State secret on electricity
How can you find out where Russia’s most secret departments are hidden in Moscow, where military units are stationed in Primorye, or where additional border posts have been installed in the Bryansk region? It is enough to find on the website of the administration of any region of Russia a document with the indigestible title “List of consumers of electrical energy (power), limiting the mode of consumption of electrical energy which can lead to economic, environmental, and social consequences.” It is in the list of these special consumers of electricity that the addresses of sensitive facilities are listed in plain text, for disclosing information about which one faces up to seven years in prison.
Inconspicuous FSO facilities in Moscow, a secret base of the FSIN external surveillance service in St. Petersburg, an ammunition depot in the Leningrad region, addresses of FSB points in Ingushetia, pretending to be “secret objects” of management’s dachas – all these places in Russia are legally classified as state secret. And all of them can be found in the lists of special electricity consumers.
On the Moscow City Hall website there is a 434-page document with a list of special electricity consumers who cannot be disconnected from the power supply under any circumstances. The file description states more briefly: “Special Group”.
The document was signed by the head of the housing and communal services department Vyacheslav Torsunov and the director of Mosenergosbyt Andrey Kovalev and approved by the mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin.
The content of most pages does not carry any secret: these are medical institutions, Russian Railways and metro facilities, communications infrastructure, federal and city authorities, police and rescuers. Another thing is the sections that include objects of the military department and intelligence services. They are amazingly frank.
For example, for disclosing information about the deployment of military units, any citizen can end up in a cell. Everything is simpler on the city hall website. The document systematizes information about all military units, institutions and organizations of the Ministry of Defense stationed in Moscow, and indicates at what addresses specific units are located. Most of these places are already known, but no one, except the Moscow mayor’s office, has made a single, and even official, register publicly available.
Moreover, anyone can, without any effort, find out where employees of the most secret departments live in Moscow, see what nondescript buildings are actually objects of the special services, and envy the taste for life of the leadership of these special services. The largest concentration of objects designed to ensure military security , protection from foreign intelligence and dangerous crime, is concentrated not in the depths of industrial zones and not in the thicket of residential buildings, but in Serebryany Bor — the thought even creeps in that this is actually a camouflage for rest areas of security forces.
Serebryany Bor is a specially protected natural area in the Moscow district of Khoroshevo-Mnevniki in the area of the Moskvoretsky natural and historical park. According to data for 2021, one hundred square meters of land there cost 34 million rubles. Despite the official ban on construction in this zone, in Serebryany Bor, as journalistic investigations have established, there are mansions Kirill Gundyaev (Patriarch Kirill), Vagita Alekperova, Yuri Trutnev. Vladimir Evtushenkov, Igor Sechin and other wealthy and influential Russians.
The ownership of some areas by law enforcement agencies was not a secret, but the document approved by Sergei Sobyanin directly stated which objects in the reserve park were connected with intelligence or counterintelligence.
Military unit 33949 with its official address at 11 Kolpachny Lane in Serebryany Bor has two facilities. What part is this Novaya Gazeta established back in 2010 – this is one of the screens of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.
The first object is the 2nd line of Khoroshevsky Serebryany Bor, property 67B. There are two buildings in Rosreestr with this address, brick buildings 1 and 5. Both were built in 2013. Building 1 is three-story, with an underground floor, with a total area of 565.3 sq. m. m, cadastral value – 99 million rubles. Building 5 is two-story, with an area of 133 sq. m. m and a cadastral valuation of 27 million rubles.
The buildings are located behind a high fence on a plot of 5000 sq. m. m with the purpose of “ensuring defense and security.” The dense greenery makes it difficult to see details in satellite images.
