This article is about a fictional representation of a real world subject.
GRU emblem

GRU emblem and sleeve ensign.

The GRU (pronounced /gruː/) or Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye ("Гла́вное Разве́дывательное Управле́ние"), meaning Main Intelligence Directorate, is a Russian military intelligence agency.


First established in 1918 by Leon Trotsky, first leader of the Red Army (first under the name RU), GRU was assigned the role of handling military intelligence and was intended to be an agency for the Soviet military. They were granted full independence from other organizations within the Soviet Union, and Lenin specifically told the other groups to not get involved with the activities of the GRU. As a result of both this as well as GRU having been infiltrated during 1919 by the Cheka, the predecessor of the KGB (State Security Committee), a fierce rivalry developed between the GRU and KGB.

Little was known about the very existence of the GRU during the time of the Soviet Union. However, its presence became well known throughout Russia after the collapse of the Soviet bloc and is still currently in existence, along with the Spetsnaz (special forces).

Spetsnaz GRU

The Spetsnaz are a special unit of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formerly the Soviet Armed Forces, under the control of GRU.

Operation Snake Eater

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

GRU soldiers

GRU soldiers, circa 1964.

During the Cold War, Colonel Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin commanded a faction of the Spetsnaz GRU in order to oppose Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. In August 1964, Volgin ordered his forces to capture nuclear weapons scientist Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov while the latter was working on the Shagohod prototype, under KGB custody in Tselinoyarsk. The Ocelot Unit were sent to carry out this task, under the command of Major Ocelot. Despite being bested in combat by CIA infiltrator Naked Snake, Volgin, and his recently-acquired ally The Boss, personally arrived in the area to extract Sokolov themselves.

Ocelot Unit

The Ocelot Unit, circa 1964.

A week later, many GRU soldiers (led by both Colonel Volgin and Major Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov) were stationed as guards in Groznyj Grad, where Sokolov was forced to complete the Shagohod. There, many GRU soldiers encountered and fought Naked Snake. A unit of GRU soldiers were also stationed in Rassvet laying in wait to ambush Naked Snake when he was waiting for ADAM, although they were killed by his "substitute," EVA. During Snake's battle with Major Ocelot at Bolshaya Past, both regular and Ocelot GRU soldiers surrounded Snake to ensure that no one interfered with the duel, though they were later driven off after being swarmed by The Pain's bees, with some of the Ocelots dying from multiple stings. Several of the GRU soldiers stationed at Groznyj Grad were later killed, either from the C3 exploding in the Shagohod hangar,[1] or from Volgin driving the Shagohod through Groznyj Grad. A surviving platoon of GRU soldiers later pursued Naked Snake and EVA throughout Zaozyorje upon discovering the wreckage of EVA's motorcycle, with a sniper contingent also lying in wait for them near the border of Rokovoj Bereg.

Post-Soviet collapse

Former Spetsnaz colonel Sergei Gurlukovich formed a private military group following the collapse of the Soviet Union, consisting of other disillusioned members. They later participated in terrorist operations during the Tanker Incident in 2007 and the Big Shell Incident in 2009. Likewise, two other former Spetsnaz members, Shotmaker and Red Blaster, proceeded to become mercenaries before they ended up joining the mercenary nations of Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land, respectively.

Notable members

Behind the scenes

Pre-Metal Gear Solid 3

GRU had been alluded to in the earlier games up to Metal Gear Solid 2, where they were part of the backstory for the characters Shotmaker, Red Blaster, as well as Sergei Gurlukovich (Shotmaker's affilation is only mentioned in the manual for Metal Gear). Sergei's daughter Olga Gurlukovich was speculated to be a member of Spetsnaz by Solid Snake after the latter narrowly evaded a round from her ballistic knife in a sneak attack, although it is not made clear whether this was part of GRU, due to Spetsnaz also being used for the various special forces in Russia.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

GRU Spetznaz first appear in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, playing a fairly major role in the game due to the main antagonist, Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin, being a high-ranking member of GRU. According to a leaked voice casting sheet for the game, the GRU soldiers were in their late twenties to mid thirties.[3]

Although both Majors Ocelot and Raikov share the same rank, they wear different insignia. The correct insignia, featuring two lines along the shoulder strap with a single middle size star, is worn by Raikov. The insignia worn by Ocelot, featuring one line along the shoulder strap with three small size stars in a triangle, and a fourth past the top point of the triangle, is that of a Soviet Captain. Similarly, both insignia have the wrong color (like all officer insignia in the game): in the game, officer shoulder straps are a branch color and the straps are gold, like soldiers and sergeant parade shoulder straps; in real life, lines along the shoulder strap (one for junior officers, two for senior officers) are a branch color, and an officer's shoulder strap itself has a uniform color for everyday uniform, which is gold on parade uniforms.

When interrogating GRU soldiers in Metal Gear Solid 3, they may claim that they are unable to swim,[4] or that they will not show their dog tags if threatened by the enemy;[5] these refer to the player's means of killing them by knocking them into deep water, and to the lack of collectible dog tags in the game, respectively. If the player interrogates a GRU soldier who lacks any useful info multiple times, the GRU soldier will deny knowing anything, curse Snake and declare that he can kill him as he'll never join the West, although he does eventually consider the freedom he has, and also wonder if it is good in the West.

