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Spies exchanged for Skripal, about the failures of Russian intelligence and the basis of the GRU in Moscow

Шпионы, обмененные на Скрипаля, — о промахах российской разведки и базе ГРУ в Москве

“Any organization can have periods of recession”

Today in the Ekaterinburg Park “Russia — my story” arrived ex-employees of the foreign intelligence Service (SVR), Andrey Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova, who in 2010 were disclosed in the United States and transferred to Russia in exchange for the former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal. They were invited to perform in the project “Direct line”, in which every visitor could ask questions. Correspondent found out what they think about the latest spy scandals, the poisoning Skripal and the military base of the GRU, which, according to media reports, conducted special operations in Europe.

“Part of it [spy scandals] — fake”

According to Andrey Bezrukov, that we hear more about the failures of Russian intelligence, to blame the increasing world tensions in General. “Some of them (cases — approx. — net fake stuffing. Some of them — some kind of leak, it happens. Organizations large, sometimes someone something merges. Part because the enemy works, searches, finds something, they too are professionals,” he said.

As a “fake” Bezrukov gave history of poisoning Sergei Skripal in the UK, where he sees the political ins and outs. He warned that not everyone knows the facts, but pointed out that even the words of the British Prime Minister on the “Russian trace”, made the next day after the incident, given that the situation was set up by the authorities of Britain. “This is done by the British elites that completely destabilized inside, which is a huge problem, where to go the country, which need to show off, because they lose control. They need the European Union to quarrel with Russia, because they always played. They definitely need to distract their own population from any problems, from Brekzita the same. So throw out these fakes”, — he explained.


Шпионы, обмененные на Скрипаля, — о промахах российской разведки и базе ГРУ в Москве

His wife and partner in espionage past Elena Vavilova said that the recent spy scandals associated with the development of media, which are much faster to obtain and disseminate information, sometimes blowing stories without checking them. However, she believes that part of the exposure are due to counterintelligence. “Still, the struggle intensifies. Russia is becoming more powerful and stronger, of course, our opponents understand that you need to pay attention to Russia. I think, intensified the work of the security services against us in the first place. In we again see the threat,” said the veteran of the RAF.

“The decline of professionalism going on two sides”

Former intelligence directly do not agree that the recent scandals could affect the fall of the professionalism of the Russian intelligence. But it is said that some decline compared to the times of the USSR, when they started the work, perhaps. “It’s hard for me to judge what is happening there. From a professional point of view, any organization can have periods of recession. Perhaps we are experiencing the echoes of the 90s, early 2000s. Need time to recover it is to build a system. Maybe it’s the people themselves, in their preparation and motivation. After all, there is a strong temptation to move or to sell something for enrichment. Now the Americans are openly calling for people to work for them. In addition, there is a lack of Patriotic education and education of the people in the spirit of devotion to our country. Here, perhaps, was the omission — and it shows,” — said Vavilov.

“The decline of professionalism is happening on both sides. Methods are changing, and the intelligence agencies do not have time to readjust. Any intelligence Agency somewhere in time, somewhere not to do this because it is impossible to be completely successful everywhere. And they (other countries — approx. is the same. But it is not necessary to greatly exaggerate these things. Everything in the media space, you need to check on which it is based. And when you leave photocopies of passports — did you see this passport? You compare it? No,” said Bezrukov that considers some of the information about Russian spies in the media fake.

Шпионы, обмененные на Скрипаля, — о промахах российской разведки и базе ГРУ в Москве


According to the scouts for their work are influenced by new information technologies. On the one hand, they facilitate the transfer of data to headquarters, said the handleman. It is they with the colleague felt when he worked in the USA in zero. On the other hand, the new technology significantly complicate the job of scout, said Vavilov. “Harder to work, because now a lot of information. First, a database is, all documentary data can be reduced. Biometric data is. So now to go through some countries with a fake passport is almost impossible, because there is a recognition of the person, of the pupils.