The second SVR facility in Serebryany Bor, judging by the register of special electricity consumers, is on the 2nd line, house 156. There is no such address on the 2nd line, the numbering ends at house 82. But there is a house 156 in Serebryany Bor on the 4th line , this is a mansion that is clearly visible on the Google satellite map. A house with this number is also present on the Yandex map, but the object is not listed in the cadastre. It can be assumed with a high degree of confidence that this is the desired object of the SVR, and a common mistake has crept into the list of Sobyanin’s “Special Group”. House 156 is located on a plot of 7500 sq. m. m, intended, as stated in the cadastral card, “to ensure defense and security.” Judging by the description, the mansion on the protected island is an administrative building.
The Ministry of Defense also acquired an important facility in Serebryany Bor and also on the 2nd line, building 43. This building belongs to military unit 66524, whose official location is the ministry building at Znamenka, 19. What kind of institution this is is unknown, the wording is “activities, related to ensuring military security” in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities does not say anything. Judging by the fact that the three-story building with an underground floor, built in 1996, with an area of 414.3 square meters. m is located on a plot of 15 acres “for the operation of a service dacha”; military security there is provided by one of the leaders of the military department. What kind of cottage is hidden in the thickets cannot be seen in the available photographs.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs also has special facilities on the island. The Federal Public Institution “Main Center for Administrative, Economic and Transport Support of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia” (GCAHITO) includes as many as three buildings. On the 4th line, 131 – a brick building with an area of 245 sq. m. m, built in 1993. The site is quite large, but Rosreestr does not show the exact area: apparently, land surveying has not been carried out. On the 4th line, 14B, the State Central Agricultural and Technical Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has two objects, but from satellite maps it is difficult to understand what they are.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs also has another dacha in Serebryany Bor. Officially, it is listed as the FKU “Country House of Receptions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs “Rusichi”” of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia.
This institution is a well-known holiday home, club and children’s camp in the village of Panskoye, Maloyaroslavets district, Kaluga region. Not at all institution website, nor the advertisement says anything about the fact that “Rusichi” have a certain division in Moscow. There are several buildings on a plot of 37 acres at 2nd line, house 37/10. What is listed as a 70/10 house – with an area of 258.3 square meters. m, built in 1926. The purpose of the site is “operation of a service dacha.”
Another secret “dacha” object of the “Rusichs” is hidden in the Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo park on Ivankovskoye Shosse, 12. According to the documents, it is a wooden building built in 1936 with an area of 263 square meters. m.
In the photograph taken twelve years ago, as in the earlier ones, this unassuming, battered building behind the same wretched fence is clearly visible.
According to local researchers, in the post-war period there were dachas either for secret service employees or for Kurchatov himself. Now, as eyewitnesses write, the site is surrounded by a “tall fence with a huge number of surveillance cameras.” Who is hiding behind him is not visible.
Where is intelligence hiding?
In addition to the well-known addresses where the headquarters of the special services are located, the document from the “Special Group” makes it possible to find outwardly inconspicuous buildings associated with intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
Here is a small outbuilding at Leningradsky Prospekt, building 5, building 8. Built in the revolutionary year of 1917, the area is slightly less than 500 square meters. m. There is no sign on the door, but thanks to the documents of the mayor’s office, it is known that the Foreign Intelligence Service has settled there. The house is listed under military unit 28178, and this is as previously reported by the Dossier Centerjust means SVR.
Sometimes the mayor’s office is extremely specific. It was previously reported that house 91 on Profsoyuznaya Street was half inhabited by intelligence officers. there were only rumors on Internet forums. Thanks to the list of objects of the Foreign Intelligence Service in the “Special Group”, one can understand that either our especially important intelligence officers actually live in this house, or a couple of apartments are used for some kind of secret operations.
The house is large, and so that the curious do not have to look for secret carriers on all floors, the mayor’s office kindly clarifies: there are spies in apartments 49 (83.4 sq. m.) and 76 (99.8 sq. m.). Both apartments come with internal parking spaces.
This is a rare case; specific apartments are almost never found on the “Special Group” list. There is only one exception – in the section of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to the document, it is impossible to disconnect apartment 15 in building 12/2 in Likhov Lane from the power supply; it is listed as the Main Center for Administrative, Economic and Transport Support.
