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Official website of the President of Russia

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Ceremonial event to mark centenary of GRU

November 2, 2018, Russian Army Theatre, Moscow

On the eve of the Day of the Military Intelligence Officer, Vladimir Putin took part in a gala event to mark the centenary of The Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrades, esteemed veterans,

I would like to congratulate you on your forthcoming professional day – the Day of the Military Intelligence Officer, and the centenary of the legendary GRU that is now called the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia. It is unclear where the name Main Intelligence Directorate has gone. We ought to restore it.

Intelligence is an integral part of military affairs and war science. This has been the case for centuries everywhere. The current anniversary of our military intelligence naturally turns us to history, giving us an opportunity to recall the courageous and talented people that faithfully served Russia and its people, the heroes of the 1812 war, the Crimean War, World War I, officers of the General Staff, and military agents at diplomatic missions of the Russian Empire, who often risked their lives obtaining precious information that was required for the country’s defence and the protection of its national interests.

All of these are landmarks of our military intelligence, of which we are proud.

I would like to note that, being genuine patriots and state-minded people, many officers of the Imperial Russian Army played a significant role in the development of the new structure of national military intelligence. They realised that there is no greater shame than to betray the Fatherland and their comrades and ensured the continuity of the traditions of the service in times of trouble or revolutionary upheavals.

Military intelligence officers displayed the same fidelity to their duty at the turn of the 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR. They managed to preserve the GRU’s potential and the school of career service and professional training.

I would like to express special gratitude and appreciation to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War. On the eve of World War II, during the Great Patriotic War military intelligence created a unique system for the timely collection and transfer of the most valuable information that directly influenced the outcome of major battles in the Great Patriotic War.

To this day, we remember and are proud of the people who worked in military intelligence at that time. No doubt, they are the pride of our intelligence, of our nation. They were of very diverse ethnic origins united by the common rejection of Nazism, its ideology, xenophobia in all manifestations and the exclusiveness of anyone on any grounds.

I would also like to remember those who served in Afghanistan, those who defended Russia from the aggression of international terrorism. Your daring operations, your ability to outmaneuver a strong and experienced enemy in the most difficult of circumstances is an example for new generations to follow.

The most important things they are learning from you are courage, an officer’s honour and selflessness, readiness to sacrifice everything for the sake of one’s brothers in arms and Motherland.

We will always remember the heroes who gave their lives in battle for their fatherland. Those who are no longer with us. We bow our heads in memory to them.


The qualitative development of the Armed Forces of Russia is our top priority. I have mentioned this more than once. One of the key areas of this work is certainly strengthening the personnel resources, and the operational and technological capabilities of our military intelligence units.

Unfortunately, the potential for conflict is on the rise in the world. Provocations and outright lies are being used and attempts are being made to disrupt strategic parity. The system of international law is being undermined. All of that plays into the hands of extremists and terrorists who seek to extend their criminal activities to new regions on the planet. This is what they sought to create in Syria – a stronghold of chaos and violence.

But they did not succeed. Military intelligence played a huge role in taking out the ringleaders of the militants, their bases and infrastructure, and should be credited for the surgical destructive strikes delivered by our aircraft and warships. Our intelligence personnel methodically carried out their orders and never retreated, as is prescribed by Russian military tradition.

I will add that military intelligence undoubtedly deserves a lot of credit for returning peace to many regions of Syria, for stopping the bloodshed and opening up a path to accord, and no less important, for the crushing blow we dealt to the terrorists, preventing them from returning to our territory.


As Supreme Commander-in-Chief, I certainly know your, without exaggeration, unique capabilities including in special operations. I greatly value the information and analytical materials that are prepared for the country's leadership at the Main Directorate of the General Staff.

I have confidence in your professionalism, your personal courage and dedication. I am certain that you will do everything for Russia and our people.

Once again, I congratulate you on the holiday and thank you for your service. I wish you and your families all the best.

Thank you.

November 2, 2018, Russian Army Theatre, Moscow