Secrecy News

Russia Foreign Intelligence Service Expands

The headquarters complex of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of the Russian Federation has expanded dramatically over the past decade, a review of open source imagery reveals.

Since 2007, several large new buildings have been added to SVR headquarters, increasing its floor space by a factor of two or more. Nearby parking capacity appears to have quadrupled, more or less.

The compilation of open source imagery was prepared by Allen Thomson. See Expansion of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service HQ (SVR; Former KGB First Main Directorate) Between 2007 and 2016, as of July 11, 2016.

Whether the expansion of SVR headquarters corresponds to changes in the Service’s mission, organizational structure or budget could not immediately be learned.

Russian journalist and author Andrei Soldatov, who runs the Agentura.ru website on Russian security services, noted that the expansion “coincides with the appointment of the current SVR director, Mikhail Fradkov, in 2007.” He recalled that when President Putin introduced Fradkov to Service personnel, he said that the SVR should endeavor to help Russian corporations abroad, perhaps indicating a new mission emphasis.