there are known limitations to visit the countries of NATO. Although this rule is not without exceptions. Of course, the wide geography of working visits to the CIS and Asian States. Over the past year, travelled to nine countries of this vast Eurasian region. In General, professionals in the intelligence services of all States appreciate the mutual understanding between colleagues and business cooperation.

Historians once made the allegations that the SVR Russia did not declassify what seem to be long would be possible.

We will endure this criticism. Documents on the operations of our intelligence Service declassify when there is a strong belief that the disclosure would not be detrimental to the Service and will not jeopardize the safety of our employees and sources of information among foreign nationals.

— They plan to declassify?

— You will learn one of the first! Not get ahead of ourselves.

You said that the century of revolution need not to celebrate, and to celebrate. And the Day of state security agencies? You’re celebrating?

— Celebrate like all of my colleagues. Every employee of the Service made their life choices consciously, based on their understanding of duty to the Fatherland. We believe that the country’s leadership and citizens of Russia trust us, we hope and expect the Russian intelligence professional and efficient work. I congratulate all the employees of the SVR, Russia, veterans of foreign intelligence, and our colleagues from the Russian special services on this holiday!


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