Go to contents

Europe faces a series of incidents from murder to media manipulation

Europe faces a series of incidents from murder to media manipulation

Posted February. 22, 2024 08:02,   

Updated February. 22, 2024 08:02


Russian intelligence services are striving to reclaim the reputation that the Soviet Union’s Committee for State Security (KGB) enjoyed during the Cold War. Trying to leave behind their recent disgraceful mistakes including the wrong calculation made at the time of the invasion into Ukraine that it would end in just several days, they have reportedly reinvented themselves and expanded global spy operations with the full support of Russian President Vladimir Putin. With them faced with the suspicion that they got involved in the killing of a Russian helicopter pilot who defected to Ukraine last year and was found dead in Spain last Tuesday, experts analyze that they are seeking the revival of the "shadow war” led by the KGB in the Cold War era.

Russia’s three largest intelligence agencies - the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and the Organization of the Main Intelligence Administration (GRU) – had been globally derided for being internally divided and incompetent even before the Ukraine war. Back in 2020, they made a failed attempt to poison Russia’s opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, who ended up dying under suspicious circumstances last Friday. Two years later, their mistake of underestimating Ukraine led to the war that is approaching its second anniversary as of this Friday. CIA Director William J. Burns, the head of their old foe, even wrote mockingly in the Foreign Affairs last month that Russian security authorities brought the CIA greater recruiting opportunities.

However, they have recently shown signs of significant reform, learning from their past mistakes. Britain's Royal United Services Institute wrote in a report on Tuesday that the GRU, led by Sergey Kiriyenko, serving as First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia, is working at the forefront of such a significant shift. The agency attributed little progress in the ongoing war to Russian military intelligence leaks, prohibiting troops from using their smartphones.

The Economist stated that the GRU is held accountable for a series of recent incidents in an attempt to cause division in the European Union. It was also alleged that Russian intelligence agencies were attributable to the suddenly increasing disinformation effort to discredit the Moldovan president when the ex-Soviet country southwest of Ukraine sought EU membership last year.

Jeong-Soo Hong hong@donga.com