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Enlisting Next Generation Siloviki

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KGB methods are back in action

Grigory Pasko, journalist

Echo Moskvy and Kasparov.Ru are both reporting a story about an attempt by an FSB officer to “recruit” a student and opposition activist at Moscow State University, threatening to expell him from the school under extremism charges if he did not cooperate and become a Kremlin turncoat within the student organizations he was a part of.  The student in question, Alexander Saveliev, a third year philology major, says that the officer introduced himself, flashed an ID under the name of Andrey Fedorov, and said that he was on an investigation on behalf of FSB Centre “E” to gather info on the activities of the Oborona and Solidarity student movements.

Russia’s spy services sure have a maniacal gravitation toward cryptic abbreviations… I’ve seen Service “R”, Administration “B”, and Protocol “X,” and now we have this Centre “E” looking after our country’s children.  As the bloggers would say, “Rzhunimagu!” [ROFL–Trans.]


Unfortunately, this enlistment by blackmail is far from the first sign we’ve seen of the FSB’s clumsy interest in Oborona – let usrecall the incessant detainings of Oleg Kozlovsky and his forced conscriptioninto the beloved army. And, in general, the attempted enlistment of the student leader Saveliev was not the first time we’ve seen the FSB disproportionate interest in tracking those who, in the opinion of thedefenders of the current power, could potentially threaten this power. So what’s their response to this non-conformist thinkg?  The reinvention of old KGB methods of blackmail and kompromat, approaching the opposition (and even those who may one day become the opposition) with monotonous, shopworn, and primitively ineffective scare tactics.

In the comment forums on this story I have seen someone call this “Andrey Fedorov” fellow a “degenerate.”   But where do they get this idea?  From his looks?  Russia has hundreds of such spooks. His heavy-handed ways of working with a student protestor? He’s not the one who came up with this brilliant idea.  The FSB could plausibly say that “Andrey Fedorov” has nothingwhatsoever to do with “the agency.”  But if this is the case, it is precisely”the agency” that would be responsible to take this nut down and withdraw him from field operations.

In my opinion, if it weren’t Mr. Fedorov, it would have been another.  A long time ago I noticed that whenever an organization is called upon to supposedly “ensure the security of the state,” you end up with – for lack of more gentle descriptions – a bunch of fringe elements who don’t have it all together upstairs.  In short, my friends, I am deeply worried about the real security for me, my family, and my country.  If “the agency” is perpetually dedicating its resources to the enlistment of false spies, then this means only thing:  the real dangerous elements of our society are freely roaming the country, busy doing their dastardly deeds.  When we have arrived to a point where the most wanted “extremists” and “terrorists” are harmless students like Oleg Kozlovsky and Alexander Saveliev, this means that the real terrorists can sleep easy.