by Alexander Chuikov, translated by “D”
On the northern outskirts of Moscow, under the reliable protection of the Interior Troops, lies low a former secret Institute of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). Nowadays, on top of its front gate there flaunt golden letters: ‘Russian Institute of Strategic Studies’. But the peaceful name would not mislead the knowing, as more than two hundred employees are forging here the analytical shield of the homeland.
Will there be a new war in the South-Eastern of the Ukraine? Who is behind the US president? Why many of our officials can be called ideological agents of influence? To these and other questions of “AN”, weighing every word as usual, answers the Director of the RISS, Retired Lieutenant General Leonid RESHETNIKOV.
Rivals in the same field
– You used to have a serious “boss”, the SVR. Why were you suddenly declassified?
– We indeed used to be a classified institute of foreign intelligence focusing on the analysis of available information on the near and far abroad. That is, the information that is needed not only by the intelligence, but also by the structures that define the country’s foreign policy. Oddly enough, but in the Administration of the President of Russia (AP) such serious analytical centers didn’t exist. Although there had been plenty of “institutions”, in which there were only a director, a secretary girl and director’s wife serving as an analyst. The AP lacked real professionals, and the intelligence community had to offer some of theirs.
Today, our founder is the President of Russia, and all government research requests are signed by the Head of Administration Sergei Ivanov.
– How much is your analytics in demand? We are indeed a ‘paper country’, everyone writes a lot, but does it have an impact on the final result?
– Sometimes we see actions that resonate with our analytical notes. Sometimes it is amazing that once you speak out certain ideas, and then they become a trend in the Russian public opinion. Apparently, many of them are thick in the air.
– In the US, the Stratfor think tank and the strategic research center RAND Corporation are doing something alike. Which of you is “cooler”?
– When, after been transferred to the AP in April 2009, we were drafting a new charter of the Institute, we were told, as a wish, that we should follow their example. I thought then, “If you finance us, like Stratfor or RAND Corporation are being financed, then we would put all these foreign think tanks to shame.” After all, Russian analysts are the strongest in the world. Especially regional experts, who have more “fresh” minded and unbiased brains. I can talk about it with confidence, after all I’ve done 33 years of analytics, first in the KGB First Chief Directorate (FCD), and then in the Foreign Intelligence Service.
Oh NGO, where art thou taking us?
– It is well known, that RAND Corporation had developed a plan for Ukraine ‘antiterrorist operation’ in the South-East of the country. Did your institute produce information on the Ukraine, in particular the Crimea?
– Of Course. Basically, only two institutes had been worked on Ukraine: the RISS and Konstantin Zatulin’s Institute of CIS countries. Since inception, we had been writing analytical reports on the growth of anti-Russian sentiment in the mainland Ukraine and strengthening of pro-Russian one in the Crimea. We had been analyzing the activity of the Ukrainian authorities. But we were not producing alarmist information, like ‘all is lost’, but rather drawing attention to the growing problem.
We suggested significantly enhancing the work of pro-Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), strengthening, as they say now, the pressure of “soft power” policy.
– With such Ambassador, as Zurabov, we need no enemies!
– Activities of any embassy and ambassador is limited by a multitude of constraints. Once one exceeds them, there would be a scandal. Furthermore, lack of professional staff is a real problem in Russia. And not only in the diplomatic field. Public service has depleted, so to speak, there are very few people with a strong core left.
The role of NGOs is difficult to overestimate. A striking example are the color revolutions, which are fomented by foreign, especially American, non-governmental organizations. This was the case in the Ukraine. Unfortunately, attention is not actually paid to the creation and support of such organizations, which would act in our interest. And if they were there, they would substitute for ten embassies and ten even very smart ambassadors. Now the situation has begun to change after the direct instructions by the President. May God grant, that subordinates do not make a pig’s ear of this development.
What if there’s a war tomorrow
– How, in your opinion, the situation will develop in Novorossia in spring and summer? Will there be a new military campaign?
– Alas, the probability is very high. A year ago, the idea of federalization of the Ukraine was feasible. But now Kiev needs only war, only a unitary state. That is for several reasons. The main one is that ideologically anti-Russian people have stood at the head of the country who are not just subordinates of Washington, but literally are on a payroll of the forces that hide behind the US government.
– And what does this notorious “world government” want?
– It’s easier to say what they want not: they don’t want a federal Ukraine, it would be too difficult to control. It would be impossible to deploy there their military bases, and a new tier of missile defense. And indeed, there are such plans. From Lugansk and Kharkov cruise tactical missiles can reach the Transurals, where our main nuclear deterrent forces are located. And with 100% probability they would be able to hit mine-based and vehicle-based ballistic missiles home on the take-off path. Now this area is available to them neither from Poland nor from Turkey nor from the South-East Asia. That is the main goal. Therefore, the US will fight for the Donbass to the last Ukrainian.
