Articles by Andrei Soldatov



RuNet 2016: Pressure Shifts From Companies to Citizens (Op-Ed)

The stakes are getting higher in the battle between the state and the Internet giants.

FSB Will Welcome Russia's Internet Server Law

A little more than two years ago, in March 2012, Sergei Smirnov, first deputy director of the Federal Security Service, presented a policy paper about the threat to state power posed by social networks.

In Front of Putin, Internet Titans Lose Their Nerve

Even the recent and onerous restrictions on blogs were only mentioned once at the forum.

Putin, the Internet, and Popular Conspiracies

President Vladimir Putin, who had previously shown complete indifference to the Internet, has suddenly given an exhaustive explanation of his position on the subject. It has thus become clear that on key issues, Putin remains the same mid-level KGB officer that he was in the late 1980s.

The True Role of the FSB in the Ukrainian Crisis

The intrigue is growing over the Federal Security Service's involvement in Ukraine. On April 11, Ukraine's Deputy Prosecutor General said there was no evidence implicating the FSB in events on Maidan Square.

FSB Makes Eavesdropping an Olympic Event

The Kremlin not only did not deny allegations of illegal spying. They seemed to be proud of it.

FSB's Olympic Spying

Russian intelligence agencies are violating the law when they gather metadata on citizens without a court order.

Russia's Spying Craze

After the FSB announced its plans to gain direct access to phone calls and e-mails without a court warrant, other Russian agencies said they want in on the spying game.

Snowden Comes Out of His Capsule At Last

After the Snowden news conference, the real question everybody is asking is: Does the FSB control Snowden's every action?

NSA Is No Match for the FSB

While the U.S. has checks and balances that regulate how the state eavesdrops on its citizens, Russia has none.

Both Sides Dropped the Ball on Tsarnaev

The failures of both the FBI and FSB show the lack of coordination that has hindered the joint battle on terrorism.

The FSB Opens a New Foreign Front

The Federal Security Service will be given a detachment of agents to be assigned to permanent duty in foreign states.

FSB's Cyber Silver Bullet

Russia can strengthen its defense against cyberattacks on state websites and the country's entire cyberspace by creating a CERT.

The Kremlin Is All Ears

Several government agencies have been given expanded authority to conduct surveillance on Russians.

Now, Almost Anyone Is a Traitor

Journalists, NGOs and even bureaucrats fear that any contact with foreigners may qualify as treason under the new law.

Treating Smugglers as Spies

The illegal export of U.S. dual-use technology to Russia has always been a criminal offense, but it was never considered true espionage.

Why a Young American Wants to Be a Russian Spy

If you are lucky enough to be a Russian sleeper agent in the United States, you can earn a lot of money and do absolutely nothing.

Police Stockpiling Drones to Spy on Protests

With the rise in protests, drones will be used more often for surveillance purposes against protests and perhaps even to spy on opposition leaders and activists.

Police Using Sledgehammers to Crack Nuts

The March 5 protest rally on Pushkin Square revealed how government security forces were unprepared to respond properly to what should have been a very predictable situation.

Why Putin Will Inherit an Unhappy FSB in 2012

However much funding has grown for the Federal Security Service during the 2000s, this fall they are facing their most serious internal crisis in years. The political uncertainty of recent months has only intensified the problem, and even Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's announcement that he will run for president has not resolved the situation.

Kremlin's Plan to Prevent a Facebook Revolution

Recent events in the Arab world have sparked renewed optimism with online social networks. Many in the West are now convinced that Internet technology can create something previously impossible under authoritarian states a strong opposition that can seize power through either elections or street demonstrations.

Imitation Anti-Terror

Two top officials who were conspicuously absent from President Dmitry Medvedevs meeting with top security officials Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev and Federal Security Service director Alexander Bortnikov. They should have been grilled on whether everything possible had been done to prevent the attack.

Turning Misfit Spies Into Heroes

In Russia, the spy fiasco was flipped on its head and spun as a huge success: the agents penetrated U.S. society and duped the naive Americans for more than 10 years. In this way, the Kremlin and media can assure the majority of Russians that the country is still a superpower.

The Countrys New Nobility

In December 2000, then-director of the Federal Security Service proudly described the FSBs rank and file: Our best colleagues, the honor and pride of the FSB, dont do their work for the money... They are, if you like, our new nobility. He hit the nail on the head.

Nostalgia for Soviet Spies

The recent spy flap is evidence of a serious crisis within Russias intelligence. The golden days of Russian espionage were during the era of Comintern, the international Communist organization. That was a while ago.

The FSB Dropped the Ball

The focus on the Kremlins war on terrorism is not to save lives but to make sure the state does not look weak.

Blows Below the Belt

The latest round in a boxing match between Russia's and Britain's secret services began on July 4, when an article appeared in the British press quoting the MI5 counterespionage unit as saying that the number of Russian spies flooding the country had made Russia the third-greatest threat to Britain after Iran and al-Qaida.