The KGB Escalates its war on Russian Journalists
According to the tireless Andrei Soldatov of the Agentura.ru website, the KGB (now known as the FSB) has embarked upon a major new escalation of its warn on Russian journalists.
Soldatov points to FSB director Aleksandr Bortnikov’s Order No. 343 of July 15, 2009, which not only vastly expands the number of KGB who have the power to conduct surveillance over civil society, but for the first time includes members of the FSB’s Administration of Program Support, which is responsible for work with journalists, and the administration’s Center for Public Contacts. This means that journalists are now fully subject to the interception of mail and telephone and all other forms surveillance carried out by the FSB.
What’s disturbing about this is not really that the FSB is formally providing for a neo-Soviet control over journalists, but that it is doing so openly, without fear of reprisal.
The FSB has good reason, of course, to be worried.
A recent public opinion poll revealed the stunning fact that during the Putin years the Russian public’s fear of military hazing has increased 30%, so that now a whopping 75% of respondents are unwilling to serve in the Russian armed forces.
A recent public offering by Rusal, a leading Russian aluminum manufacturer, lost initial investors a shocking 14% on their money within days.
Despite claims by so-called Russian “president” Dima Medvedev that the killing of attorney Sergei Magnitsky would be investigated and justice done, within weeks his boss was forced to flee the country rather than face the same fate.
A crazed, bitter Evegeny Plushenko, denied a gold medal at the Vancouver Olympiad, disgraced the country with a torrent of unsportsmanlike expletives, indicating he felt he should have been given the gold medal before the athletes even took the ice.
These are not the sort of events that the Kremlin wants openly and fully reported to the people of Russia. And even though they are mostly craven and cowed, there are still a few journalists left in Russia who might not be able to resist a flood of stories this compelling, and there are still remote corners where they can be reported.
So the FSB has decided to strike them down, in the typical, cowardly, singular response that the Russian state has always adopted since the beginning of time. And meanwhile, the craven, cowardly, lemming-like denizens of Russia turn their backs and look the other way as the darkness falls once again around them.