Scientific and Institutions. How Russian intelligence recruits young scientists abroad through its research institutes

After a number of high-profile failures and mass expulsions of the “Didiplomatov” in the shoulders, Russian intelligence began to act more actively in circumvention, including through scientific organizations with international ties. One of such spy was the National Research Institute for the Development of Communications (NIIRK), whose leadership included immigrants from the SVR and the 5th FSB Service. In Europe and the near abroad, the institute holds numerous conferences and internships, where the Chekists and pro-Kremlin propagandists, for conversations about good-neighbourliness, inspire the audience that the West is an enemy, and the path to prosperity lies through friendship with Russia. The main emphasis is on prospective students and young scientists who are planned to be used for espionage purposes over time.

On June 19, 2023, in the usually quiet Moscow Korobeynikov lane, unexpectedly blocked the movement and a sportsman with a walk-things with wavyed along the perimeter. Soon there was an honor guard and representative foreign cars with flashing lights. The people who arrived with the carnations gathered at the house 22 s. 1, where the National Research Institute for the Development of Communications (NIIRK) is located. The last came the head of the SVR Sergey Naryshkin and solemnly opened the ceremony of installation of the memorial plaque to the former director of the SVR Vyacheslav Trubnikov. There were speeches: “Vyacheslav Ivanovich worked here for two years, an outstanding intelligence officer and diplomat,” intelligence legend, the Czech Republic, etc. The d.

Before the Bolshevik coup in 1917, the artists of the Maly Theater Alexander Lensky and Alexander Yuzhin-Sumbatov lived in the house. Then the premises were occupied by the NKVD, MGB and KGB, and conspiratorial meetings with agents took place in the mansion. Since 1993, several commercial organizations have been located here, but over time, everything fell into disrepair, homeless people settled in empty premises. In April 2020, NIIRK moved into the restored mansion, followed by foreign cars assigned to the embassies of the republics from Central Asia and Transcaucasia.

What kind of institution is it? Its main mission, as stated on the website, is “the development of a multilateral dialogue of peoples, cultures, religions, states, international scientific and educational organizations, civil society to strengthen peace and harmony.” The expert developments and analytics of the NIIRC are used by the Presidential Directorate for Interregional and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rossotrudnichestvo, the 5th Service of the FSB and the Foreign Intelligence Service.

For the purpose of conspiracy, the first director of the institute was the co-founder of Poisksidelki LLC, Irina Zavesnitskaya, and a year later she was replaced by her husband, the former curator of Transcaucasia, FSB General Vladislav Gasumyanov.

Friends of the Kremlin
As The Insider calculated, over the past year and a half alone, NIIRC has held 12 offsite conferences, forums and round tables in Armenia, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Transnistria, Tajikistan and Slovakia. In particular, at the invitation of NIIRK, several delegations from these countries came to Moscow for training, and this year it is planned to receive about a dozen more.

The main emphasis is on young scientists aged 20 to 40 years working in scientific and educational organizations. “Throughout the internship, we were constantly told that without Russia we would be lost and would be slaves of the West. Once, as if by chance, I was asked if I had relatives in Europe. I answered in the negative, and they lost all interest in me,” a student from Armenia told The Insider.

The main speakers at the conferences are General Gasumyanov, former head of the SVR Academy Nikolai Gribin and former Slovak Prime Minister Jan Chernogursky, chairman of the Friends of Crimea association. The Slovak often appears on Russian propaganda TV shows, and in his country he promotes a pro-Kremlin agenda and declares everywhere that the dollar will soon collapse and economic decline and collapse will come to the United States.

The presidents of the unrecognized South Ossetia, Abkhazia and representatives of Transnistria often visit Korobeynikov Lane, and last year a delegation from Vietnam visited. In addition, Gasumyanov visited Serbia, and also held talks with the leaders of the movement “For Peace and Justice of Afghanistan” (DMSA). This movement was created by senior officials of the previous administration who fled from the Taliban, and one of the first violins is played by the former chief of Afghan intelligence, Masoom Stanekzai. Apparently, the Kremlin is playing a double game: on the one hand, it welcomes the Taliban, and on the other, it flirts with their sworn enemies.

Among other partners of NIIRC is the Awami party from Pakistan. Since its founding in 1986, the party has been oriented towards Moscow and was the only political force in Pakistan to support Soviet aggression in Afghanistan.

A source of The Insider in the NGO “Veterans of Foreign Intelligence”, who asked not to be named, said that General Trubnikov, to whom a memorial plaque was installed on the building of the institute, was well acquainted with the leadership of the Awami when he worked in the residency of the KGB PGU in Islamabad.

