Something to watch

Friday, February 22, 2008
I was glad when the old Soviet Union crumbled to the ground, after years of prayer by thousands of people. But I wondered how the countries that came out of that time and place would fare.

This week has brought more turmoil in Serbia, and Russia has been doing things that make me nervous for it's future too.

The BBC is running a couple of articles about the shifting power base there. Putin is not someone who seems trustworthy.

Anyway, here's a piece for your international news category.

The new President, Boris Yeltsin, moved to neutralise the secret policemen by cutting their budget, slashing their numbers and hiving off their functions to rival agencies. He renamed the organisation the FSB - Federal Security Service - but somehow the spirit of the KGB lived on...

In 1999, Vladimir Putin, then director of the FSB and a career KGB man, was appointed prime minister.

The FSB (Old KGB) has influence beyond its headquarters in Moscow.
On 20 December 1999, at an FSB party to celebrate the founding of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police, he (Putin) told his former colleagues: "Dear comrades, I can report that the group of agents you sent to infiltrate the government has accomplished the first part of its mission."

The second part of the mission - getting a KGB man into the presidency - was accomplished the following year.

Under Vladimir Putin, the security services have regained their former prestige, their budgets and their numbers are now higher than ever, and they have gained positions of power in all areas of the nation's life.

According to research by the Russian Academy of Sciences, three quarters of senior politicians have a background in the security forces and Russia's largest companies are now headed by former KGB men with personal ties to Vladimir Putin.

...the spirit lives on.


  1. I'm sorry to say I've been watching this thing happening for some time now. Sometimes it feels like the UK is a lot closer to the Soviet Union than North America.

  2. Do you mean philosophically or physically?

  3. Physically.

    The UK is NOTHING like the Soviet Union philosophically, thank God, although certain elements would wish it otherwise. True radical communism as a political movement had its day after WWII before many good people realised what it was really about. Even my mum was a communist - it appealed to idealistic young Christians who saw the evil and corruption of the system around them and wanted something that would remove inequality and promote justice.


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