The list also includes military intelligence facilities of the Ministry of Defense – the Main Directorate of the General Staff, which is better known under the GRU brand.
House 5/4, building 1 on 2nd Shchemilovsky Lane is an ordinary brick building in which at various times a dozen and a half commercial organizations with unknown names were registered (most of them, however, have already ceased their activities). The building is listed as military unit 28178, and this, as the Dossier Center has already written, is one of the legal entities of the GRU.
FSO throughout Moscow
Almost the largest number of objects on the list of the “Special Group” belongs to the Federal Security Service – military unit 66631. It is through this military unit, as journalists have established, that, for example, financing of construction and renovation of Putin’s palaces since 2013: Grand Kremlin Palace, residences “Novo-Ogarevo”“Barvikha-4”, “Gorki-9” and “Gorki-10”.
Some of the objects in military unit 66631 are quite predictable: the list includes all the towers of the Moscow Kremlin, Tainitsky Garden, Krymsky and Bolshoy Kamenny bridges, Alexander Garden, Vasilyevsky Spusk and other obvious places. There are many FSO addresses in other places in Moscow, which can be considered secret very conditionally: they are not advertised, but references to the placement of security officers in these buildings can be found in the public domain. But there are also unknown minks.
Teplostansky proezd, house 1 – an incomprehensible building of officially unknown purpose. It is registered with the FSO, but what it is used for was unknown for a long time. According to rumors, there was either a KGB hotel complex or a medical unit there. In 1991, the State Committee for the State of Emergency (GKChP) met almost in this very building. They say that the territory is carefully guarded – they even jam the radio signal.
In 2020 Bellingcat installedthat the complex belongs to Research Institute-2 of the FSB of Russia, which is engaged, among other things, in the development of toxic substances. And it was in these buildings that the security officers worked, secretly accompanying them on business trips. Alexei Navalny and those involved in his poisoning. At the same time, the official purpose of the land plot is “for recreational purposes.” House ⅗, building 3 in Armenian Lane, judging by open data, belongs to the Clergy House of the Armenian Church. It turns out that the FSO has settled there.
The FSO is also doing something on Stoleshnikov Lane, in the same building as “Jean-Jacques” at number 6.
Here is a still unadvertised FSO office: Sadovaya-Chernogryazskaya st., 4. Three-story house built in 1870.
There are also traces of the FSO on Nikolskaya Street, 6, in a four-story building built in 1870.
At Malaya Ordynka, 22-37, building 2, there is an old two-story house belonging to the Iversky Church. There is no sign on the house; why the FSO needs it is unknown.
Sometimes the unexpected happens. So, it turns out that the Rostec building at 10 Vernadsky Avenue belongs to the FSO – although Sergey Chemezov is not included in the number of people entitled to state protection.
Secrets of prison intelligence
The mayor’s office also did not ignore the secret department of the Federal Penitentiary Service – the Main Directorate for Supporting the Activities of Operational Units (GUODOP). Previously it was called “Management L”. This is your own intelligence service within the FSIN, whose tasks are external surveillance, as well as collecting information using technical means – both inside detention centers and colonies, and in the outside world. As veterans of the intelligence service say, the GUODOP works not only in the interests of the FSIN itself, but is also often involved by the FSB to carry out observation, search and operational-technical activities in particularly sensitive cases.
The official address of the GUODOP is in the building of the Ministry of Justice on Zhitnaya Street, but the real addresses are a state secret.
The “offices” of GUDOP are classified as civilian enterprises or private apartments. In the government order documents they are indicated as “object “P””, “object “K”” and “object “B””. However, object “P” had already been deciphered by journalists as the von Reck mansion at 64 Pyatnitskaya Street when he “ appeared” in the description of the state contract for supervision of the restoration of the building. Documents from the Moscow City Hall only confirmed that this is the same house.
Other secret addresses of prison spies are now known. There are three of them in total: on Pyatnitskaya Street (the one that was known as object “P”), on Kozhevnicheskaya Street and on Varshavskoye Shosse. Apparently, the “great conspirators” from the prison department in government orders assigned codes to objects simply by the first letters of the street names.
