Hunt for informers in Russia’s ‘Domestic Security Wars’


A long list of foreign nonprofit groups has been declared “undesirable” and a threat to Russia’s national security, including a London-based outpost of Ms. Natalia Gryaznevich’s organization, Open Russia, The New York Times reports:

Convinced that discontent in Russia is largely the work of hostile foreign forces, Russia’s law enforcement apparatus has increasingly focused on infiltrating organizations with real or imagined links to foreign organizations and governments, said Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russia’s security system at the Institute of International Relations in Prague.

The hunt for informants, he said, “has become much more focused” than it was in the Soviet Union, when the K.G.B. padded its roster with people who passed on useless office gossip and domestic tittle-tattle. The emphasis today, he said, is on finding informers who might have real inside information about terrorist groups like the Islamic State as well as peaceful foreign groups that promote democracy, which the Kremlin views as a dangerous threat.

Viktor Voronkov, the director of the Center for Independent Social Research in St. Petersburg, told the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta early this year that four members of his staff had told him of recruitment approaches by the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., the successor of the K.G.B, The Times adds:

Contacted last week, he said he had not heard of any further attempts but assumed that many more of his employees had been approached. “Believe me, it is rare that people report such things,” he said, adding that many of those who are approached are asked to sign nondisclosure agreements.

The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs hosts a book discussion on “Russia’s Domestic Security Wars,” addressing President Vladimir Putin’s methods of staying in power.

Panelists: author Peter Reddaway, political science and international affairs professor emeritus at GWU; Thane Gustafson, professor and undergraduate studies co-director of the Georgetown University Department of Government; and Robert Orttung, associate research professor of international affairs at GWU.

11 a.m. – September 6, 2018. Venue: GWU Elliott School, 1957 E Street NW, Room 505, Washington, D.C. RSVP

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