Let’s just put some random words: FSB, Sochi, spying
It’s been a while since we’ve been able to talk. And we have something really great to talk about today – FSB spying on people in Sochi. Dmitry, what do you make of these allegations? Is there any truth to this?
I know the author of that story. That’s not the first such story by him. Just a few months ago he wrote that Russia may be sending billions of dollars in cash to the Assad regime in Damascus. So, this story is just about as reliable as that one.
If Russia were sending cash to people in Syria, would it be rubles, would it be dollars, would it be the Syrian currency?
He wrote that these were the US dollars because, obviously, Syria needs hard currency. But he took this information from some American site which also took it from someone else. And of course, this is just total nonsense. And this story is also total nonsense. Basically, I see his technology here. He just puts all the things that frighten a reader of the British and American mass media about Russia. And he puts them into the same pot and sort of melts it there. So, here we have a Russian technology which tracks all the people using the word “Navalny”. Who the hell is interested in Navalny during the Sochi games?
Buzzword bingo here! Let’s just put out the random words…
Yes. And then we are suddenly told that another target may well be gay rights. Well, it may well be, it may well not be. But this is just the technology. You just put all the usual elements, you melt them together and then you get a nice juicy or one more obnoxious story about Russia.
But this is a technology that America used back in the 1970’es. I mean, this isn’t anything new and it is not necessarily even unique to Russia, if it is true. I mean, this is all part of Snowden’s comments. The NSA has been doing this for 10-15, 20-30 or 40 years.
I think that basically now it is even more obvious because in the 1970’es people just a little bit cared about style. The newspaper space was limited and journalists tried to fit in something indeed new. Now you have unlimited spaces in the Internet and you have the same thing repeated an unlimited number of times. I don’t remember how many times I read about this linkage between the gay rights and the Olympic Games, which is total nonsense because people who authored that bill on protection of children from being exposed to gay lifestyles, the last thing these people had in mind was the Olympic Games. But here we have stories about business travelers who should take care not to reveal their secrets while in the Olympic Games.
Let me ask you this. The paper writes: "government procurement documents and tenders from Russian communication companies indicate that newly installed telephone and internet spying capabilities will give the FSB free rein to intercept any telephony or data traffic and even track the use of sensitive words or phrases mentioned in emails, webchats and on social media." Now, we kind of just talked about this – why would anybody want to talk about Navalny? He is already old news. But the question here is – why would anyone need terabytes of information like that?
You can tell volumes about the accuracy of this person’s research by looking at his sources. These are Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan.
And who are these people?
These are the two people who made this agentura.ru and who have been specializing on writing bad things about the Russian secret services. They claim that these secret services are returning to Stalinist methods. Well, if secret services have been returning to Stalinist methods, the last people we would be reading all over the Western press would be Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan because they would be in some other places described by Alexander Solzhenitsyn whom they dislike so much.
But instead, we read them all over the American press, all over the British press and I just wonder why people reading all that stuff cannot make a much more simple linkage than gay rights and the Olympic Games in Russia? Why can’t they just think – if Russia is indeed returning to Stalinist practices, how come this guy Shaun Walker continues to write from here and how come the same people – Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan keep supplying people like him with the same kind of nonsense year after year without experiencing any problems and basically having their own office and all other things here?
It is a great question! Let’s take a step back for a minute. Let me ask you this. putting these people aside, why is Sochi coming under so much pressure?
First, if we talk about the security of communications, don’t forget that Chechen war took place 200-300 km away from there. The recent war between Georgia and South Ossetia took place several dozens of km from there. You have Abkhazia just next door. So, of course it is a volatile region and it makes sense for the Government to track certain communications just to protect the games from Islamic fundamentalists who may want to disrupt it because that would be every terrorist’s prize to attack the Olympic Games.
Why the West is so much against the games in Sochi? That’s a big question. Why is the West so much against Putin? And why is the West so much against Russia? This situation defies logic because it is against the West’s interests to see Russia destabilized. And I think that Vladimir Putin is by far not the worst president the West can have in Moscow. But it is not the first time that the West has been doing absurd things in the last 20 years. I mean, look whom the West supports in Syria – Jihadists. Look whom the West brought to power in Libya – the same people who now invited there this guy from Al Qaeda, whom the US had to send special troops to arrest. Why is the West hurting itself? That’s a huge question.