GRU SV-8 can be traced back to the 1920s, and was originally Stalin's tool for the investigation of occult power. Though it had access to certain artifacts and books from the imperial era, and had little early success, it managed to survive the Great Purges. During World War II, they fought the Karotechia in their own secret war along the Eastern Front. During the Cold War, they worked against America, and knew the true mission of Majestic-12, which they tried to infiltrate.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, SV-8 has become a shadow of its former self. Though part of the Russian government, they had long ago become hidden from oversight. That means dwindling funding and few new recruits.
Details of a 1933 GRU SV-8 investigation can be found here.
Inside Soviet Military Intelligence by Viktor Suvorov (assumed name), GRU defector.
Spetsnaz: The story behind the Soviet SAS by "Viktor Suvorov"