Staunton, October 19 – Russia’s special services kill their opponents for only three reasons, Yury Felshtinsky says, when Moscow views the individual as a traitor, when the opponent is seeking power, and when big money is involved; and they do so abroad as well as at home because they are confident they can get away with murder.
The c-author (with the late Aleksandr Litvinenko who was one of their victims) of Blowing Up Russia about the 1999 apartment bombings Vladimir Putin organized but blamed on the Chechens in order to restart the war against Chechnya and boost his power talks about this in an interview with Prague’s Denik N (ehorussia.com/new/node/19501).
Litvinenko, Skripal and perhaps Berezovsky were killed by the Russian organs for the first reason, he says. Moscow viewed them as traitors. Boris Nemtsov and Anna Politkovskaya were killed for seeking power. (The latter was planning to run for Chechen president.) And many have been killed for big money.
According to Felshtinsky, Russian intelligence services act so boldly in this way because they “know that they can do so completely without facing any chance of being punished … The Russian terrorists know that if they are caught, in the end, they will be freed or exchanged. And if they aren’t, they will be openly rewarded.
That this is true within the Russian Federation is possible because behind the security services stands the Russian state and “above all President Vladimir Putin, himself having been a former officer of the KGB and the former director of the FSB.” Abroad, it often happens because Western countries don’t recognize what they are up against.
The EU and the US talk about the need to counter Russian influence, but that isn’t the real challenge they face. Felshtinsky says. Indeed, for them to think otherwise is “the chief strategic mistake of the West. In Soviet times, everyone knew that the USSR was an enemy. Today, no one (or almost no one) considers Putin to be an enemy.”
But Putin is a much more serious and insidious enemy than was the Soviet Union” because the Soviet government had control over the KGB by means of the communist party. The Russian Federation doesn’t control the FSB: its government is instead controlled by it. And that “represents a mortal threat for all humanity.”
The necessary precondition to opposing it is understanding that it is a threat and why. “The EU and the US unfortunately do not have such an understanding. Russia, as a state seized by the FSB today is the enemy of Western democracy. The sooner we understand this, the easier it will be for us to struggle with our common opponent.”