Category Archives: RUSSIA

Unveiled Donald Trumps business activities in Russia and Kremlin – TOP SECRET

 

Transcription of PDF reportedly prepared by Christopher Steele.

https://cryptome.org/2017/01/steele-trump.pdf

Contents added and arranged in chronological order.

Reports here: 080, 086, 094, 095, 097, 100, 101, 102, 105, 111, 112, 113, 130, 134, 136, 166.

Leads to 149 missing reports welcomed: send to cryptome[at]earthlink.net


Contents

COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/080

US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP’S ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KREMLIN

20 June 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/086

RUSSIA/CYBER CRIME: A SYNOPSIS OF RUSSIAN STATE SPONSORED AND OTHER CYBER OFFENSIVE (CRIMINAL) OPERATIONS

26 July 2015


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/094

RUSSIA: SECRET KREMLIN MEETINGS ATTENDED BY TRUMP ADVISOR, CARTER PAGE IN MOSCOW (JULY 2016)

19 July 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/095

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: FURTHER INDICATIONS OF EXTENSIVE CONSPIRACY BETWEEN TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN TEAM AND THE KREMLIN

No Date


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/097

RUSSIA-US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: KREMLIN CONCERN THAT POLITICAL FALLOUT FROM DNC E-MAIL HACKING AFFAIR SPIRALLING OUT OF CONTROL

30 July 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/100

RUSSIA/USA: GROWING BACKLASH IN KREMLIN TO DNC HACKING AND TRUMP SUPPORT OPERATIONS

5 August 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/101

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: SENIOR KREMLIN FIGURE OUTLlNES EVOLVING RUSSIAN TACTICS IN PRO-TRUMP, ANTI-CLINTON OPERATION

10 August 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/102

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REACTION IN TRUMP CAMP TO RECENT NEGATIVE PUBLICITY ABOUT RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE AND LIKELY RESULTING TACTICS GOING FORWARD

10 August 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/105

RUSSIA/UKRAINE: THE DEMISE OF TRUMP’s CAMPAIGN MANAGER PAUL MANAFORT

22 August 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/111

RUSSIA/US: KREMLIN FALLOUT FROM MEDIA EXPOSURE OF MOSCOW’S INTERFERENCE IN THE US PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

14 September 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/112

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: KREMLIN-ALPHA GROUP CO­OPERATION

14 September 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/113

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE TRUMP’S PRIOR ACTIVITIES IN ST PETERSBURG

14 September 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/130

RUSSIA: KREMLIN ASSESSMENT OF TRUMP AND RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE IN US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

12 October 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/134

RUSSIA/PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: FURTHER DETAILS OF KREMLIN LIAISON WITH TRUMP CAMPAIGN

No Date


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/135

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF TRUMP LAWYER, COHEN IN CAMPAIGN’S SECRET LIAISON WITH THE KREMLIN

19 October 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/136

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: FURTHER DETAILS OF TRUMP LAWYER COHEN’S SECRET LIAISON WITH THE KREMLIN

20 October 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/166

US/RUSSIA: FURTHER DETAILS OF SECRET DIALOGUE BETWEEN TRUMP CAMPAIGN TEAM, KREMLIN AND ASSOCIATED HACKERS IN PRAGUE

13 December 2016

_________________________________________________________________

CONFIDENTIAL/SENSITIVE SOURCE

COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/080

US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP’S ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KREMLIN

Summary

– Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance- So far TRUMP has declined various sweetener real estate business deals offered him in Russia in order to further the Kremlin’s cultivation of him. However he and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals

– Former top Russian intelligence officer claims FSB has compromised TRUMP through his activities in Moscow sufficiently to be able to blackmail him. According to several knowledgeable sources, his conduct in Moscow has included perverted sexual acts which have been arranged/monitored by the FSB

– A dossier of compromising material on Hillary CLINTON has been collated by the Russian Intelligence Services over many years and mainly comprises bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls rather than any embarrassing conduct. The dossier is controlled by Kremlin spokesman, PESKOV, directly on PUTIN’s orders. However it has not as yet been distributed abroad, including to TRUMP. Russian intentions for its deployment still unclear

Detail

1. Speaking to a trusted compatriot in June 2016 sources A and B, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin respectively, the Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate, Donald TRUMP for at least 5 years. Source B asserted that the TRUMP operation was both supported and directed by Russian President Vladimir PUTIN. Its aim was to sow discord and disunity both within the US itself, but more especially within the Transatlantic alliance which was viewed as inimical to Russia’s interests. Source C, a senior Russian financial said the TRUMP operation should be seen in terms of PUTIN’s desire to return to Nineteenth Century ‘Great Power’ politics anchored upon countries’ interests rather than the ideals-based international order established after World War Two. S/he had overheard PUTIN talking in this way to close associates on severa1 occasions.

2. In terms of specifics, source A confided that he Kremlin had been feeding TRUMP and his team valuable Intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary CLINTON, for several years (see more below). This was confirmed by Source D, a close associate of TRUMP who had organized and managed his recent trips to Moscow, and who reported, also in June 2016, that this Russian intelligence had been “very helpful”. The Kremlin’ cultivation operation on TRUMP also had comprised of offering him various lucrative real estate development business deals in Russia, specially in relation to the ongoing 2018 World Cup soccer tournament. However, so far, for reasons unknown, TRUMP had not taken up any of these.

