Blackmail/Kompromat, brutalization, espionage/infiltration, frozen conflicts, international kleptocracy, mass perceptual control, reflexive control, terrorism | x Russia or x KGB x FSB or x Vladimir Putin–you get the idea regarding the dimensions and evils faced by the world’s authentic democracies–and aspiring ones–and their constituencies in relation to Russia’s international character and operations.

The following and very few references may promote greater general curiosity (so one may hope) about Russia’s–and Putin’s Russia most of all–and its avaricious, barbaric, and generally ignoble role in international affairs.

The late historian Richard Pipes noted that Russia sustained a definition and test in sovereignty from which Europe chose to depart as it worked its way out of the medieval zeitgeist. While reading (most likely Russia Under the Old Regime), I did not take the note for citation, but it came down to this: the test of sovereignty in Russian absolute terms involved the ownership and treatment of property and persons as alike, and proof of that power could be found in the sovereign’s ability to destroy either at will and with impunity (my words, not Pipes’).

In Reference, A Glance Into Vladimir Putin’s Russia and its Black Soul

Choi, Joseph. “Sullivan: Russia planning ‘extremely violent’ operation to ‘crush’ Ukraine.” The Hill, February 21, 2022.

Foer, Franklin. “Russian-Style Kleptocracy is Infiltrating America: When the U.S.S.R. collapsed, Washington bet on the global spread of democratic capitalist values–and lost.” The Atlantic, March 2019.

Galeotti, Mark. “Active Measures: Russia’s Covert Geopolitical Operations.” Security Insights (George C. Marshall, European Center for Security Studies), No. 031, June 2019.

Galeotti, Mark. “Gangster’s paradise: how organised crime took over Russia.” The Guardian, March 23, 2018. Related: a book review of Mark Galeotti’s The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia (Yale University Press, 2018): Shelley, Louise. “A Tangled Web: Organized Crime and Oligarchy in Putin’s Russia.” War on the Rocks, November 15, 2018.

Herszenhorn, David M. “Putin’s choice: Hot war or a deeply frozen conflict: Rather than igniting new hostilities in Ukraine, the Russian president may see advantage in a never-ending standoff.” Politico, December 4, 2021.

Kamphuis, Christian (Major, Royal Netherlands Army). “Reflexive Control.” Militaire Spectator, June 21, 2018.

Kowalewski, Annie. “Disinformation and Reflexive Control: The New Cold War.” Georgetown Security Studies Review, February 1, 2017.

Nevzlin, Leonid. “The Result of 20 Years of Putin: Russia as a Mafia State.” Institute of Modern Russia (IMR), January 24, 2020.

Orttung, Robert and Christopher Walker. “Putin’s Frozen Conflicts: Each of Russia’s reform-minded neighbors is plagued by separatism. It’s no coincidence.” Foreign Policy, February 13, 2015.

Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Old Regime. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974.

Politkovskaya, Anna. “A Small Corner of Hell.” Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Satter, David. “The Unsolved Mystery Behind the Act of Terror That Brought Putin to Power.” National Review, August 17, 2016.

Schindler, John. “Exploring Al Qaeda’s Murky Connection to Russian Intelligence.” Business Insider, June 10, 2014.

Thomas, Timothy L. “Russia’s Reflexive Control Theory and the Military.” PDF. Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 17:237-256, 2004.

Tiplady-Bishop, Lottie. “Jeffrey Epstein boasted about ‘flying to Moscow to visit Vladimir Putin’ as secrets behind his millions are revealed.” The U.S. Sun, July 19, 2020.

Wikipedia. “Russian espionage in the United States”.


Maynes, Charles. “The Russian Embassy in Kabul Is Now Under Protection of the Taliban.” NPR, August 16, 2021.

Ramani, Samuel. “Russia and the Taliban: Prospective Partners?” RUSI, September 14, 2021.

Reuters. “Russia ready to deliver weapons to allies near Afghanistan at low prices – RIA.” August 23, 2021.

Rowlatt, Justin. “Russia ‘arming the Afghan Taliban’, says US.” BBC News, March 23, 2018.


Bergman, Ronen. “The KGB’s Middle East Files: Palestinians in the service of Mother Russia.” Ynet News, April 16, 2011.

Council on Security Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). “Russia’s Counterproductive Counterterrorism.” Transcript and Video. June 12, 2019.

“Moscow will be happy, of course, to host dozens of international conferences, and will periodically suggest that a solution is within reach. But at the end of the day, its interests are best served when Iran, Hezbollah and Assad are in power to make mischief in the region, because that’s when Russia’s influence with the Europeans, with Israel, and the Gulf States is at its peak,” he said.

Wikipedia. “Black Hundreds”.

Posted by NBC News to YouTube March 1, 2021.