Putin Wants to Restore GRU Name to Military Intelligence

(Bloomberg) -- President Vladimir Putin called for restoring the traditional GRU name to Russia’s military-intelligence agency, which Western governments blame for election meddling, hacking and poison attacks.

“It’s unknown where the word ‘intelligence’ went,” Putin told a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the organization, according to Russian news agencies. Originally founded at the dawn of the Soviet era, the Main Intelligence Directorate, known by its Russian abbreviation GRU, was renamed in 2010 as the Main Directorate, or GU, of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

The new name hasn’t stuck, however. U.S. and European officials continued to use the GRU abbreviation earlier this year in accusing the agency of involvement in cyber attacks in the U.S. and the poisoning of a former Russian agent in the U.K. in March.

“As commander-in-chief, I know your unique capabilities -- I say that without any exaggeration -- including in conducting special operations,” Putin told the gathered officers, the official RIA Novosti agency reported.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.