The Russian power model sustained by Putin today may hearken directly back to Tsar Nicholas II’s “Okhrana” — Russia’s original “political police”. There are a few books out on the topic, but the idea of infiltrating and co-opting the opposition (to the absolute power represented by the tsar) starts early, the transformation of some police into political agents channeling, derailing, or subverting protest would seem to have become inseparable from the standard operating procedures of today’s political Russia.

This is “cutting edge” as distribution of the PDF precedes the publication of a related book:


Many nationalities are represented among the foreign fighters. “I have seen people from the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Russia, Chechnya, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine [limited numbers]), Lebanon, China, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan,” Abu Jamal stated. He recalled that they were suspicious of the Russians. “We would consider them as agents because they were blonde, real Russian-blooded people and we would not trust them as they would mostly claim that they had been in the Russian Army and then converted to Islam and retired from their posts and came to fight for IS. They were also mostly military strategists and were making the plans for assaults and battles. They were effective on making strategic military decisions in IS.” Some of our informants wondered whether these Russians were plants (i.e. spies or agents), coordinating things with Assad’s forces.


Source: Eyewitness Accounts from Recent Defectors from Islamic State: Why They Joined, What They Saw, Why They Quit by Anne Speckhard and Ahmet S. Yayla

The PDF is available online. Just search it up.

ISIS defector remarks dovetail nicely with the participation of Baathist Generals working with ISIS to plan assaults. The Soviet may have officially dissolved itself on December 26, 1991 but perhaps its methods have been sustained.

Media moves fast these days, and the sharing of information through the conflict and psychology community probably competes with the latest sports scores for rapid distribution.

The cause for ISIS suspicions regarding Russian convert-recruits certainly fits with the greater than century-long history of Russia’s political police elements.  How well present relationships may be traced is another matter, secrecy, of necessity, providing the foundations for every facet of conflict development and response (with perhaps the exception of making public the frank observations of terrorist defectors).

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