As a former member of the Intelligence Community, I’ve seen policymakers scapegoat Intel types before. Pearl Harbor, 9-11, and Ukraine are all examples of Intel warnings ignored into peril.
Putin, as an old Soviet intelligence officer and a new Soviet ruler, not only knows how to pass the blame, but he can read a history book. His invasions and now his new purges look like he paid particular attention to the Stalinist period. Amy Kellogg of FNC recently filed an excellent report on Putin’s Stalinist Intel and military purges. Here is the gist.
Per setting up Russian Intel and special ops networks in Ukraine prior to the invasion. “It never happened, as we know. And so it’s also about misusing the funds spent on probably imaginary networks of agents,” said Andrei Soldatov of the Center for European Policy Analysis. Two top ranking 5th Service officers have been arrested by Putin.
“The 5th Service represents the most sensitive department of the FSB department, which is in charge of espionage in Ukraine. And now it looks like Vladimir Putin finally understood that the intelligence he was given before the invasion was not extremely accurate. And he has started looking around trying to find someone to blame.
“Russian intelligence agencies have been living in the climate of fear for at least five, six years. Putin started selective repressions back in 2015-2016, and he attacked every section of the Russian society, including the Russian elite, including the FSB. We have governors in jail, we have ministers in jail, but also we have the FSB officers and at least one general in prison. And of course, in this kind of climate, you cannot expect people in the FSB be ready to say something to Putin and he doesn’t want to hear,” Soldatov said. “He has very strong opinions about Ukraine. He is writing articles. He thinks that he is the best historian on Ukrainian history.
“And then this kind of climate of fear we already have in our society, even for the FSB people, for the KGB people, it’s it became really difficult to tell him something he doesn’t want to hear,” Soldatov stresses that last point.
“This department, 5th Service, of the FSB is a foreign intelligence branch is also officially in charge of maintaining official contacts with Western security and intelligence agencies, including the CIA,” Soldatov says. “So now lots of people in Moscow ask themselves, why was US intelligence so good before the invasion? And they are trying to find who might be the source.”
Putin also arrested General Roman Gavrilov. “He was in charge of special forces of the National Guard, involved in the fighting in Ukraine and the performance of its units they’re not extremely impressive,” Soldatov tells media. “So probably that is the reason why he was attacked. But what is interesting is that this guy was personally known to Vladimir Putin because before his time in the National Guard, he was part of the personal security detail of Vladimir Putin. So now Putin does not hesitate to attack people he knows personally.” The paranoia creeps in. The actions become arbitrary and capricious. No one is safe. Old associates are purged. Then those who did the purging are purged. We’ve seen this before. Are these scenes from a new fuhrerbunker?