On Monday, the Russian independent news site The Insider reported on the dissatisfaction bordering on despondency being voiced by a number of GRU officers who were among those expelled in the West’s crack-down following the start of President Putin’s so-called “special military operation.”

The news agency published a heavily redacted copy of a letter supposedly sent to the Kremlin and provided to it by a contact within the Presidential Administration.

The letter lists the grievances of 11 unnamed GRU operators. The article took great delight in highlighting that it had received the document the day before, Sunday Nov. 5 – which is celebrated as “Military Intelligence Day.”

While celebrations were taking place in GRU headquarters on Khoroshevskoye Shosse in Moscow to recognize the accomplishments of GRU generals, for those intelligence officers who had been expelled from Europe the occasion was far from festive.

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Screenshot of the redacted letter to the President

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In the letter, which was signed by the 11 GRU officers, they complain that they face a dearth of suitable employment opportunities combined with lack of available spaces for their children in “appropriate” schools and kindergartens in Moscow.

It also draws attention to the offense taken by one officer whose wife was told to apply for a job as a pizza delivery driver if she needed money.

The former spies also bemoan their treatment at the hands of Russian journalists who, as they see it “fail to adequately portray the heroic deeds of their fallen comrades from the GRU assault brigades in Ukraine.”

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They go on: “… media outlets have published articles that accuse the officers of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation of incompetence and inaction, sometimes even gross unprofessionalism.

“Some online commentators have gone so far as to claim widespread drunkenness and debauchery within the leadership of Russia's Military Intelligence, as well as a deliberate distortion of information provided to the Ministry of Defense and the government in the lead-up to the special military operation in Ukraine.”

The Insider article then enumerates instances of historical failures of the GRU and also “successes” they achieved in the run up to and in the early days of the “special military operation” as well as a list of GRU “heroes” who had died on operations in Ukraine and elsewhere.

The article goes to some lengths in contradicting the official accounts of many of these who were awarded military decorations, such as “Hero of Russia, for their “selfless sacrifice.”

At the end of the letter, the authors complain that they were expelled from prosperous Europe at the start of the “special military operation.” The letter says: “… the countries of the European Union succumbed to the influence of their overseas masters and declared diplomatic warfare against our country.

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“Many intelligence officers, who were performing a challenging and often risky service in the diplomatic missions of the Russian Federation, were forced to leave European countries.”

They complain that following “the unexpected departure from diplomatic missions” they were told that they would be looked after and that everything would be sorted out in the near future. In fact, they, their wives and children have received no help at all, they claim.

After Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the UK and EU countries expelled almost 700 Russian diplomats of which some estimates say nearly half of them were intelligence officers of the GRU, SVR, and FSB.

This mass expulsion followed another extensive clear out “diplomats” from the US and EU in 2021 many of whom have also not been adequately “resettled.”

Efforts to find positions for the expelled officers in other Russian embassies around the world have met with little success. The majority of intelligence posts are filled either by other GRU agents or those from the SVR and FSB – there is certainly no space for several hundred “redundant” officers.

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As part of its investigation The Insider tried to get comments from some of those named in the letter, who either refused to comment or claimed that they had not signed such a letter.

One who did make an observation said “it's not the officers themselves, but their wives who are stirring the pot.”

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