Vyacheslav Trubnikov (1944-2022) spent 42 years of his life in the public service of the Soviet Union and Russia – in the KGB of the USSR, the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia and Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Trubnikov served as Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service from January 1996 to May 2000; he was the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to India from 2004 to 2009. It is impossible to overstate General Trubnikov’s contribution to the restoration of the Russian foreign policy apparatus after the collapse of the USSR. No less important is his role in establishing a long-term friendly relationship with India, as well as in maintaining Russia’s position in the field of international military-technical cooperation.
Trubnikov was born in Irkutsk into the family of an aircraft factory worker evacuated from Moscow. In 1961 he graduated from the Physics and Mathematics School at the Lomonosov Moscow State University with a gold medal. In 1967, Vyacheslav Ivanovich graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations with a diploma of an assistant in the countries of the East – with knowledge of Hindi and English.
After graduating from the university, Vyacheslav Trubnikov entered the service of the KGB of the USSR – in the First Main Directorate. In 1971-77. worked in India and Bangladesh, in 1977-84. – in the central office. From 1984 to 1990 he again served in South Asia. Returning to Moscow in 1990, he headed the department of South Asian countries at the PGU of the KGB of the USSR. In the new Russia, in 1992, he became the first deputy director of the Foreign Intelligence Service. In 1996-2000 served as director of the Foreign Intelligence Service.
In 2000, Vyacheslav Ivanovich moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he became the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia for CIS Affairs in the rank of federal minister. From 2004 to 2009 – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to India – in the same place where he previously worked through the KGB.
After leaving the public service, Vyacheslav Trubnikov did not stop dealing with issues of international politics and security. From October 2009 until his death, he held the position of senior researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations named after E.M. Primakov of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was a member of the PIR Center Council.
Vtacheslav Trubnikov believed that conflicts with the use of nuclear weapons could be avoided. “As long as nuclear weapons are in the hands of responsible regimes – whether it be military or democratic – there can be no military conflict using nuclear weapons.”
Vyacheslav Ivanovich has always been open to dialogue with the younger generation of experts and practitioners. He readily expressed his own vision of the future of international relations, intelligence. In 2019, at the PIR Center International School on Global Security Issues Vyacheslav Trubnikov said: “I see the future of intelligence as more and more difficult, since more and more tasks will arise before it. Up to this day, two points of view are fighting in intelligence. The first is “technical means will solve everything that is needed”, the second is that without human intelligence, that is, undercover intelligence, it is impossible to see the world as it actually develops. I am a supporter of the second point of view. We can photograph anything from space. I myself saw photographs taken by American satellites 30-40 years ago – they showed the footprints of our sentry boots at the naval base in Murmansk. Just imagine what a unique quality of photography! But no one can tell from this picture who was wearing these felt boots, or where and why he went. In order to know why, you need to penetrate into the most important thing – into the kitchen (consciousness) of the leadership of the country that is your potential enemy. You need to understand the motives that guide them. The sovereignty of any state from time immemorial rested on scouts. Therefore, intelligence will not die – it will develop in accordance with the requirements that the country’s political leadership will impose on it.”
Key articles written by Vyacheslav Trubnikov