Confrontation between the FSB and the GRU over spheres of influence and funding has been going on for more than a decade. And it's the FSB who have traditionally been a step ahead in this fight – both in terms of information and sometimes even physically, leaving their military intelligence rivals biting the dust.
From time to time, the GRU responded with rather well-aimed and painful counter-strikes, but in the end of each episode, it was the FSB who turned out to be in the lead in almost any bridgehead. However…
However, the other day the Dossier center published a massive report on the FSB activities in Russia, dating from the KGB period: gigantic volumes of data exposing the absolute, total control this agency enjoys over pretty much all government entities and institutions.
Over the past 10 years, the FSB, by applying illegal, coercive measures, has, in effect, penetrated and seized control over the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of the Interior, and many other government agencies. That's including the Ministry of Defense, where FSB agents have been flocking, which definitely is a major humiliation for the GRU military intelligence.
The report claims the FSB fully controls and influences decision-making in courts in cases it deems important, violates the constitutional rights of citizens, infringes on freedom of speech, falsifies criminal cases, raids businesses, cultivates the use of torture in the best KGB traditions, and also liquidates those who, for one reason or another, refuse to cooperate with the Kremlin or pose a threat to the regime's dictatorial ambitions.
It will take hours to cover the report but, in general terms, the Dossier center simply put on display all of the FSB's dirty laundry. But, you might ask, why I called my piece "military intelligence strikes back"…
The thing is that the Dossier center operates under the GRU auspices. It was the Dossier center that sent Russian journalists Orkhan Dzhemal, Kirill Radchenko and Alexander Rastorguev to the Central African Republic to probe into Wagner PMC (which is an FSB branch) where they were killed by those very Wagner mercenaries. That's besides the fact that those "war journalists" also worked under the GRU auspices, while Orkhan Jemal was a long-time hardened operative.
Regular leaks concerning GRU missions beyond Russian borders, traditionally published by The Insider – the outlet whose reporters would always receive valuable and sensitive information from people affiliated with the FSB – have always been a humiliation to top commanders of military intelligence.
It was the FSB, represented by the Humpty Dumpty hacker group, that was behind the large-scale cyberattack on GRU resources, in particular, leaks of Vladislav Surkov's emails and the names of intelligence agents working undercover on foreign soil.
So now, the GRU has delivered a proper response to years of being forced to blush due to the moves of FSB rivals.
I am sure that the FSB is now furious as ever, but another question is how its chiefs will respond, in turn,
After all, what the Dossier center published is not just a slight slap in the face but a massive hook, which may knock the opponent out. Usually, such humiliation doesn't remain unanswered so the bullied ones will up their game.
Let's watch then!