Russian spy-watcher Andrei Soldatov on Snowden’s strange behavior in Russia, the Nemtsov assassination, and signs of a power struggle in Putin’s inner circle.
Andrei Soldatov’s beat is Russian spies, which is a hot topic for a new cold war. As editor of agentura.ru, an online “watchdog” of Putin’s clandestine intelligence agencies, he has spent the last decade reporting on and anatomizing the resurrection of the Russian security state, from KGB-style crackdowns on dissent at home to adroit or haphazard assassinations abroad.
Most recently, Soldatov and his coauthor and collaborator Irina Borogan broke serious news about the extent to which the Federal Security Service (FSB) was surveilling and eavesdropping on everyone within slaloming distance of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Soldatov has just emerged from a writerly purdah, which has seen him complete his latest and forthcoming title with Borogan, Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries. He spoke to me via Skype from Moscow recently about the latest Russian hack of the White House, the Boris Nemtsov assassination, the Boston Marathon bombings, reshuffles in Putinist spyland, and why neither Edward Snowden nor Glenn Greenwald will agree to be interviewed by him.