Saturday, November 25, 2023

In Last Year, Russia’s Siloviki have Dramatically Expanded Efforts to Recruit Journalists, Businessmen and Recent Emigres, Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 23 – Because of the war in Ukraine, Russia’s siloviki simultaneously are under pressure to recruit more people from various groups to serve as informers or agents and feel less constrained from using both carrots and sticks in increasing amounts to achieve their goals, expert observers say.

            Not all of these attempts are successful, and as a result, journalists and analysts who follow the Russian security agencies are in a better position to describe both how the siloviki operate in this regard and why they have selected certain groups as particular targets, according to a new article on the Cherta portal (

            As in the past, the siloviki use both “carrots” and “sticks” to recruit people; but in the last year, they have more often turned to sticks because the organs now that they can bring charges against almost anyone for incautious words about the war or other “skeletons in the closet” almost everyone has.

            “After the beginning of the war,” investigative journalist Andrey Soldatov says, “the siloviki became tougher and cruder.” He says that this has happened because “Russia is in a state of war and the employees of the organs can do much more than they could during times of peace.” They feel totally justified for anything they do that helps the war.

            Moreover, he and other observers continues, the siloviki have expanded their efforts beyond activists and journalists to businessmen who can help the Kremlin end run Western sanctions and to members of the recent wave of emigres from Russia who can be used as a kind of “substitute” for Russian spies expelled from some Western countries.

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