Staunton, August 24 – During the Cold War, Western officials sometimes joked that “we send diplomats to the Soviet Union, and Moscow treats them like spies, while they send us spies and we treat them like diplomats.” It was never quite that bad – in either direction -- in the past, but there are indications that it may be becoming exactly that now.
Igor Eidman, a Russian sociologist who comments for Deutsche Welle and other outlets, points out that “present-day Stirlitzes to Germany don’t come under cover of night,” have elaborate cover stories or use false passports (gordonua.com/blogs/eydman/pereezd-yakunina-v-germaniyu-trevozhnyy-signal-on-legalno-edet-rukovodit-odnim-iz-vazhneyshih-shtabov-gibridnoy-voyny-319179.html).
Instead, the commentator says, they arrive completely openly if the case of Vladimir Yakunin, a Soviet and then Russian intelligence officer with 22 years in the business, was processed by the German embassy in Moscow and given the right to live and work in Germany quite openly.
It would be interesting to know “whether he wrote on his application: ‘The goal of the trip is work as a Russian spy and agent of influence in Berlin.’ But jokes aside, Yakunin’s move to Germany” in such an open way “is a warning sign,” Eidman says.
Yakunin, completely legally, is going to lead one of the most important staffs of the hybrid war, that is, the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute,” an organization which “on the one hand supports the attacks of the ultra-right n democracy and, on the other, runs a network of agents of influence in the European political and business elite.”
Putin would not have sent someone of that rank if the Kremlin leader weren’t planning for him to launch a major initiative, in this case, likely involving using Yakunin’s own money, acquired while he was head of Russian Rail not only to win a political reprieve from Moscow but also to corrupt European elites and to watch over the wealth Putin and his people have in Europe.
Moreover, Eidman says, “it is completely probable that [Yakunin] will supervise the enormous investments of the Putin band in German business which gives it not only many millions in income but also serious political influence,” influence Moscow hopes to use to undermine European integration.
“For this,” the commentator says, “new flows of dark funds and reliable people” who can keep track of them are requirements. And consequently, Eidman concludes, “it was with this goal that Putin sent to Germany his old Chekist comrade in arms.”
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