– That is, the shale gas fields, which are in the area, don’t really matter?
– The main strategic objective is a unitary Ukraine under their full control to fight Russia. Shale gas, or arable land are just a nice bonus. Collateral winnings. Plus a serious blow to our defense industry due to rupture of relations between Ukraine and Russia DIC. It’s already done.
– So, we’ve been outplayed, “son of a bitch” Yanukovych had to be evacuated with the help of special forces, and Washington has installed his own “sons of bitches”, right?
– From the military strategic point of view, of course, we’ve been outplayed. Russia’s got the Crimea as a “compensation”. And another “compensation” is the resistance of the inhabitants of the South East of the Ukraine. But the enemy has already obtained a vast territory that once was part of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire.
– What will we see this year in the Ukraine?
– Process of half-decay or even complete decay. Many just grew quiet for the time being in the face of the real Nazism. But the people who understand that the Ukraine and Russia are connected firmly, have not had their say yet. Neither in Odessa or Kharkov or in Zaporozhye, nor in Chernigov. Silence is not forever. And the cover of the boiler inevitably blows off.
– And how will the relations develop between the Novorossiya and the rest of the Ukraine?
– There is an unlikely scenario Transnistria. But I do not believe in it – the territory of the DPR and LPR is much bigger, millions of people have been drawn into the war. Russia is so far able to persuade the leaders of the militia to maintain a temporary respite and a truce. But it is indeed “temporary”. There is no talking about any kind of the Novorossiya rejoining the Ukraine. People of the Southeast do not want to be Ukrainians.
– Since our country has already been isolated by the world because of the adjunction of the Crimea, then why not go for broke in the Southeast? Isn’t one fed up with hypocrisy?
– In my opinion, it’s too early to go for broke. We underestimate the awareness of our President, who knows that some processes protected from prying eyes are currently under way in Europe. They give us hope that we will be able to defend our interests with methods and means.
A front without the front line
– Amid the information flows associated with the Ukraine, we tend to forget about the explosive growth of religious extremism in Central Asia…
– This is an extremely dangerous trend for our country. There is a very difficult situation in Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan is unstable too. But the first strike could be directed at Turkmenistan, just as your paper wrote. We somehow forget about it a bit, due to the fact that Ashgabat keeps apart. But this “apartment” may collapse first. Do they have enough forces to defend themselves? Or will we have to intervene in a country that keeps us on a fairly remote distance? So that is a difficult area.
And not only due to the penetration of “Islamic state” militants into the region. According to recent data, the US and NATO are not going to leave Afghanistan and will retain their bases there. From a military point of view, five or ten thousand soldiers who remain within a month can be expanded into a 50 to 100 thousand strong group.
This is a part of an overall plan of encircling and putting pressure on Russia, which is carried by the USA to overthrow President Vladimir Putin and divide the country. An ordinary man in the street can, of course, not believe it, but people who have significant amount of information, are well aware.
– What will be the boundaries of the split?
– Initially they plan to pick up what “lies loose”. It does not matter what will break away: Kaliningrad, North Caucasus or the Far East. This will be the detonator of the process would go on as an avalanche. This idea is not propaganda, but real. Such pressure from west (the Ukraine) and south (Central Asia) will only increase. While trying to seep through the western gate, they are also testing the strength of the southern one.
– Where is our most dangerous strategic direction?
– Southern direction is very dangerous. But so far there are buffer states – former Soviet Central Asian republics. And to the west, the war is already at the border. On our territory, in fact.
What goes on there is not a fight between Ukrainians and Russians, but the war of world systems. Some people believe that they “are Europe”, while others associate themselves with Russia. After all, our country it’s not just a territory, but a distinct huge civilization that brought to the world its views on the world order. First, of course, there was the Russian Empire as a model of an Eastern Orthodox civilization. The Bolsheviks destroyed it, but produced a new civilizational idea. Now we have come very close to a third one. In 5-6 years we will see this.
– What will it be?
– I think it will be a good symbiosis of the earlier ones. And our “sworn colleagues” are well aware. Therefore, the attack began from all sides.
– That is, the joint Russian-American fight against terrorism, in particular with ISIS, is a fiction?
– Of course. America creates terrorists, feeds and trains them, and then gives command to the whole pack: “Attack!”. Maybe one “mad dog” from this pack will be shot, but the rest will be incited even more actively.
And Satan Leads the Dance
– Leonid Petrovich, I see, you think that the United States and American presidents are just a tool. Who then decides the policy?
– There are some societies of people virtually unknown to the public who do not just install the American presidents, but define the rules for the whole of the “Great Game”. These, in particular, are the multinational financial corporations. But not only them.