Object “K” is a three-story building 26, building 1 on Kozhevnicheskaya Street.
Object “B” is a complex of buildings at Varshavskoye Shosse, 15.
The most common type of building in the sections of the Moscow “Special Group” dedicated to the special services are ordinary residential buildings. Thanks to this list from the Moscow City Hall, one can judge how many there are in Moscow alone.
Here are the addresses of residential buildings assigned to the Foreign Intelligence Service, military unit 2147:
Akademika Bovchara street, house 5, building 1;
Donelaitis Avenue, 25;
Menzhinsky street, house 13, building 3;
Palekhskaya street, 21;
Altufevskoe highway, 97;
Norilskaya street, 6.
The house on Usacheva Street, 19A, building 1 is listed as military unit 33949 – also SVR.
You need to understand where the military intelligence apartments are – the “Special Group” folder will help you find out their addresses.
Military unit 77065 GRU – Petrovsko-Razumovskaya alley, 18, Kuusinen street, 6, building 13 and Koptevskaya street, 20, building 2.
A check of the residents registered at these addresses (and this is not difficult to do, since databases are regularly leaked from law enforcement agencies) showed that, most likely, there should be quite a few intelligence officers in these houses: quite often the previous place of registration turned out to be, for example, Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Military University of the Ministry of Defense. But, apparently, apartments in these houses were provided or sold not only to intelligence service employees: we also found residents who could hardly be intelligence officers or agents.
Perhaps the largest number of residential buildings in the “Special Group” are registered with the FSO:
three buildings of house 7, building 3 on Initiative Street;
house 16 on Davydkovskaya street;
houses 7 and 11, building 3 on Abramtsevskaya street;
house 37 on Novgorodskaya street;
house 8, building 1 on Michurinsky Avenue;
buildings 1 and 2 of building 10 on Vernadsky Avenue.
Most of these buildings are typical multi-storey buildings, in which, with a high degree of probability, state protection objects do not live. Some were built according to the same designs. It can be assumed that the apartments in these houses were distributed among FSO employees.
A random check of residents using data that became available to us as a result of leaks from departmental databases of the Ministry of Internal Affairs showed that the assumption was correct: for some residents of houses on Abramtsevskaya or Initiative streets, the previous place of registration was indicated in a simple but beautiful way: Moscow, Red Square, building 9. That is, the Kremlin. Several people were previously registered at addresses where security agencies hospitals or clinics are located. Most likely, these addresses were used for the formal registration of state security employees who did not have their own housing in Moscow.
An interesting feature: the “Special Group” of the Moscow City Hall includes the SVR and the Ministry of Defense, but not a single facility of the Federal Security Service is mentioned. Either they are better at keeping their secrets, or they can be safely unplugged.
Different regions have different approaches to creating lists. For example, in the St. Petersburg list of special consumers of electricity, the FSB object is a nice cottage in the resort area – on the coast of the Gulf of Finland in Solnechny on Leningradskaya Street, building 4.
There are quite a few of these “FSB objects” in the Kurortny district. Security officers are very fond of old dachas in elite places. There are six such dachas in the prestigious Sestroretsk: Lesnaya Street, 10A (with a plot of 5,000 sq. m);
Sestra River Embankment, 38;
Ermolovsky Prospekt, 13/10;
Kurortnaya street, 13;
Kurortnaya street, 10A;
Lesnaya street, 13/40.
Plus a plot in Zelenogorsk on Gornaya Street, 4.
The hotel (as indicated in the list of special objects) of the St. Petersburg FSB department is located not just anywhere, but on Kamenny Island at 2nd Berezovaya Alley, building 8 – one of the most prestigious and expensive places in the city. […]
There, on Kamenny Island, there is also a mansion of the FSB Border Department.
According to the documents, this is a “service and technical building.” The St. Petersburg administration also uncovered the safe house of the FSIN GUODOP – specialists in external surveillance and secret technical measures live on Marata Street, building 76, letter “A” and building 78, letter “E”. In the photo it is forward under the arch.