Naturally, people are looking for exits from these provisions. You may change working methods. There will be more to use of people who, like the Chinese, are working in the Diaspora. That is, to use our the Russian Diaspora in the countries. A lot of people left, and now, perhaps, there will be looking for people who help our country,” she said.

“Western intelligence agencies can adjust to the situation”

In the latest spy scandal appears not even the SVR and the Main intelligence Directorate of the defense Ministry (GRU) — structure, which, in theory, should engage in military intelligence and not to conduct special operations abroad. Why however in the media increasingly appears the latest acronym, neither Vavilov nor Bezrukov, as they assured, I do not know. “It’s a mystery to me. I think the GRU and is not engaged in the [special operations]. Believe me, there are a lot of people and their tasks. You’ve got to understand, it is really the GRU or not.

You know, Western intelligence agencies can also adjust a situation to use people that they know, to use a visit to these people in the UK to inflate a scandal,” — said Vavilov.

Bezrukov also suggested that the allegations of GRU in the failure of any special operations are political attacks on defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The former intelligence officer also spoke about the military unit 29155, which, according to The New York Times, involved in the poisoning Sergei Skripal, the assassination of a Bulgarian arms dealer and the coup attempt in Montenegro.

“Oh, this is complete nonsense. There was always a training unit, no, it is not a secret! There are courses of retraining of intelligence officers. There is nothing special”, he said.


Yelena Vavilova and Andrei Bezrukov was in intelligence in the 1980-ies. Them, graduates of Tomsk state University, was recruited by the KGB. As they said during the “Straight line”, they immediately agreed. “For me it was the desire to protect our country and to make the Great Patriotic war will never happen again in any forms. When we are in the end of 1980-ies was gone, we really went to war because of confrontation between the USSR and America was so grave that for us to go and work there — was our duty,” said Vavilov. Later the ex-scouts added that the current situation resembles the end of 1980-ies.

First scouts sent to Canada, then France, after which they fell in the United States, where he worked until 2010 before they passed, as it was called, a former Colonel of service of external investigation Alexander Pot. During the life in the United States (Elena called Tracy Foley, Andrew, Donald Heathfield) they gave birth to two children. The veterans of foreign intelligence service noted that children who did not know that their parents are Russian spies, did not return to the US and now live in Moscow. Media reports that their children are unable to adapt to Russia, they are called fake news.

After moving to another country Bezrukov and Vavilova had to completely forget all past life. This aspect was most interested guests the “Straight line”, which, judging by the tone of the questions, I think “reincarnation” in the agent’s act of heroism.

Шпионы, обмененные на Скрипаля, — о промахах российской разведки и базе ГРУ в Москве

Came to the event were interested in how they kept kids from love to US (answer: through the French culture), out of whether Elena Russian language at birth (answer: no, I gave birth to English), what is the impact on Canada of the Ukrainian Diaspora (answer: very), what were they doing at the meeting with Putin after he made the exchange (answer: late sang “where the Motherland begins”, “Katyusha” and other Patriotic songs from a special booklet of the President).

Came also interested, the former intelligence officers think about the United States and Western countries. According to Bezrukova, America and the politics in it are degraded, since there was a “strategic dialogue” elite establishment has ceased to ask questions like, “what’s happening”, “where are we going”, “who is a friend and enemy.” “The crisis is their fear to see the world and recognize that something is wrong,” he said. Russia is also suffering from this crisis, recognized Bezrukov, together with the former agents often repeated, that Russia has a special way and a unique story.

To the question about the future world spies said that now, as 100 years ago began the “division of the world”. The Russians need to mobilize, unite and involve other countries. “Russia is a small country. We only have 140 million, we need a critical mass to get the market to be able to grow a strong company and get the money and infrastructure,” — explained Bezrukov.

Now Bezrukov and Vavilova, by his own admission, working in private firms as consultants. There are, according to them, experience.

Шпионы, обмененные на Скрипаля, — о промахах российской разведки и базе ГРУ в Москве

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