All GRU organs which are not directly concerned with the provision or processing of intelligence material are considered as support services. It is not possible for us to examine all of these, but we will simply take briefly the most important of them.
The Political Department is concerned with the ideological monitoring of all GRU personnel. The military rank of the head of the political department is lieutenant-general and again he is a deputy to the GRU chief. As opposed to any other political departments the GRU political department is made up not of party officials but of professional intelligence officers. There are also several other differences. All political directorates and departments of the Soviet Army are subordinated to the chief political directorate of the Soviet Army, which is at the same time one of the Central Committee departments. The GRU political department, however, is subordinated directly to the Central Committee administrative department. The political department of the GRU has considerable weight in Moscow, especially as regards staff movements, but it has no right to interfere in intelligence work. It exerts practically no influence on the activities of overseas branches of the GRU. Overseas the residents are personally responsible for the ideological monitoring of their officers.
The Personnel Directorate is directly beneath the chief of the GRU. The head of the directorate, a lieutenant-general, is also a deputy to the chief of the GRU. The directorate is staffed only by intelligence officers who, in common with officers of the procurement and processing organs, the political department and other branches of the GRU, regularly go abroad for a period of several years and then return to work at domestic postings.
The personnel directorate has exceptional influence both in the GRU and outside. It directs the movements of all officers, not only inside the GRU, but in a number of satellites, in fleet intelligence, intelligence directorates of military districts and groups of forces too, and also in the intelligence services of Eastern bloc countries.
The Operational/Technical Directorate is concerned with the development and production of all espionage equipment and apparatus. Within its dominion fall several scientific research institutes and specialised undertakings. On the orders of the procurement organs the directorate prepares equipment for secret writing and micro-photography, several kinds of dead letter-box, radio appliances, eavesdropping material, armaments and poisons, to name but a few. Its head is a lieutenant— general, although he is not classed officially as a deputy.
The Administrative/Technical Directorate is in charge of foreign currencies and other items of value, gold and diamonds, for example. This directorate is the currency middle-man between the military industrial commission and the operational users. It controls all the currency resources of the GRU and also carries out secret speculative operations on the international market. Possessed of colossal currency resources, it frequently uses them in order to exert secret pressure on individual businessmen, statesmen and sometimes even on whole governments. No less important, it is responsible for the growth of capital belonging to the GRU and for the acquisition of 'clean' currency.
The Communications Directorate deals with the organisation of radio and other communication between the GRU and its overseas units. Needless to say, it controls several powerful reception and transmission centres of its own, but should the need arise to secure special channels of communication, in case of a worsening of operational conditions, for example, then it can make use of the services of the cosmic intelligence directorate, communicating with illegals and agents by means of GRU satellites.
The Financial Department: unlike the administrative/technical directorate, the financial department deals only with Soviet money, not with foreign currency. The financial department carries out legal financial operations in the Soviet Union.
The First GRU Department (Passport) studies passport regulations worldwide. In the pursuit of this esoteric duty it has the greatest collection in the world of passports, identity cards, driving licences, military documents, passes, police documents, railway, air and sea tickets. The department keeps maps of many thousands of frontier posts, customs and police posts, and so on. The department can at any moment say what documents are required at any given control point in the world, what sort of questions are asked, and what stamps are to be put on the passports and other documents. Within a few hours, it can forge the passport of any country to conform with the latest changes in the passport and visa regulations of that country, having at its disposal hundreds of thousands of blanks for new passports, identity cards and driving licences for every country in the world. In my experience, the preparation of the papers which will preserve one's true identity can be done in a very short time.
The Eighth GRU Department is the most secret of all the top secret units of the GRU. The eighth department possesses all the GRU's secrets. It is here that the enciphering and deciphering of all incoming and outgoing documents is carried out.
The Archives Department is possibly the most interesting of all the departments. In its cellars are millions of personal details and files on illegals, domestic officers, undercover residencies, successful recruitment of foreigners (and unsuccessful ones), material on everyone from statesmen and army heads to prostitutes and homosexuals and designers of rockets and submarines. In every file lies the fate of an individual, in every file there is an unwritten novel.