Friday, April 19, 2019

FSB Officer Warns West about Repression in Russia While Continuing to Work in Moscow

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 19 – Many officers of the KGB in Soviet times and the FSB in Russian ones have defected and described how their agencies operate and are used by the Kremlin to repress all opposition; but now, an FSB officer who is still on active service in the Russian Federation has chosen to do so to Radio Svoboda, understandably on condition of anonymity.

            The anonymous officer tells the station’s Dmitry Volchek that he had “long suspected that he was working in ‘a system’ which was strengthening the totalitarian structure of society,” but he had his eyes opened when he read Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism (

            When he was first hired by the FSB, the man says, he felt a certain “euphoria.” But later he “understood that the goal of this agency’s messing around was the preservation of power and the struggle against dissidence.” But his full understanding came with the reading of Arendt’s book, which showed he was “strengthening a secret totalitarian structure” underlying the regime.  

            The officer said he decided to speak about this because Russia is “skittering back to Sovietism of the worst kind” and many are deceived about that.  “For a small amount of carrots, “they have become slaves;” and they don’t even recognize what is going on. Tragically, there are ever more Russians prepared to snitch on others.

            Snitching doesn’t work with every group, he continues. It doesn’t with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a group he worked with “long before the ban … The official version is that this is a totalitarian sect of extremists. In fact, these are people who because of the strength of their faith are not affected by propaganda and can’t be recruited.”

            “The system sees them as a threat, since they are organized and independent … and their leadership is in the US.” Moscow is fighting with them because they “potentially threaten the powers that be, and hardly because they refuse to give blood for transfusions.”

            As for the Russian Orthodox Church, the FSB officer says, that denomination is “almost our branch.” They cooperate all the time and appointments to senior church positions are coordinated with the FSB.

            The officer said he didn’t know of any “convinced” anti-Putinists in the organs but cynics and hypocrites were common. If anyone said anything negative about Putin, others would raise their eyebrows in surprise and then turn the offending officer in.

            He said that the organs could penetrate just about any organization or group and that they “listen, watch, read and document” everything.  “The technology and possibilities to do so are now very good, and there are practically no limitations as far as the territory of Russia is concerned.” He says people should avoid using VKontakte and Tor.

            Because of the FSB, the officer says, he does not see any potential for a challenge to the regime” (emphasis supplied).  Nor are people within the organs especially unhappy: Most are well paid, and few are prepared to be dissidents or to violate the rules on travel and the like.

            The officer concludes by saying that “I would like that all our ‘agents’ understand that they are ordinary stoolies and that our country in less than five minutes could be North Korea. The only real enemy of Russia is the system of special services which has become the state.”

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