By now, readers have no doubt heard about how the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia has been inviting Russian employees of the beleaguered British Council to come down to the station for a little talk late at night. Naturally, the evil Western press organs – stooges of Anglo-American imperialism – have been spinning these innocent chats as illegal interrogations and crude efforts at intimidation of innocent Russian citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth! In a press release dated 16 January 2008 (but, strangely, not yet available on the FSB’s own Russian-only website, which appears not to have been updated since 15 January), the Public Relations Center of the FSB of Russia explains it all, in glorious Russian officialese:
“With the aims of safeguarding Russian citizens from possibly being pulled in the capacity of an instrument into the provocational games of the Britons, organs of the Federal Security Service have begun to conduct clarificational work among Russian citizens – employees of that organization on the situation taking shape around the British Council, and the position of the organs of power of Russia in relation to branches of this organization in the Russian regions.”
There you have it. We should mention that in our vain search for this statement on the FSB website, we discovered another announcement – that the FSB is holding an annual contest for “the best creations of literature and art on the activity of the organs of the Federal Security Service”. We nominate the above press release for this year’s prize.