SVR is short for Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki or the “Foreign Intelligence Service”. It was founded in 1991 after the demise of the Soviet Intelligence wing of the KGB. The Soviet Union's Committee for State Security dissolved along with the USSR in late 1991. Most of its assets and activities continued through several separate organizations.

Headquartered in Moscow, the SVR has offices in Russian embassies, consulates and trade establishments throughout the world. As with its predecessor, the First Chief Directorate of the KGB, it is likely that the SVR continues to be composed of separate Directorates, and Services:

  • Directorate S, which is responsible for illegal agents (those under deep cover) throughout the world.
  • Directorate T, responsible for the collection of scientific and technological intelligence.
  • Directorate K, which carries out infiltration of foreign intelligence and security services and exercises surveillance over Russian citizens abroad.
  • Service I, which analyzes and distributes intelligence collected by SVR foreign intelligence officers and agents, publishes a daily current events summaries for the Politburo, and assess future world developments.
  • Service A, which is responsible for planning and implementing active measures.
  • Service R, which evaluates SVR operations abroad.

The Foreign Intelligence Academy is the main training establishment for the SVR. The operational core of the SVR is eleven geographical departments, which supervises SVR employees assigned to residencies abroad. These officers, or rezidenty, operate under legal cover, engaging in intelligence collection, espionage, and active measures. Although SVR personnel frequently use diplomatic cover when assigned abroad, the SVR frequently uses journalists for cadre work, and many SVR intelligence officers consider it one of the best covers.

The SVR is represented on the Security Council and the Defense Council. It participates in the work of various interagency groups and commissions.

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