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Facebook Live: The Russian Intelligence Community in the Current Time of Troubles

Date & Time

Jul. 9, 2020
11:00am – 11:45am

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Facebook Live

Facebook Live: The Russian Intelligence Community in the Current Time of Troubles

Between an assassination in Germany, allegations of bounties in Afghanistan, and a continuing campaign of espionage both cyber and human abroad, Russia's spies continue to be busy. Has coronavirus affected them? And what are the prospects for future activity, including meddling in US politics?

This conversation was the fourth in an occasional Kennan Institute series featuring discussions with leading experts and thinkers on Russia and Eurasia.

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Selected Quotes

Mark Galeotti
"When we come to the spooks, I've always been quite cautious of this term "siloviki," men of force, men of power, even though we use it as a convenient catch-all because it implies much, much more commonality. In fact, each of the different institutions is constantly competing. I mean, there's a very deliberate decision to have overlapping, and frankly, cannibalistic competition between them. So they're all trying to basically demonstrate their particular value to the boss. "

"This is the essence of a personalistic regime, it's that there's a whole variety of ways into that connection... Putin was never a great KGB officer, but he was a great spook fan-boy... I think Putin likes being connected with these people but again that's a very emotional, rather than a hard-headed political decision."

"The intelligence services are disproportionately important in painting a picture of the world for Putin. And again, you can talk to Russian diplomats who feel very disconsolate over the extent to which they feel, frankly, Putin is more likely to listen to the FSB, the domestic security service, about what's going on in the outside world, than he is his own personal diplomats."


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Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, and the region though research and exchange.  Read more

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