Now there is a redesigning of the financial and economic system of the world under way. There is an attempt to rethink the whole structure of capitalism, without abandoning it. Foreign policy is changing dramatically. Suddenly, the US actually ditched Israel, its main ally in the Middle East, for the sake of improving relations with Iran. Why is Iran more necessary and important than Tel Aviv? Because it is part of a belt encircling Russia. These clandestine forces are determined to liquidate our country as a serious player on the world stage. After all, Russia bears a civilizational alternative to the whole united West.
Especially so now, when there is an explosive growth of anti-American sentiment in the world. Hungary, where conservative right-wing forces are at the helm, and the Greek leftists – initially diametrically opposite forces – in fact united and “bucked” against the dictation of the United States on the Old Continent. There is someone ready to “buck” in Italy, Austria, France and so on. If Russia this time stands out, processes in Europe will start that will be disadvantageous to the forces aspiring to world domination. And they understand that perfectly.
– Some European leaders have already lamented that the US sanctions were literally imposed on them. Can Europe escape from the “friendly” US embrace?
– Never. America is firmly holding it on a number of chains: the Fed printing press, the threat of color revolutions and the physical removal of unwanted politicians.
– Don’t you exaggerate with the physical removal?
– Not at all. US Central Intelligence Agency – even in terms of its tasks – is not intelligence service. KGB FCD or SVR is classical intelligence service: to gather information and report to the leadership of the country. For CIA these traditional attributes of intelligence are at the end of the task list. But the main one is removal, including physical, of political leaders and organization of coups. And they do in real time mode.
After the wreck of the submarine “Kursk”, CIA Director George Tenet flew to Russia from Romania. I was tasked to meet him at the airport. Tenet long time did not come out of the plane, but then the ramp was open and I was able to look inside his Hercules. It was a flying command post, computer operation center, fully packed with equipment and communication systems that can monitor and simulate the situation throughout the world. Accompanying delegation numbered twenty. While we used to fly and still do fly scheduled flights in a group 2-5 people. As they say, feel the difference.
– Speaking of intelligence services. Once again there have been talks about the idea of restoring the united Russian intelligence service by combining the SVR and the FSB. What are your views?
– Extremely negative. If we combine the two intelligence agencies – foreign intelligence and counterintelligence, then from two sources of information for the country’s top leadership, we create one. Then the man who commands this “Spring of Information” becomes a monopolist. He can be manipulate it in order to achieve some goal. In the KGB such manipulations with information were evident even to Captain Reshetnikov. For a president, a king or a prime minister – whatever you call the highest official – is advantageous to have several independent intelligence sources. Otherwise, he becomes a hostage of a head of a particular structure or of the structure itself. This is very dangerous.
The authors of this idea think that by such uniting we strengthen ourselves, but in fact we are jeopardizing ourselves.
– Let’s move on from the global conspiracy “to our muttons.” How to distinguish the official, who did not know what they do, from an agent of influence, who creates consciously?
– There are really not as many agents of influence of serious level in the world, as one might think. Adopting or non-adopting serious strategic decisions contrary to the interests of one’s country are mainly initiated by, so to speak, ideological agents. These are those Russian officials who have found themselves occupying a top-ranking post in our government, but their soul is with the West. They do not have to be recruited as informants or given orders. For these people, all that is done “out there” are the highest achievements of civilization. And the things that are here are the “unwashed Russia”. They do not associate the future of their children with this country, and send them abroad to study. And this is a more serious sign than accounts in western banks. These “comrades” dislike Russia from their heart, regardless of the fact that Russia’s “development” is what they are required to administrate.
– How accurately you’ve drawn a portrait of some of our ministers. How will we manage to pass through 2015 with them?
– With or without them, the year will be difficult. Most likely, the next one will not be easier. But then will start a confident march of the new Russia.
Biography: Leonid Reshetnikov. Born February 6, 1947 in Potsdam (GDR) in the family of a military serviceman. He graduated from the Faculty of History of Kharkov State University and standard doctorate of Sofia University (Bulgaria). From 1974 to 1976 he worked at the Institute of World Socialist System Economy of the USSR Academy of Sciences. From April 1976 to April 2009 worked in the analytical units of foreign intelligence. His last post was the Head of Information and Analytical Department of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, a Member of the Board of the SVR, Lieutenant General. In April 2009, was transferred to the reserve due to reaching the age limit for military service. Member of the Research Council of the Russian Security Council. He speaks Serbian and Bulgarian languages fluently, can communicate in Greek. Decorated with state awards (Order of Courage, Order of Honour), awards of the Russian Orthodox Church (Order of Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, Order of Saint Prince Dmitry Donskoy), as well as medals and honorary signs.