In February 2024, in Bratislava, NIIRC organized the conference “United Kingdom – EU – Russia – Middle East: Challenges and Prospects”. Among the speakers were Deputy Speaker of the Slovak Parliament Lubos Blaga, who accuses the United States and NATO of provoking the conflict in Ukraine, and former Austrian counterintelligence general Gustav Güstenau.

In 2019, the general was fired due to strong suspicions of ties with Jan Marsalek, the chief operating officer of the payment company Wirecard, who fled to Russia, about whom The Insider recently published another investigation

The head of the institute is Patrushev’s man in Transcaucasia
Vladislav Gasumyanov, the head of NIIRK, has been called “Patrushev’s man” for many years. This is how his career was built: in 1982, Gasumyanov worked as an instructor of the district committee of the Komsomol in Kiev, and according to the Komsomol recruitment, he was sent to the Higher Courses of the KGB of the USSR. Then the young Chekist was sent to the KGB department in Ivano-Frankivsk in Western Ukraine to fight manifestations of nationalism. In 1988, he was transferred to Nagorno-Karabakh, where the first clashes between the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities had already begun. Here he rose to the rank of deputy head of the KGB department, but when hostilities began, all representatives of the Lubyanka were removed from their posts and scattered to different departments.

In 2000, Gasumyanov ended up in the FSB in the city of Sochi, and two years later he moved to the chair of the State Secretary of the State Reserve, which at that time was headed by a friend of his youth and Putin’s colleague in the Leningrad KGB, Alexander Grigoriev. In the 1980s, KGB Lieutenant Colonel Grigoriev put on a cassock and, under the operational cover of the priest Father Alexander, directly supervised the future Patriarch of All Russia, Alexy II (Ridiger).

Through Grigoriev, Gasumyanov got acquainted with Putin’s entourage and became especially close to the then director of the FSB, Nikolai Patrushev.

After the war with Georgia in 2008, the Kremlin decided to increase its influence in Transcaucasia. Proven spy personnel were required. “Patrushev’s man” was appointed deputy head of the Presidential Directorate for Interregional and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, the backbone of which is made up of people from the special services.

The backbone of the Presidential Directorate for Interregional and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries is made up of people from the special services
On Staraya Square, the “culturologist” Gasumyanov was in charge of Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. There was information in the media that the curator grossly interfered in the presidential elections in South Ossetia and pushed the candidate needed by Moscow, Anatoly Bibilov. Moreover, Gasumyanov allegedly intimidated Bibilov’s opponents with the visit of the coach of the Russian freestyle wrestling team Dzhambulat Tedeev, nicknamed “Jabo”.

From the presidential administration, Gasumyanov moved to the chair of the chief security officer of Norilsk Nickel. In this capacity, the seconded FSB officer visited Europe and Africa and took the initiative to develop a Charter for Information Security of Critical Industrial Facilities, but most foreign companies were suspicious of this idea.

Along the way, Gasumyanov headed the security committee at the International Platinum Group Metals Association (IPGMA) and actually gained access to internal documents of the world’s largest companies operating in this industry. On the NIIRK website, the Chekist posted a photo gallery, and there is a picture of him with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

After opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan became prime minister in Armenia, the Kremlin again needed the services of the ex-curator of Transcaucasia, and NIIRC was created specifically for General Gasumyanov. “We have always treated neighboring countries with care, with love and an attempt to help them, from promoting independence to material assistance and creating institutions,” said “Patrushev’s man” in February 2023, when Russian missiles and aerial bombs destroyed peaceful cities in Ukraine.

In 2009, Bolyukh headed the Department of Operational Information (DPI) of the 5th Service of the FSB (military unit 26047), which is engaged in espionage around the world. The structure of the DPI has “European”, “Moldovan”, “Transcaucasian”, “African”, “Middle Eastern”, “Asian” and “Ukrainian” departments, where reports from the residencies flock. In addition, the DPI has succeeded in recruiting European politicians, as The Insider recently reported.

Intelligence Department succeeds in recruiting European politicians
During the events on the Maidan, Bolyukh, in a group of generals of the FSB, GRU and SVR, flew to Kyiv to save Viktor Yanukovych, but by that time the situation had turned in favor of the protesters. After the organizational conclusions, Putin removed the general from his post and sent him to Rosgeologia, which the KGB has used in its espionage activities since Soviet times.

In 2019, the leadership of Rosgeo changed: Sergey Gorkov, a graduate of the FSB Academy, became the head of the state corporation.

He brought his team of “geologists”, and Bolyukh was asked to leave. At NIIRK, the former recruiter of students supervises educational processes and likes to talk about good neighborliness: “Tactics are needed here. It is also important to take into account at what level the good-neighborliness is based: at the level of the state, the people or its elite. So you can’t do without creativity and extraordinary solutions in this matter. Templates, tracing paper are not suitable here.”