In the St. Petersburg list until 2022 one could find the so-called dacha farm of the St. Petersburg police headquarters, which almost none of the employees have any idea about – not about their honor. Officially, as follows from the documents at our disposal, these are “hotel-type premises” intended for “rest and recreation.” In a more modern version of the list of special consumers of electricity, these objects no longer exist. For example, this is an “object” in Solnechny on 2nd Borovaya Street, building 9.
But in Sestroretsk on Ermolovsky Prospekt.
Rest of Russia
There is no general standard or at least a clear algorithm for compiling lists in different regions of Russia, but they all turned out to be interesting in their own way.
Here is the Leningrad region. Not only the conventional numbers of military units are carefully indicated, but also the purpose of the structures: headquarters, barracks, communications center, ammunition depot.
In the border Belgorod region there are no facilities of the Ministry of Defense and the FSB (not counting one administrative building of the border department). In the same border Bryansk region, all the addresses of the FSB “offices” and the locations of border guards are meticulously listed, including even a “mobile temporary point” in the village of Nekislitsy. The deployment of military units in the region can be studied in no less detail.
In the Primorsky Territory, the addresses of units of the Ministry of Defense are indicated in detail and specifically, but without numbers and names of units. However, some addresses speak for themselves, such as “Knevichi airfield” or “o. Russian, Kholuai”, the location of the legendary detachment of combat swimmers.
Kamchatka – on the contrary, only military unit numbers without addresses. Feature: in the list, unlike other regions, there is not a single civilian facility, nor a single facility of the special services. Only Ministry of Defense facilities are listed as non-disabled. The Chechen Republic, judging by the list approved by Ramzan Kadyrov, is a stronghold of peace: the list includes only hospitals, schools and kindergartens – and not a single military unit.
But in North Ossetia-Alania there are “objects” of FSB control in almost every village.
Information on the deployment of military units, as well as sensitive and especially important facilities, in accordance with part one of Article 5 of the Law “On State Secrets”, refers specifically to state secrets, and their disclosure is subject to criminal liability. A more specific “list of information in the field of military, military-technical activities of the Russian Federation, which, if received by foreign sources, can be used against the security of the Russian Federation” is in FSB Order No. 547 of November 4, 2022.
Information about the Ministry of Defense, FSB, FSO, SVR, contained in open lists, as well as data about defense enterprises, critical support systems and many other objects, clearly fits into the wording of the law on state secrets and the order of the FSB, and the fact of publication of these lists with uncontrolled access to them for an unlimited number of readers – as in a textbook, in the disposition of Article 283 of the Criminal Code.
Article 4 of the Criminal Code establishes the equality of citizens before the law. This means we are waiting for 89 criminal trials – according to the number of subjects of the Federation.
According to the GAS Justice system, since the beginning of 2022, the courts have received 53 criminal cases of disclosure of state secrets (Article 283 of the Criminal Code of Russia), and court decisions have been made in 41 cases.
In 37 cases, convictions were made, one case was transferred to jurisdiction, and in three cases the cases were dismissed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution. There are no acquittals.
In all cases, cases at first instance were considered by the courts of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation or the corresponding military courts: only they can consider “regime” cases related to state secrets. In all cases, the hearings were held behind closed doors, and the information of the defendants and their lawyers was hidden.
We did not find any releases from law enforcement agencies about these cases in the public space, with one exception: in March 2023, the Kaliningrad press, citing the local FSB department, reported that the technical director of one of the Kaliningrad construction organizations was sentenced to a suspended sentence, who “disclosed secret information regarding one of the FSB objects,” which, however, did not lead to serious consequences. Well, in the lists published by regional authorities, there are hundreds of objects of the FSB and other intelligence services.
If the technical director of a construction company in Kaliningrad received a guilty verdict for disclosing the location of one “FSB facility”, it means that governors are not entitled to a discount either