Streetwise Professor

December 16, 2006

Further My Last

Filed under: Russia — The Professor @ 10:49 pm

This article by Oleg Gordievsky suggests that the analogy between the modern FSB and the oprichniki is apt:

But under Vladimir Putin, the militant element of the KGB (now known as the FSB) slowly began working to persuade the leadership to carry out such killings, according to my sources. “Too many enemies,” they said.

Those members of the FSB have a different style than in the past, however. The Communist Party was cruel, but it had its rules. The current people are like bandits — no code, no rules, hard to distinguish from the Mafia. The gangster mentality started to spread after 2000; there were assassinations inside the country, of enemies of the regime. But there were so many contract killings at the time under Putin that it was difficult to tell which were the work of the FSB and which were not. In that atmosphere, it was easy to disguise an assassination.

The FSB has also become a protection racket. Some of those in business who are willing to go along with the FSB report everything to its operatives and also give 10 percent of their profits to the KGB’s successor agency. And everyone is happy.

So in a way it’s a big criminal state. The FSB has become like the Mafia in its methods and goals.

The combination of political power, the elimination of political opponents (in the name of eliminating “enemies” or “traitors”), and mercenary motives is shared by the oprichniki and today’s FSB (and the siloviki with FSB connections) of Gordievsky’s description.

Coincidentally, it is commonly estimated that there were about 6000 oprichniki. Evgenia Albats, an expert on the FSB, estimates that some 6,000 former or current intelligence officers are in the executive [branch] and legislature. Fun(?) facts to know and tell.

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