Russia's Police State, and Our Ownby Will Grigg
Mar. 26, 2014
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Russian President Vladimir Putin is a career KGB agent who has surrounded himself with people of similar backgrounds from Russia's military and intelligence elite. These officials are called “siloviki,” a term that means “men of power,” and they exercise dominance within Russia's political and economic system.
It is important to understand that our own political system operates in a very similar fashion.
Recently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Diane Feinstein have criticized the CIA for conducting illegal surveillance of Senate leaders as part of the agency's effort to thwart investigations of its illegal activities. The CIA's criminal misconduct involves illegal detention, torture, narcotics trafficking, and efforts to subvert foreign governments. It is accountable only to special oversight committees in Congress – and the agency's illegal surveillance operations were intended to make committee members vulnerable to blackmail and other forms of retaliation.
In Russia, this practice is called “compromat” – the collection of personal information by the intelligence organs to exercise leverage over policy makers and potential enemies. Although the KGB perfected this technique, it was actually invented by J. Edgar Hoover, the founder of the FBI. We can properly disapprove of Putin and his government, but they aren't as foreign to us as we might think.