Four Strategic Puzzle Pieces

Many people today are completely convinced that a new hero of Russian history, as yet unknown, is changing its course … and we cannot comprehend his intentions, since the protagonist himself merges with other characters. Some call him by the foreign term mafia. Others express themselves more plainly in Russian and label him an ugolovnik, a criminal, struggling for power. Still others are disposed to speak of the traits and methods of today’s criminal mafia as bearing the unique stamp of yesterday’s apparatchiks, KGB agents, and influential ‘commanders of the socialist economy,’ especially the chiefs of the military-industrial complex who now occupy key political and economic posts.

Lev Timofeyev, Russia’s Secret Rulers [1992][1]

Introduction: Deceptive Liberalization

At the end of the Cold War, the Russian people demanded an investigation of “secret power structures” controlling politics and the economy.  There was the suspicion, by some, that the old Soviet system was somehow perpetuating itself in an underhanded way. How odd this situation was, may be judged by some of the advocates of Soviet liberalization. These advocates included KGB or MVD generals who suddenly cross-dressed as liberals – like MVD Gen. Edward Shevardnadze, KGB Gen. Oleg Kalugin, and then there was the Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg, KGB Lt. Col. Vladimir Putin. Was the West suddenly willing to put its faith in such “actors”? At the time, of course, everyone thought Russia was all about reform “and the security services were on board.” But as journalist Yevgenia Albats reported in 1994, the “grand proclamation of reform was followed almost immediately by a much less publicized retreat.”[2] What really happened? The Communist Party Soviet Union went underground from whence it continued to control the state and economy through its many “actors” and front-men, including the conveniently Jewish oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Khordorkovsky, and Vladimir Gusinsky. Here was an inside joke perpetrated by the Cheka – effective because antisemitism is the uneducated-man’s Marxism.

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