Vladimir Putin, Russia, KGB discussed on Radio Specials


And the goal apparently was to try to turn the American civil rights movement in the late nineteen sixties, violent more recently, Russian social media accounts posed as black lives matter activists. They spread memes. They organize protests, and they did this to stoke racial tensions in the US. The big change between what they tried in the nineteen sixties and seventies on what they're trying now. Is that back then we didn't have social media. It's very difficult as an outsider to get a story planted in an American mainstream newspaper because you can't buy a story. This type of Russian information warfare came out of Soviet political culture, the sense of being constantly under threat, and believing that Russia is up against everybody else in the world is something that both fits with that long standing Soviet culture and that fits in with how Putin seems to see the world in current events terms. But it wasn't conventional war that Russia was worried about it was mostly about how foreigners might use domestic sources of opposition to undermine Soviet rule. Just this notion that every time that's something goes wrong in Russia. It must be a western agent who is actually causing to happen. That has just a lot of resonance from the old KGB culture as a young, man. Vladimir Putin was immersed in that KGB culture. He was a KGB agent in Dresden. In the twilight years of the Soviet Union in one thousand nine hundred one the Soviet Union collapsed and Boris Yeltsin became president President Yeltsin came to power. Probably the most democratic period ever history of Russian empire. If you will. That's William Courtney. He's a former US ambassador to Kazahkstan and Georgia for political reforms is, mama. Performs but the security sector in Russia. Did not get reformed the military former KGB of the personal security sector Instead Yeltsin just split them up. Here's Kimberly Martin what effectively meant is that. There was nobody overseeing what these new agencies were doing. There is no personnel changes. So it was the same people in the same jobs under new bureaucratic names, but a lot of KGB agents opted for a career change. So for example, Vladimir Putin went into politics. So we now looking back or quarter century. Now, we've seen a circumstance in which the security center of Russia is really in charge. Now, those are the people running the Kremlin policy. Meanwhile, many other ex KGB agents went into Russia's newly formed private-sector some of those KGB people became very much in mashed in Russian businesses, and especially in Russian businesses that sort of blurred the distinction between state enterprises and private enterprises. And so what we saw was. This intermingling of business interests and intelligence interests that has really very much continued to this day throughout the nineteen ninety s Russia focused on strengthening its economic and diplomatic ties with the west when Putin first came to office as president in two thousand t- presented himself as being an economic technocrats and he talked about cooperating with the west and early on. There was a fair amount of cooperation with the west, but it wasn't long before the US snubbed Russia. I by pulling out of a key ballistic missile treaty and then by going around the UN Security Council during the two thousand three Iraq, invasion, the west and in particularly the United States made it very clear that it no longer needed Russia as a security partner. It was like a slap in the face to Putin. And then there was the Russian economy. The Russian economy remains very dependent on oil and natural gas. And so when oil and natural gas prices were high Putin could afford to do whatever he wanted to do because money was pouring in. But when oil prices fell Putin could no longer deliver on his economic promises. Then in two thousand eleven Russia held a parliamentary election..

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