The Insider has at its disposal a list of telephone subscribers of the current head of the DPI, Lieutenant General Georgy Grishaev. In addition to his colleagues, Bolyukh’s phone number was found on the list, and it is unlikely that the generals are discussing good neighborly relations.

Together with Bolyukh, Boris Miroshnikov, an honorary employee of state security, entered the Supervisory Board. He began his service in the Directorate of Counterintelligence Operations (UKRO) of the FSK-FSB and was engaged in the development and implementation of new methods of operational-search activities. Miroshnikov created the Computer and Information Security Directorate of the FSB from scratch (now the 11th Center, military unit 68240). In 2002, the general was seconded to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and he headed the Bureau of Special Technical Measures (BSTM).

The tasks of the Bureau, in which senior positions are assigned to the FSB, include telephone wiretapping, hacking mail and tracking electronic payments of defendants in criminal cases. The founder of Euroset, Yevgeny Chichvarkin, called Miroshnikov one of the initiators of his persecution and accused him of a raider seizure of the company. In a video message to Dmitry Medvedev, the businessman called the leadership of the BSTM “a gang of pahans.”

The tasks of the Bureau, in which senior positions are assigned to the FSB, include telephone wiretapping, hacking mail and tracking electronic payments of defendants in criminal cases
In 2011, the “general-pakhan” was dismissed, and he got a job as vice president at the Citadel company. The main specialization of Citadel is the development of software in the field of information security, as well as the production of SORM (telephone wiretapping) for the needs of law enforcement agencies. Moreover, telecom operators in Russia are required to install SORM on their networks.

What functions a wiretapping specialist has in the house on Korobeynikov Lane, one can only guess. Although he likes to talk about culture: “It’s a very delicate area! It is necessary to develop culture in the highest sense of the word, when my life and cultural space would not suppress the same space of my neighbor. The most difficult task! A step to the left, a step to the right – nationalism turning into Nazism-fascism.”

Other members of the Supervisory Board include the former head of the SVR Academy, Nikolai Gribin, and the former deputy director of the FSB, Valentin Sobolev. In the 1980s, the former worked under the cover of a diplomat in Denmark and Norway in the political intelligence of the KGB PGU, then in the central apparatus of the KGB-SVR. As can be seen from his speeches, Gribin is haunted by Article 13 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which directly states that “ideological diversity is recognized in the Russian Federation” and “no ideology can be established as state or mandatory.”

Another “observer”, General Sobolev, began his service in the Tomsk department of the KGB and rose to the secretary of the party committee of the CPSU. After moving to Moscow, his career took off sharply, and soon the party secretary took the chair of the first deputy director of the FSB, and then moved to the Security Council.

In 2012, Sobolev retired with the rank of Colonel-General of the FSB, he performs a lot in front of young people, and spends his free time in the elite village of Gorki-2 in the Odintsovo district, where he has a mansion for about 120 million rubles.

Fakes and publishers
NIIRK owns Proekt LLC (conference organization) and the Eurasia Daily news agency. The agency employs well-known pro-Kremlin political scientists and all sorts of conspiracy theorists who spread fake news.

The Institute publishes three journals: “Man and the World. Dialogue”, “Perspective. Generation Search” and “Russia and the World. Scientific Dialogue”, which are distributed free of charge in the CIS countries. Constant visits abroad, conferences, presentations and publishing activities cost a lot of money. In 2022, the total assets of NIIRC amounted to 467 million rubles, and last year they decreased by 194 million rubles. However, for financial assistance, “Patrushev’s man” can always turn to his business partners, and it is unlikely that he will be refused. For example, to the head of the Pangeo Capital fund, Yuriy Kudimov, who operates investments in the amount of $1 billion.

Оба являются соучредителями ООО «УК Московское море», которое построило в Завидово элитный коттеджный поселок. У Кудимова тоже длинная шпионская биография: после окончания факультета журналистики МГУ он пошел служить в ПГУ КГБ и прошел стажировку у сбежавшего в СССР советского «крота» в МИ-6 Кима Филби.

Under the cover of a correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda, Kudimov spied in London until he was expelled from the country in 1985. Then, with a certificate of a journalist of the Novoye Vremya publication, he worked in a residency in Mexico City, and upon returning to his homeland as an officer of the personnel reserve of the SVR, he went to banking structures and at one time made good money servicing Soviet debts.

In addition to Pangeo Capital, Kudimov became one of the founders of the Kim Philby Memorial Foundation and acquired Lithuanian citizenship. European media wrote that Pangeo Capital was secretly financing “friends of the Kremlin”, but Kudimov successfully challenged these allegations in court. Nevertheless, in March of this year, the Lithuanian authorities deprived him of citizenship.

The Insider sent a number of questions to General Gasumyanov by email, but he did not respond at the time of publication.

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