NEWSLINK: “Was Yahoo a sanctioned FSB operation or a rogue operation?” – Jeffrey Carr/Medium

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… In 2014, Chinese cyber attacks were in the political spotlight in Washington leading up to a summit between Obama and Xi. Cybersecurity firms like Crowdstrike published attribution reports blaming the Chinese government and the Dept of Justice charged five PLA officers/hackers with acts of cyber espionage. In 2016 and 2017, Russian cyber attacks took the spotlight, with Crowdstrike and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin’s Political Meddling Revives Old KGB Tactics. Russia is returning to the playbook of the Cold War in its covert efforts to interfere with elections in the West.” – Wall Street Journal/Andrew Weiss

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Last month, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said that, during the 2016 election, the Kremlin had pulled off a ‘covert influence campaign’ that ‘was probably the most successful in recorded history.’ It has become accepted wisdom that Russia’s interference in the presidential campaign represents a fundamentally new sort of intrusion into a modern democracy’s inner workings. But the Kremlin’s efforts […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Federal Security Service Board

(Kremlin.ru – February 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin took part in an annual expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Board to discuss the FSB’s results for 2016 and the priority tasks for ensuring Russia’s national security. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. These annual FSB Board meetings give us a chance to meet and not only thoroughly analyse […]

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Interfax: Lifting of some restrictions from FSB confirms Trump’s intention to normalize relations with Russia – former FSB Director Kovalyov

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax) – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s decision to drop some restrictions imposed earlier on the issuance of licenses and permits to export computer technologies to Russia shows that the Donald Trump administration is consistent in its efforts to normalize cooperation with Russia, Nikolai Kovalyov, a State Duma deputy and former head of the Federal Security […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them” – New York Times/Andrew Higgins

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“… steeled by a dozen years in the Soviet gulag, decades of sparring with the KGB. and a bout of near fatal heart disease … Bukovsky, a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and … Putin of Russia, is not a man easily put off his stride. But he got knocked sideways when British police officers … informed him that they […]

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Golden Skepticism; Wild allegations in unverified Trump dossier fail to impress Kremlin critics and supporters alike

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – January 12, 2017) In the past 24 hours, on both sides of the Atlantic, the Internet has exploded in incredulity, responding to an unverified dossier published by BuzzFeed News, describing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s alleged relationship with the Kremlin. The 35-page report features several salacious and uncorroborated claims about Trump’s ties to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why Are the Trump Allegations Hanging Around When They Haven’t Been Substantiated?” – Lawfare/Susan Hennessey, Benjamin Wittes

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“What is one to make of the apparent inability of press and government alike to verify the allegations in the Trump dossier combined with the cache of documents’ apparent staying power? The unverified allegations against Donald Trump are not just salacious, they are specific. These are facts which should be verifiable as either true or false. …”

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A DEEP DIVE INTO THE OBAMA RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN DNC HACK (AND THEFT AND HARASSMENT)

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Subject: A DEEP DIVE INTO THE OBAMA RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN DNC HACK (AND THEFT AND HARASSMENT) Date: Sat, 7 Jan 2017 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> A DEEP DIVE INTO THE OBAMA RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN DNC HACK (AND THEFT AND HARASSMENT) BY Andrei Liakhov [Andrei Liakhov has over 20 years of experience with leading international law firms, private companies and government […]

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FACT SHEET: Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – December 29, 2016) Today, President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. Russia’s cyber activities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in U.S. democratic institutions, sow doubt about […]

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Statement by the President on Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – December 29, 2016) Today, I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election. These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Fate of Russia’s Liberals” – Stratfor

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

Russia’s economic and political problems are piling up, and they may be putting members of the country’s more liberal circles at risk. In the most high-profile arrest to be made in post-Soviet Russia – and arguably, since the 1950s – Economic Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained … on charges of bribery and extortion. … Russian authorities [said] Ulyukayev received $2 […]

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The Loyalty of Fear; Putin sends a message to the elite with the arrest of Russia’s economic development minister

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Mikhail Fishman – November 16, 2016) It was an awkward, dramatic national moment for Russia: a bonafide minister of the federal government standing in court as the defendant, facing corruption charges and promising his cooperation to prosecutors, pleading to be released on bail. The hearing ended slightly anticlimactically, with a decision to place […]

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Updates: Russian Economy Minister Ulyukayev Appears in Court on Corruption Charge

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

The longstanding minister has been formally charged on corruption allegations. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 15, 2016) Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has appeared in Moscow’s Baumansky court to face corruption allegations. Ulyukayev was charged with accepting a $2-million bribe on Tuesday, having been arrested by agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) late on Monday night. The […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Most Republicans Believe Russia Is Meddling in U.S. Election: Reuters/Ipsos Poll” – Reuters

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Most Republicans believe Russia is attempting to influence the U.S. presidential election, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll …. 55 percent of U.S. adults, including 51 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats, said they thought Russia was trying to tip the scales in the Nov. 8 presidential election …. The U.S. government has accused Russia of … cyber attacks […]

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New Russian Consensus Reflects National Masochism, Rosbalt Commentator Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 4, 2016) This year has been marked by the rise in Russia of a new “societal agreement” on three points: that the country is in stagnation and will remain so for a long time, that Putin will stay in office “until the end of life (his or ours), and that “after […]

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Expert: Putin’s Reported Plan to Restore KGB May Reflect Fear of Overthrow

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Jim Kovpak – MOSCOW, September 26, 2016) The consolidation of Russia’s intelligence agencies into a massive security ministry, in effect recreating the old Soviet KGB, is a worrisome prospect for some Kremlin watchers. The plan reportedly under discussion would merge the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s principal security agency, the Foreign Intelligence Service and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian politics. The hollow election. The lowest-ever turnout for Duma elections suggests Vladimir Putin is losing touch with his political base.

