Just a couple of days ago, in my piece "GRU spy fails level Russian lobbyism in EU", I noted that more extraordinary revelations are ahead regarding GRU following a plethora of their major failures abroad of which we learned from the media and which affect Russia's reputation and thus hamper their lobbying efforts across the EU.
In particular, when I wrote that "you don't need a crystal ball to know in advance that the next probe by The Insider will be devoted to some GRU failure (or it will be an actual leak related to the agency)" I knew that my prediction would soon come true. The Insider issued a deeper and more detailed investigation into the Berlin hitman who killed Zelimkhan Khangoshvilli, Mr Vladimir Sokolov, or Vadim Krasikov (his real name).
However, there's an interesting detail in The Insider's investigation, in the part that concerns the FSB's Vympel spec-ops unit.
The fact that Vadim Krasikov, a former operative of this FSB unit who did a dirty job in Germany for the competing agency, the GRU, (just like Aleksey Komarichev, a former employee of the Russian DEA unit, who got both of his arms blown off as he was planting a bomb in the car of a Ukrainian military intel officer in Kyiv) shouldn't mislead you to thinking that it was the FSB who was involved in these operations rather than GRU.
That's because, as a rule, the GRU employs in their operations, along with staff operatives, such as Boshirov and Petrov, recruited experts from other law enforcement agencies, who, for some reason, found themselves outside the "system".
The FSB works the same way, recruiting former GRU people into its PMCs. Moreover, taking into account Krasikov’s birth year (1965), it can be assumed that he started his service with the Vympel squad when it was part of the KGB's Division C (supervising the "illegals").
After 1991, the unit was several times re-subordinated to various departments, while many of its servicemen retired in favor of shady business endeavors, where their skills were in demand, while many were sucked in by the GRU system, which has maintained and been further developing this field of operations.
And I can't help but point out that the package of evidence that the investigation has presented is similar to that collected against Skripal poisoners, "Petrov" and "Boshirov". This once again testifies to the fact that The Insider's sources keep doing their job, and that they'll keep on pleasing us with more thrilling stories, at the same time, upsetting the GRU and causing deep concern among leaders of those countries where Russian intelligence, as practice shows, feels like home.
Meanwhile, Le Monde, which this week had already delivered a top story about the GRU bases in the Alps, released a piece with evidence that Russian hackers were behind MacronLeaks during the 2017 presidential elections, where candidate Macron's correspondence with his entourage. It wasn't just some mediocre hacking team but GRU-affiliated groups: APT28 (Fancy Bear) and Sandworm.
So, it turns out to be that this week, Russian intelligence was literally torn to pieces. It's worth noting that almost all their fails were geographically restricted to Germany and France – the two countries that to varying degrees lobby the Kremlin's interests in Europe. However, such lobbying is becoming more and more complicated as more such unpleasing facts emerge.
So, yes, the GRU couldn't have messed things up more for Putin ahead of the Normandy Summit. Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel will now definitely watch out even more while at the same table with the Russian leader, considering their every word and step really carefully.