3. However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with he Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s personal obsessions and sexual perversion in order to obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s (perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew President and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ [urination] show in front of him. The hotel was known to be under FSB control with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

4. The Moscow Ritz Carlton confirmed by Source E, [redaction of half sentence, 43 characters] who said that s/he and several of the staff were aware of it at the time and subsequently. S/he believed it had happened in 2013. Source E provided an introduction for a company ethnic Russian operative to Source F, a female staffer at the hotel when TRUMP had stayed there, who also confirmed the story. Speaking separately in June 2016, Source B, (the former top level Russian intelligence officer) asserted that TRUMP’s unorthodox behavior in Russia over the years had provided the authorities there with enough embarrassing material on the now Republican presidential candidate to be able to blackmail him if they so wished.

5. Asked about the Kremlin’s reported intelligence feed on TRUMP over recent years and rumours about a Russian dossier of ‘kompromat’ on Hillary CLINTON (being circulated), Source B confirmed the file’s existence. S/he confided in a trusted compatriot that it had been collated by Department K of the FSB for many years, dating back to her husband Bill’s presidency, and comprised mainly eavesdropped conversations of various sorts rather than details/evidence of unorthodox or embarrassing behavior. Some of the conversations were from bugged comments CLINTON had made on her various trips to Russia and focused on things she had said which contradicted her current position on various issues. Others were most probably from phone intercepts.

6. Continuing on this theme, Source G, a senior Kremlin official, confided that the CLINTON dossier was controlled exclusively by chief Kremlin spokesman. Dmitriy PESKOV, who was responsible for compiling/handling it on the explicit instructions of PUTIN himself. The dossier however had not as yet been made available abroad, including to TRUMP or his campaign team. At present it was unclear what PUTIN’s intentions were in this regard.

20 June 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/086

RUSSIA/CYBER CRIME: A SYNOPSIS OF RUSSIAN STATE SPONSORED AND OTHER CYBER OFFENSIVE (CRIMINAL) OPERATIONS

Summary

– Russia has extensive programme of state-sponsored offensive cyber operations. External targets include foreign governments and big corporations, especially banks. FSB leads on cyber within Russian apparatus. Limited success in attacking top foreign targets like G7 governments, security services and IFIs but much more on second tier ones through IT back doors, using corporate and other visitors to Russia- FSB often uses coercion and blackmail to recruit most capable cyber operatives in Russia into its state-sponsored programmes. Heavy use also, both wittingly and unwittingly, of CIS emigres working in western corporations and ethnic Russians employed by neighbouring governments e.g. Latvia.

– Example cited of successful Russian cyber operation targeting senior Western business visitor. Provided back door into important Western institutions.

– Example given of US citizen of Russian origin approached by FSB and offered incentive of “Investment” in his business when visiting Moseow.

– Problems however for Russian authorities themselves in countering local hackers and cyber criminals, operating outside state control. Central Bank claims there were over 20 serious attacks on correspondent accounts held by CBR in 2015, comprising Roubles several billion in fraud

Some details given of leading non-state Russian cyber criminal groups

Details

1. Speaking in June 2016, a number of Russian figures with a detailed knowledge of national cyber crime, both state-sponsored and otherwise, outlined the current situation in this area. A former senior intelligence officer divided Russian state-sponsored offensive cyber operations into four categories (in order of priority):- targeting foreign, especially western governments; penetrating leading foreign business corporations, especially banks: domestic monitoring of the elite; and attacking political opponents both at home and abroad. The former intelligence officer reported that the Federal Security Service (FSB) was the lead organization within the Russian state apparatus for cyber operations.

2. In terms of the success of Russian offensive cyber operations to date, a senior government figure reported that there had been only limited success in penetrating the “first tier” foreign targets. These comprised western (especial1y G7 and NATO) governments, security and intelligence services and central banks, and the IFIs. To compensate for this shortfall, massive effort had been invested, with much greater success. in attacking the “secondary targets”, particularly western private banks and the governments of smaller states allied to the West. S/he mentioned Latvia in this regard. Hundreds of agents, either consciously cooperating with the FSB or whose personal and professional IT systems had been unwittingly compromised, were recruited. Many were people who had ethnic and family ties to Russia and/or had been incentivized financially to cooperate. Such people often would receive monetary inducements or contractual favours from the Russian state or its agents in return. This had created difficulties for parts of the Russian state apparatus in obliging/indulging them e.g. the Central Bank of Russia knowingly having to cover up for such agents’ money laundering operations through the Russian financial system.