Russia Regions Map

The Economist reports on low participation in Russia’s 2016 Duma elections. … The Kremlin made every effort to ensure the elections were as sterile and low-profile as possible. It banned and harassed genuine opposition parties and their leaders. … it persuaded many that nothing depended on voters. The official turnout was 48% – the lowest ever in the history of […]

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Russian Security Services Forced to Reveal Home Searches

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 7, 2016) Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) must now inform home owners and residents if their property is searched by government agents. The FSB must notify residents 24 hours after the search has taken place, according to a new decree signed on Aug. 12. Contact can be made by post, email or fax, telephone, […]

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Angry Farmers Stage Tractor March on Moscow

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 22, 2016) Several hundred farmers from southern Russia complained of intense police harassment Monday as they entered the second day of a drive towards Moscow they are staging to raise awareness about the problem of local corruption. In the space of 24 hours, their convoy of tractors and cars was stopped […]

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NEWSWATCH: “While the world is distracted, Putin escalates his war in Ukraine” – Washington Post

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

… The … FSB, claimed … one of its officers was killed … near the de facto border between Crimea and Ukraine. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014, then backed a violent uprising in … Donetsk and Luhansk. … According to the FSB … a second attempt occurred … with support from Ukrainian artillery, killing a Russian … […]

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Confessions of a Kremlin conspiracy theorist; Let’s face it: movements inside Russia’s power structures often signal exactly what we want them to.

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – August 1, 2016) Mark Galeotti is currently Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and a visiting fellow at the ECFR, although from August he will be principal director of the Mayak Intelligence consultancy in Prague and senior researcher at the Czech Institute for International Relations. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In […]

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What Russia’s New Draconian Data Laws Mean for Users

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 14, 2016) After three years of relative silence, NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden spoke up: “[President Vladimir] Putin has signed a repressive new law that violates not only human rights, but common sense. Dark day for Russia.” For the man who fled to Russia after blowing the lid off the NSA’s unprecedented […]

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Protecting Russia’s Culture Of Terror

FSB Building file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – March 30, 2016) How an autocratic regime chooses to prosecute its dissidents can be very revealing. Consider the case of performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky, who was arrested in November for setting fire to the entranceway to Lubyanka, the infamous headquarters of the Federal Security Service in Moscow. By targeting the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Federal Security Service board

FSB Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – February 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) board to review the results of the Service’s work in 2015 and set its priority tasks for 2016. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, We are here today to review the results of the Federal Security Service’s work in 2015 and […]

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‘Why Didn’t You Run?’ – The Inside Story on the Arrest of Russian Billionaire Dmitry Kamenshchik

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – February 25, 2016) On the morning of Feb. 18, Dmitry Kamenshchik, Russia’s 27th-richest tycoon, packed a backpack with some spare clothes, a toothbrush, and shoes without laces – the essentials for a stint in prison. The billionaire owner of Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport was unemotional, says his lawyer. Ten days earlier, three current […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Euronews TV channel

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 14, 2016) The Prime Minister spoke with Global Conversation presenter Isabelle Kumar on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference Question: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for joining the Global Conversation. The Syrian issue is a priority; it dominates the international agenda. It is now believed that we are approaching a turning point, although it remains to […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Litvinenko’s poisoning fits into Putin’s power play. Everything Vladimir Putin has done to reassert Russian power has seemed farfetched, outlandish and inconceivable-until he did it” – Maclean’s (Canada)/Michael Petrou

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NEWSLINK TASS: “Russia’s ex-PM asks FSB to launch criminal proceedings against Chechen leader”

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Half of Russians don’t trust conclusions made by British in Litvinenko case

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(Interfax – January 31, 2016) Over half of Russians (53%) believe the London court had no real grounds to accuse Russian officials of involvement in the death of former Federal Security Service official Alexander Litvinenko, Levada Center has reported. The poll, which surveys 1,600 respondents, was conducted in 137 populated areas of 48 regions of Russia on Jan. 22-25. The […]

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Antony Penaud: Reflections on the Litvinenko case

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Subject: Reflections on the Litvinenko case Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud completed his DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2000. His essays on Russia and Ukraine are on www/scribd.com/antonykharms. He is French and lives in London. I returned last Thursday from a holiday in Moscow, and on the Gatwick train I picked up […]

