Circling the Lion's Den

What Has Become of the GRU?

Two striking facts from a Czech investigation into the GRUs role in the 2014 explosions of ammunition depots in the village of Vrbetice shed light on how the GRU has developed over the years. First, investigators learned that GRU agents organized the two explosions that claimed human lives on the territory of a European country. This was part of an operation to poison Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev, thereby disrupting the supply of weapons to Ukraine. Second, it turned out that the same two GRU operatives who had attempted to poison Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom personally arranged the explosions. / April 2021 /   Read more -->


Recent Issues

The Compatriots came out
The authors of The Red Web Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan examine the shifting role of Russian expatriates throughout history, and their complicated, unbreakable relationship with the mother countrybe it antagonistic or far too chummy. / October 2019 /

The Red Web Comes to The United States
An excerpt from "The Red Web: The Kremlin's Wars on The Internet".

The Russian state and surveillance technology
The Russian blogosphere has burgeoned into a open-door sanctuary for all strands of political opinion. Predictably, it has also attracted the attention of the country's security services. Our first in a series of investigations outlining how the Russian state is now monitoring its online public.

The Kremlin and the hackers: partners in crime?
The recent Russian parliamentary and presidential elections were notable for the wide use of cyber attacks on the websites of the liberal media, as well as opposition hackers accessing officials email exchanges.

Nikita Petrov: The FSB has no concept of its own history
Nikita Petrov: The FSB has no concept of its own history Nikita Petrov, Soviet Secret Services'...

WikiLeaks case highlights crisis in journalism
WikiLeaks case highlights crisis in journalism Andrei Soldatov, Irina Borogan The phenomenal attention...

Spies in the British parliament a defector's trail?
Spies in the British parliament a defector's trail? Andrei Soldatov The story of Katia Zatuliveter,...

FSB Headquarters, Lubyanka
FSB Headquarters, Lubyanka In the late ninteenth century, Great Lubyanka Street became a street of...

Control over society: the Kremlin methods

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The New Nobility
Dispathes

Russias Pursuit of Internet Sovereignty Backfires, Again

Wednesday on March 10 was supposed to be a big day for Andrei Lipov, a 51-year-old Russian top official trusted with the Kremlins most sensitive internet initiatives. However, later the same day it became clear that a Kremlin attempt to slow down Twitter caused government websites to crash and raised new questions about its ambitious plans to regulate the internet. / March 2021 /

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Russias Secret Organizations Are Not Secret Anymore

There seems to be a global shift in the secret services world these days the Russian organizations are not that secret anymore. They do conduct secret operations, but then they routinely and inevitably get exposed the rank-and-file members involved, the departments in charge and the substances and technologies they use, at home or abroad. This has become a common practice for many of the Kremlins supposedly secret and sensitive operations, in cases from cyberattacks to poisonings. And the Kremlin and secret services seem to have adjusted to this new reality just fine. / December 2020 /

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Drink Me: The Kremlin's Long, Evil History of Poisoning Its Enemies

When German authorities announced that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, then still in intensive care at the Charité hospital in Berlin, had been poisoned in Siberia with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, the Kremlins involvement became almost impossible to deny. The Russian authorities vehemently denied the German diagnosis, which struck many as illogical. Why use a bespoke toxin, which is internationally known as poison developed and deployed by the Russian government? / October 2020 /

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Safronovs Arrest Is a New Low for Freedom of Speech in Russia

Todays Kremlin leaders live and operate in a worldview of threats, a way of life that epitomizes the notorious secret service mentality. They have simply added journalists to their lists of threats, capping a trend that began with Vladimir Putins rise to power. Now Putin has entrusted the journalist question to his security services. We should be worried. / July 2020 /

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Post-Pandemic Russia: Political and Economic Uncertainty, Lack of Proactive Leaders and Putins Falling Rating

The pandemic was not the first crisis that Russia faced this year. It arrived in the country against a backdrop of falling oil prices and Putins announcement of changes to the constitution that would allow him to remain president forever. This announcement deeply shook elites, the business community and the intelligentsia, all of whom were left wondering: would Putin turn the country into another Central Asian dictatorship with his dramatic move? / June 2020 /

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How the 1984 Scenario Failed in Moscow

It started out like a bad dream: sleepwalking into an abyss. On Saturday, April 11, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced the introduction of special digital passes in Moscow, starting on Wednesday, April 15. The panic kicked off immediately, caused by confusion and a lack of detail in the mayors decree and many Muscovites who had left the city for self-isolation in their country houses rushed back to the city. / April 2020 /

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Virus Will Pass, But Mass Surveillance Is Here to Stay

After a slow and hesitant start, the Kremlin has taken drastic measures to battle the coronavirus. It has made the Moscow region the countrys most populated area the testing ground for anti-virus political, social engineering and technical solutions. This was a conscious and calculated move. / April 2020 /

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Boris Nemtsov: a cross-border troublemaker

Five years ago Boris Nemtsov, a prominent Russian opposition politician, was shot dead on the bridge, a stones throw from the Kremlin wall. He got four bullets into his back and died instantly. In the corridors of the Kremlin Nemtsov was not remembered as the late 1990s deputy prime minister whom Boris Yeltsin didn't chose as his successor (in stead he favoured Putin), but as a politician who in the late 2000s and 2010s incessantly strolled the corridors of power in Washington DC and European capitals, succesfully lobbying for anti-Kremlin sanctions. / March 2020 /

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