Russia has a variety of open source intelligence (OSINT) programs that are used to gather information from publicly available sources. These programs are typically used by government agencies and military organizations to gather information on potential threats, as well as to monitor the actions of other countries and non-state actors.
One of Russia’s main OSINT programs is the Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and the protection of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation. The FSB is known to use a variety of tactics to gather information, including the use of human intelligence (HUMINT) assets, as well as the monitoring of social media and other online platforms.
Another key Russian OSINT program is the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which is the military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The GRU is responsible for the collection of military and political intelligence, and is known to use a variety of tactics to gather information, including the use of cyber operations and the use of satellite imagery.
In addition to these programs, Russia also employs various other intelligence agencies like Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Federal Protective Service (FSO), and Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) which also gather information through OSINT methods.
It’s important to note that Russia like many other countries, does not officially acknowledge the existence of these OSINT programs, so information about their capabilities and methods is often speculative.
“Federal Security Service,” GlobalSecurity.org, accessed January 27, 2023, https://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/world/russia/fsb.htm
“Main Intelligence Directorate,” GlobalSecurity.org, accessed January 27, 2023, https://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/world/russia/gru.htm
“Inside the Kremlin’s Secret Intelligence Machine,” The New York Times, October 2, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/02/world/europe/russia-intelligence-agencies.html