Circling the Lion's Den

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. At the same time, it is officially confirmed that FSB generals visited Kiev on Feb. 20 to 21. The answer as to why FSB officers were in Kiev could be key to understanding the role of Russia's intelligence agencies in the current crisis and to the Kremlin's entire strategy in Ukraine./ April 16, 2014 /   Read more -->

Recent Issues

Just business: how Russian technology provides the eyes and ears for the worlds Big Brothers
In December 2011, Wikileaks released Spy Files, a project revealing details of the burgeoning surveillance and interception industry. The list of companies providing high-tech equipment to governments included a number of Russian firms, which are emerging as global leaders in the industry.

A near doubling in Russian wiretaps over five years
In a previous article, we asked who was bugging the Russian opposition. Here we develop this theme, looking at how a combination of recent legislation and new technology has allowed Russias many security agencies to expand their activities still further. / June 4 2012 /

The Kremlin and the hackers: partners in crime?
The recent Russian parliamentary and presidential elections were notable for the wide use of cyber attacks on the websites of the liberal media, as well as opposition hackers accessing officials email exchanges.

The Russian state and surveillance technology
The Russian blogosphere has burgeoned into a open-door sanctuary for all strands of political opinion. Predictably, it has also attracted the attention of the country's security services. Our first in a series of investigations outlining how the Russian state is now monitoring its online public.

Domodedovo Airport attacked by a suicide bomber
Domodedovo Airport attacked by a suicide bomber On January 24, at approximately 16:30, a blast ripped...

Nikita Petrov: The FSB has no concept of its own history
Nikita Petrov: The FSB has no concept of its own history Nikita Petrov, Soviet Secret Services'...

WikiLeaks case highlights crisis in journalism
WikiLeaks case highlights crisis in journalism Andrei Soldatov, Irina Borogan The phenomenal attention...

Spies in the British parliament a defector's trail?
Spies in the British parliament a defector's trail? Andrei Soldatov The story of Katia Zatuliveter,...

FSB Headquarters, Lubyanka
FSB Headquarters, Lubyanka In the late ninteenth century, Great Lubyanka Street became a street of...

Control over society: the Kremlin methods


The New Nobility

Putins Plan to Gut the Press

Forget investigative reporting, even critical commentary is now out of bounds as the Kremlin clamps down on Web news sites. Until this week, a handful of websites seemed to be the last bastions of the free press in Russia. But on Thursday those bastions fell. The Kremlin blocked three independent news sites, including one run by former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, as well as a widely read investigative blog,, by Alexei Navalny. / March 17, 2014 /

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Why We Should Care About Russias Stance on the Internet

How can we reduce American influence over the Internet? Is it possible to place boundaries on the global network and, if so, how? Today, in the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, these are among the most prominent questions in the global debate on Internet regulation. Surprisingly, it appears that it is Russia rather than Chinathe established world authority on Internet censorshipleading this offensive on the Internet. /March 12, 2014/

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FSB Makes Eavesdropping an Olympic Event

The Olympic Games in Sochi have helped the Federal Security Service, or FSB, achieve the impossible. Following the disclosures by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, the global debate over electronic surveillance focused largely on the NSA. But a new player has appeared on the global stage: Russia's total electronic surveillance system for the Olympics has put this country's intelligence agencies in the spotlight. /February 6, 2014/

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Volgograd and an Olympics under threat

When Dokku Umarov, the leader of the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, issued a statement six months ago promising a strike on the Olympics in Sochi, Russian authorities were faced with two major questions. Experts and the secret services asked whether militants still possessed the capabilities to hit beyond the North Caucasus, and whether they had recruits willing to carry out suicide bombing attacks. Now both of those questions have been answered. /December 31. 2013/

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FSB's metadata collection at the Sochi Olympics

As the date for the Olympic Games in Sochi draws closer, Russia's siloviki are becoming more active in terms of collecting data from Russians and foreigners. Although they can at least partially justify their decision to register every Russian who comes to Sochi during the Olympics with the desire to prevent terrorist attacks, the decree that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed Nov. 8 has no relationship whatsoever to that goal. That decree expressly authorizes the government to collect data on telephone calls and Internet contacts made by the Olympic Games' organizers, athletes and foreign journalists. / November 22. 2013 /

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Russia's Spying Craze

It came as a shock to many observers when VimpelCom, one of Russia's largest telecommunications companies, publicly criticized the government's plans to legalize the interception of telephone and e-mail communications. VimpelCom sent a letter to the Communications and Press Ministry criticizing the plan as unconstitutional. By Andrei Soldatov / October 31. 2013 /

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Surveillance at the Sochi Olympics 2014

Our investigation over surveillance at the Olympic Games in February 2014 in Sochi: communications interception and SORM, video surveillance and CCTV, drones, and even submarines detection. A joint project of, Privacy International and CitizenLab.

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13 Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance

On September 23, 2013 Agentura.Ru joins a huge international coalition in calling upon Russia to assess whether national surveillance laws and activities are in line with their international human rights obligations. The 13 Principles set out for the first time an evaluative framework for assessing surveillance practices in the context of international human rights obligations.

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