Later appearances

GRU and Ocelot Unit soldiers serve as playable characters in Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus. The former game also has the player who gains the highest score in a GRU Unit during an operation gaining control of Raikov in a GRU Unit. The latter two appearances require AP Scouting via GPS (and in the case of Portable Ops Plus, a password as well). The specific passcodes varied depending on whether the game was the Japanese or American versions. The former has the passcode DAPBBAWQC while the latter has 9V8S7DVYFTR.

"A member of GRU, the intelligence wing of the Red Army's General Staff. As the military's intelligence service, GRU and the KGB are tasked with keeping a close eye on each other."
―GRU Soldier description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus

In the Naked Sample Demo for Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, shortly after a narrow crossing through Dolinovodno, a trio of GRU soldiers, presumably on patrol, are walking around an area above Naked Snake. One of the soldiers decided to smoke a cigarette, but he fumbled the box of cigarettes and it fell down a hole near Snake's position. The guard pops his head out from the hole near the root in order to search for the cigarettes, and then attempts to reach for the cigarettes, completely unaware of Snake's nearby presence. Snake then covertly helps the soldier by retrieving the cigarette box while hiding underneath his position and holding it in his reach.


The basic uniform seen in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater consists of a hooded coat and trousers, both colored in the first version of the camouflage pattern KLMK.

On the point of the pattern, it was a two-color summer pattern first released in 1960/61, and issued in limited numbers to (arguably) paratroopers, reconnaissance troops, and possibly Spetsnaz groups.

The name itself, Kamuflirovannyy Letniy Maskirovochnyy Kombinezon (KLMK), defines the nature of the pattern, translated into english as 'Camouflage Summer Deceptive Coverall'. It was a one-piece garment meant for summer use. A much simpler version of the KLMK pattern was released in 1968/69. Coined Solnechnyye Zaychiki (meaning "sun bunnies") due to its odd appearance. With this newer pattern, the coveralls found widespread issue and use.

Both patterns were a departure from earlier three-color types, and less complex. In addition, both proved to be rather popular, or at least iconic. The original KLMK was, according to at least one source, seen used by personnel into the 1980s,[6] while the "sun bunnies" pattern has endured long past the fall of the Soviet Union into modern day.

Seeing the KLMK pattern used on uniforms worn by soldiers such as those under Volgin's command would not be out of the question given the time period. The nature of the uniform however, a two-piece set versus one-piece coveralls, could be considered anachronistic.

Other parts of the basic uniform are black full-finger gloves and black "jackboots", along with a black, single-opening balaclava. The telnyashka is most likely worn as well; the striped shirt being an icon of the soviet military, and plainly visible on members of the Ocelot Unit (specifically with black stripes, indicative of Naval Infantry (Marines)).

Basic equipment includes a black leather belt with load-bearing suspenders. On the belt, there is a pistol holster, a canteen, and a bayonet sheath. Typically, the CHICOM (CHInese COMmunist) chest rig is worn, colored black. Its capacity is six AK-magazines across the three main pouches and two grenades each with its own pouch.

Regarding weapons, the basic load includes one (1) Makarov pistol and one (1) 6X3 Bayonet (AKM Type I; introduced in 1959, seen in-game). Beyond these, the AK-47 rifle is standard, along with RGD-5 hand grenades. Other weapons, such as M-37 shotguns, vz.61 Skorpion submachine guns, and RPG-7 rocket launchers, and ballistic shields can also be seen in use.

Lastly, there are other variations to this uniform seen in-game such as radios and back-packs. None of the sentries appear to have any visible unit markings aside from one particular grunt who has a "J" on his balaclava.

Notes and references

  1. ^ Several of the soldiers were seen caught in the explosions, as well as four of them moving slowly afterwards before one of them collapsed while alight in flames from the explosion)
  2. ^ Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (script), Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001)
    Olga: (Her face still upraised) Not too shabby, is it? New York, I mean? // Olga delivers her line with a flourish, she is seeking to divert Snake’s attention with the performance and she succeeds. Snake’s watchfulness falters for an instant at her sudden change of mood. Olga points the grip of the knife towards Snake and pulls the inset trigger. The chamber concealed within the grip propels a single round at Snake. Snake, having noticed the sudden jerk of Olga’s tricep, bends backward to dodge the bullet. // Snake: ! (gasps as he moves out of the bullets way) // Having forced Snake’s attention away from herself, Olga immediately conceals herself, leaving the knife to lie where it fell. She pulls out the Usp [sic] form behind her back with a fluid motion. Snake regains his balance and quickly finds his own cover. The cloud covers the moon and the rain starts to fall again. Olga turns her face to the sky, catching the rain. // Olga: And that brings our tour to its conclusion! // She cries from the shadows // Snake: Scout knife with a surprise - - you a Spetnaz? [sic] // Olga: I think you deserve a little credit. No one’s ever dodged that shot of mine... // Olga: But no one gets lucky twice, either.
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3 voice casting sheet [1][2]
  4. ^ This is revealed if Snake interrogates some of the soldiers. ("A lot of us, we can't swim.")
  5. ^ This is implied if Snake interrogates some of the soldiers. ("Even threatening... won't show their dog tags" )
  6. ^ Camouflage Uniforms of the Soviet Union and Russia by Dennis Desmond (pp. 88).



See also

External links