Friday, March 5, 2021

FSB Says Kaliningrad Man Planned Terrorist Act Because He ‘Hates Russian Powers’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 3 – Typically, the FSB says that those it has blocked from carrying out terrorist attacks on Russian territory are animated by radical ideologies such as Islamism, but now in what must be frightening to the powers that be, it has announced that a man it arrested for such plans was animated “by motives of hatred for the existing powers that be.”

            The security agency said that the Kaliningrad man not only had materials needed to make a bomb but literature attacking “the Russian organs of executive and legislative power” but also was working to recruit accomplices (

            That must send chills down the spine of many in power who can far more easily imagine that Russians are animated by hatred of those in office rather than by more abstract ideologies. Indeed, it is entirely possible that the FSB has changed its reporting in this direction to ensure that it will continue to enjoy the full backing of those nominally in charge.

            This Kaliningrad incident was not the only one today that speaks to the issue of FSB claims versus reality and of the FSB’s relationship not just to the powers that be but to the Russian population. A Mediazone investigation highlights the growing gap between the large number of spies the FSB says it has exposed and the relative few charged with crimes.

            Every year in recent time, the FSB has reported that is has unmasks hundreds of foreign intelligence officers and their agents working in Russia – more than 3500 in all over the last decade – but only a tiny fraction of these ever appears in court.  Over the past decade, the latter have formed only 2.5 percent of the former (

            Ivan Pavlov, a lawyer who earlier worked as a Russian counterintelligence officer, says there are many explanations for this difference. Some of these “spies” are working under diplomatic cover and can’t be charged. And in other cases, bringing people to trial would involve revealing intelligence sources and methods.

            But the major reason, the one that allows the FSB to issue bold pronouncements about the number of spies and agents it has unmasked is that the intelligence service has complete freedom to decide who falls into those categories and to report whatever number it or its political masters think necessary.

            The only restrictions and they are constantly changing are secret internal rules as there is no effective law in this case. Consequently, he suggests, no one should take the FSB numbers seriously as a reflection of the reality of espionage directed against Russia but only as a measure of the fears of the authorities and of the fears the authorities hope to spread to the population.


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