Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters
Strobe Talbott and Jessica Brandt, The Atlantic: What Putin Is Up To
And why he may have overplayed his hand.
Each year on December 20, the Russian intelligence community pays homage to its enduring guardianship of the Motherland. It was on this date in 1917, six weeks after the Bolshevik Revolution, that Vladimir Lenin established the Cheka, an acronym for “Emergency Commission.” Over the ensuing decades, the commission’s nomenclature and organization chart mutated: It became the OGPU from 1923 to 1934, the NKVD until the early 1950s, and then the KGB for nearly 40 years. After the collapse of the USSR, the sprawling institution was split into separate foreign and domestic agencies. Operatives of both are still called chekists, and they share Lenin’s original purpose: countering Russia’s enemies at home and abroad.
President Vladimir Putin was a KGB officer for 15 years leading up to the fall of the Soviet Union, and the director of domestic intelligence in the late 1990s during his meteoric rise to power. He regularly throws a gala at the Kremlin on December 20 to extol the “sacred mission” of the state security services, recall their past heroes, and highlight their latest exploits. For the last 22 years, Chekist’s Day has been an official holiday in Russia.
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WNU Editor: Strobe Talbott and Jessica Brandt are buying in on the allegations that Russian President Putin was (and is) directly involved in the uproar that is besetting the Trump administration and its contacts with Russian officials. Has the Russian government tried to influence elections ... including the U.S. election .... I would not be surprised. But to believe the premise that the Kremlin and its intelligence agencies are brilliant thinkers and strategists who have the power to influence who will be the next U.S. president .... I hate to burst everyone's bubble .... but they are not that smart or resourceful .... Russian President Putin included. I have listed before a long list on Russian intelligence failures .... from predicting the fall of the Soviet Union, to their involvement in the current wars and conflicts that now beset Russia (i.e. Syria and in Ukraine). In this context .... Russian intelligence does not have a record that I would be proud of. And as for the U.S. election .... where the idea that Russian intelligence has the ability to subvert and influence with its limited resources and media coverage a U.S. election where billions of dollars are spent in advertising and where the main stream media with its massive audiences covers the stories 24/7 .... it stretches my imagination. Bottom line .... the Kremlin is not responsible for what is happening in Washington today .... the ones who are actually responsible are the ones who have the resources, contacts, and reasons for this current chaos .... and they live and work in Washington .... not Moscow.