As Russia is preparing for another round of democratic elections, President Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to speak to FSB officials on Thursday, warning that a Western-backed disinformation campaign might be imminent.
Putin reminded his people again about the Western spies who are permanently plotting to destabilize Russia, most of all around the polls. This time, Putin believes the Western powers will cover their attacks under the appearance of “public, non-governmental organizations and non-political groups” but their purpose remains the same: to discredit Russian authorities and bring chaos in country.
Interestingly enough, the president was better informed that the intelligence officials, as he seemed to be the one informing the FSB, and not the other way around. Putin firmly confirmed that foreign agents are staging a plot “for the election campaigns in 2016 and 2018.”
As hateful as the phrasing “foreign agents” might seem at a first glance, it is nothing but a legal term in Russia. In 2012, after mass protests the president claimed to have been instigated by foreign spies against him, Putin passed a law forcing all foreign NGOs active in Russia to register as “foreign agents” with the Justice Ministry.
So, when Putin says “foreign agents”, he does nothing but quote Russian law.
But this time more than ever, Russia is prepared against a spy attack. “We have always had and always will have a proper response to all internal and external threats to national security,” Putin told FSB seniors. The internal threats are according to the president terrorism, extremism, espionage and NGOs attempt to destabilize the Russian government, not specifically in that order.
Russian counter-espionage has been enjoying significant success lately, as the president claimed no less than 290 foreign agents and 52 senior spies have had their activity in the motherland terminated last year.
President Putin has also been counting terrorist attacks, and the numbers are getting smaller each year. Nine times less attacks took place in Russia in 2014 compared to the nine year ago figure.
Russia will first have to deal with another round of parliamentary elections in 2016, followed in 2018 by the presidential polls, where Putin is eligible to win another term.
Vladimir Putin showed no reserve addressing Russia’s confrontation with the West. It is a very strange subject for the president to talk about, considering the West has mostly expressed concerns about the current situation in Ukraine, but Moscow has no involvement there, according to its topmost officials.
Putin is a long-time KGB veteran, having joined the Soviet intelligence agency in 1975, and still has strong personal feelings for the FSB, its modern successor.
Image Source: Guardian