The Real Russia. Today. A guidebook to Russia’s intelligence community; how Putin’s ‘rocket man’ got rich; and a supposedly treasonous aviation geek

Both at home and abroad, the Russian abbreviation of the year has been “GRU” — the erstwhile but still commonly used initialism for the country’s Military Intelligence Directorate. The agency’s staff now stand accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee computer network and trying to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election; hacking various anti-doping agencies and the International Court of Arbitration; and trying to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Netherlands. Additionally, in what has led to a new wave of Western sanctions against Russia, GRU agents are also accused of poisoning Sergey Skripal (a former GRU colonel who spied for the British) in Salisbury, England. “Alexander Petrov” and “Ruslan Boshirov” — the two individuals identified by London police who came to Salisbury to try to kill Skripal — are apparently cover names for the GRU agents Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga. To add some context to this explosion of publicity, Meduza special correspondent Daniil Turovsky reviews the past and present of Russia’s intelligence community.

A Russian aviation technician was convicted of treason for writing about airplanes in online forum. Here’s his story.

This Tuesday, the human rights group “Team 29” published a report about what happened to Roman Dmitriev, the aviation technician at an aircraft factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur who was convicted of treason in October 2017. Dmitriev’s crimes included posting information about planes on the forum Airforce.ru, and — according to Russia’s Federal Security Service — handing over secret data to a supposed Israeli intelligence agent. Last year, the Khabarovsk Regional Court sentenced Dmitriev to 4.5 years in a maximum-security prison. He was 26 years old at the time.

How Vladimir Putin’s ‘top missile adviser’ got rich on Russia’s nuclear defense industry

The Tactical Missiles Corporation (KTRV) is one of the biggest state corporations in Russia’s military industrial complex. Among other things, the company manufacturers hypersonic weapons, air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles, and naval weapons systems. Sergey Prikhodko (Dmitry Medvedev’s current first deputy chief of staff) served as KTRV’s board chairman until 2013, and former State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov has had the job for the past several years.

What is the GRU? Who gets recruited to be a spy? Why are they exposed so often? Here are the most important things you should know about Russia’s intelligence community

Both at home and abroad, the Russian abbreviation of the year has been “GRU” — the erstwhile but still commonly used initialism for the country’s Military Intelligence Directorate. The agency’s staff now stand accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee computer network and trying to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election; hacking various anti-doping agencies and the International Court of Arbitration; and trying to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Netherlands. Additionally, in what has led to a new wave of Western sanctions against Russia, GRU agents are also accused of poisoning Sergey Skripal (a former GRU colonel who spied for the British) in Salisbury, England. “Alexander Petrov” and “Ruslan Boshirov” — the two individuals identified by London police who came to Salisbury to try to kill Skripal — are apparently cover names for the GRU agents Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga. To add some context to this explosion of publicity, Meduza special correspondent Daniil Turovsky reviews the past and present of Russia’s intelligence community.

The Real Russia. Today. Meduza has a new quiz about Russia and the USA, Putin praises the GRU, and America says its cyber-defense could go on the offensive

Lately, Americans can’t shut up about “Russian hackers and trolls.” In Russia, meanwhile, they can’t stop moaning about U.S. sanctions, dirty dirty dollar bills, and even American oil. In all this bickering and competition, do you know which country has more of what? This quiz is designed to gauge your grasp of the standoff that is [don’t call it the New Cold War].

Putin showers Russia’s military spy agency in praise, celebrates its ‘unique capabilities’ on 100th anniversary

Vladimir Putin gave a speech on Friday at an event honoring the 100th anniversary of Russia’s “legendary Main Intelligence Directorate” — the same organization that has humiliated Moscow internationally over the past several months, as evidence accumulates that this spy agency is responsible for the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England, and numerous hacking efforts targeting Western institutions.