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NEWSLINK The Independent (UK): “Alexander Litvinenko accused Vladimir Putin of being a paedophile four months before he was poisoned”

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NEWSLINK: “So Putin Killed Litvinenko. Carry On. Britain has been cozying up to Russian money for years, and a dead spy isn’t going to change that.” – Foreign Policy magazine/Peter Pomersantsev

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British Inquiry Implicates Russia, Putin In Death Of Ex-Agent Litvinenko

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 21, 2016) A British inquiry has concluded that the Russian government was behind the 2006 poisoning death of former Russian security agent Aleksandr Litvinenko and that President Vladimir Putin “probably approved” the killing. The findings, issued on January 21, said that there is a “strong probability” that it was carried out by Russian citizens Dmitry […]

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Confession of a Russian internet provider: A firsthand account of how the internet is monitored, regulated and blocked in the Russian Federation

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(opendemocracy.net – Dmitry Okrest – November 5, 2015) Dmitry Okrest is a former staff writer with The New Times and currently works as an independent journalist. The internet is no longer free in Russia-that’s according to Freedom Net, a report recently published by Freedom House. Freedom of expression on the internet has been under threat for some time in the […]

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Russian Academia Divided Over FSB Vetting of Research Papers

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – October 22, 2015) A report this week of research papers and scientific articles becoming subject to vetting by the Federal Security Service (FSB) before publication rattled Russian academics, coming on the heels of several cases in which people have been accused of espionage and treason in connection with their professional activities. The […]

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Knocking back Russia’s nationalists

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

The conflict in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea has brought the Kremlin and Russia’s ultra-nationalists closer together. Recent prosecutions show that their ideas still have the government worried. (opendemocracy.net – Vyacheslav Koslov – September 15, 2015) Vyacheslav Kozlov is a journalist for daily newspaper Kommersant. He writes on international relations, nationalism, extremism, narco-politics, the Russian opposition and the problems […]

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Crimea Is Now Putin’s Problem Child; Russian security services are cracking down on alleged corruption in the newly annexed peninsula

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Carol Matlack – July 24, 2015) President Vladimir Putin likened Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea to a family welcoming home a long-lost relative. Now the family is showing signs of strain. Russia’s federal security service, the FSB, has opened criminal investigations of three high-ranking Crimean government officials, accusing them of graft and other misdeeds. Four regional […]

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Attack on Chubais Ally Marks Death of Russian Meritocracy – Experts

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 4, 2015) The criminal case opened this week against Leonid Melamed, the founder of Russia’s flagship innovations project, is directed against its divisive current head Anatoly Chubais, and reflects Russia’s drift away from a merit-based ruling elite, pundits told The Moscow Times on Friday. Rusnano’s reformist head Chubais has long been […]

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The Faltering Russian Economy Makes a Renewed Ukraine Offensive More Likely

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 73 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Pavel K. Baev) “Boring” is perhaps the prevalent impression of President Vladimir Putin’s televised four-hour-long Q & A session that aired last Thursday (April 16), which was meant to demonstrate his good health and relaxed attitude to the great many problems worrying his loyal subjects. The three […]

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NEWSWATCH BBC: Vladimir Putin’s formative German years

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

[“Vladimir Putin’s formative German years” – BBC News – Chris Bowlby – Dresden, March 27, 2015] The BBC covers some of Vladimir Putin’s experiences earlier in life, including his first foreign posting as a KGB officer, in East Germany during the collapse of Soviet Communism in eastern Europe. They also explore speculation about the lasting impact of those experiences upon Putin’s perspective towards […]

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Putin Urges FSB: Harder, Faster, Stronger

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 27, 2015) Western governments will attempt to discredit and destabilize Russia, but their efforts will be futile, President Vladimir Putin told Russia’s top security officials Thursday. “We have always had and always will have a proper response to all internal and external threats to national security,” Putin told senior officers of the […]

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Putin marks 15 years in power with harangue against West

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – March 27, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 26 marked 15 years since he was elected as Boris Yeltsin’s successor by summoning the heads of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and warning them sternly that there was a western conspiracy to undermine and contain Russia. Putin struck a dark […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: New evidence sheds doubt on ‘Islamic’ motive in Nemtsov killing

Nemtsov March of Mourning

Experts say that conflict between Russia’s security services and the president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, likely played a role in the murder. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – March 12, 2015) New details in the Feb. 27 murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov have cast doubt on the claim of the investigators that Nemtsov was […]

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FSB-Kadyrov Power Struggle Eclipsing Nemtsov Murder Probe, Media Says

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 11, 2015) Russian media has reported that the investigation into the murder of Boris Nemtsov is suffering under a power struggle between President Vladimir Putin’s protege Ramzan Kadyrov and the FSB. The claim that Nemtsov was shot dead by a devout Muslim who reportedly felt insulted by the politician’s support for […]

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How to Become a Russian Spy

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 3, 2014) When a young Vladimir Putin decided to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a spy, he headed to the local branch of the KGB in Soviet Leningrad. Wary of unsolicited applicants, the KGB officers turned Putin away, but not without some valuable advice: Go get an education, preferably in […]

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