3. In terms of the FSB’s recruitment of capable cyber operatives to carry out its, ideally deniable, offensive cyber operations, a Russian IT specialist with direct knowledge reported in June 2016 that this was often done using coercion and blackmail. In terms of ‘foreign’ agents, the FSB was approaching US citizens of Russian (Jewish) origin on business trips to Russia. In one case a US citizen of Russian ethnicity had been visiting Moscow to attract investors in his new information technology program. The FSB clearly knew this and had offered to provide seed capital to this person in return for them being able to access and modify his IP, with a view to targeting priority foreign targets by planting a Trojan virus in the software. The US visitor was told this was common practice. The FSB also had implied significant operational success as a result of installing cheap Russian IT games containing their own malware unwittingly by targets on their PCs and other platforms.

4. In a more advanced and successful FSB operation, an IT operator inside a leading Russian SOE, who previously had been employed on conventional (defensive) IT work there, had been under instruction for the last year to conduct an offensive cyber operation against a foreign director of the company. Although the latter was apparently an infrequent visitor to Russia, the FSB now successfully had penetrated his personal IT and through this had managed to access various important institutions in the West through the back door.

5. In terms of other technical IT platforms, an FSB cyber operative flagged up the ‘Telegram’ enciphered commercial system as having been of especial concern and therefore heavily targeted by the FSB, not least because it was used frequently by Russian internal political activists and oppositionists. His/her understanding was that the FSB now successfully had cracked this communications software and therefore it was no longer secure to use.

6. The senior Russian government figure cited above also reported that non-state sponsored cyber crime was becoming an increasing problem inside Russia for the government and authorities there. The Central Bank of Russia claimed that in 2015 alone there had been more than 20 attempts at serious cyber embezzlement of money from corresponding accounts held there, comprising several billions Roubles. More generally, s/he understood there were circa 15 major organised crime groups in the country involved in cyber crime, all of which continued to operate largely outside state and FSB control. These included the so-called ‘Anunak’, ‘Buktrap’ and ‘Mete!’ organisations.

26 July 2015


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/094

RUSSIA: SECRET KREMLIN MEETINGS ATTENDED BY TRUMP ADVISOR, CARTER PAGE IN MOSCOW (JULY 2016)

Summary

– TRUMP advisor Carter PAGE holds secret meetings in Moscow with SECHIN and senior Kremlin Internal Affairs official, DIVYEKIN- SECHIN raises issues of future bilateral US-Russia energy co-operation and associated lifting of western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. PAGE non-committal in response

– DIVEYKIN discusses release of Russian dossier of ‘kompromat’ on TRUMP’s opponent, Hillary CUNTON, but also hints at Kremlin possession of such material on TRUMP

Detail

1. Speaking in July 2016, a Russian source close to Rosneft President, PUTIN close associate and US-sanctioned individual, Igor SECHIN, confided the details of a recent secret meeting between hirn and visiting Foreign Affairs Advisor to Republican presidential candidate Donald TRUMP, Carter PAGE.

2. According to SECHIN’s associate, the Rosneft President (CEO) had raised with PAGE the issues of future bilateral energy cooperation and prospects for an associated move to lift Ukraine-related western sanctions against Russia. PAGE had reacted positively to this demarche by SECHIN but had been generally non-committal in response.

3. Speaking separately, also in July 2016, an official close to Presidential Administration Head, S. IVANOV, confided in a compatriot that a senior colleague in the Internal Political Department of the PA, DIVYEKIN (nfd) also had met secretly with PAGE on his recent visit. Their agenda had included DIVEYKIN raising a dossier of ‘kompromat’ the Kremlin possessed on TRUMP’s Democratic presidential rival, Hillary CLINTON, and its possible release to the Republican’s campaign team.

4. However, the Kremlin official dose to S. IVANOV added that s/he believed DIVEYKIN also had hinted (or indicated more strongly) that the Russian leadership also had ‘kornpromat’ on TRUMP which the latter should bear in mind in his dealings with them.

19 July 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/095

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: FURTHER INDICATIONS OF EXTENSIVE CONSPIRACY BETWEEN TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN TEAM AND THE KREMLIN

Summary

– Further evidence of extensive conspiracy between TRUMP’s campaign team and Kremlin, sanctioned at highest levels and involving Russian diplomatic staff based in the US- TRUMP associate admits Kremlin behind recent appearance of DNC e­mails on WikiLeaks, as means of maintaining plausible deniability

– Agreed exchange of information established in both directions. TRUMP’s team using moles within DNC and hackers in the US as well as outside in Russia. PUTIN motivated by fear and hatred of Hillary CLINTON. Russians receiving intel from TRUMP’s team on Russian oligarchs and their families in US

– Mechanism for transmitting this intelligence involves “pension” disbursements to Russian emigres living in US as cover, using consular officials in New York, DC and Miami

– Suggestion from source close to TRUMP and MANAFORT that Republican campaign team happy to have Russia as media bogeyman to mask more extensive corrupt business ties to China and other emerging countries

Detail

1. Speaking in confidence to a compatriot in late July 2016, Source E, an ethnic Russian close associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP, admitted that there was a well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between them and the Russian leadership. This was managed on the TRUMP side by the Republican candidate’s campaign manager, Paul MANAFORT, who was using foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries. The two sides had a mutual interest in defeating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary CLINTON, whom President PUTIN apparently both hated and feared.

2. Inter alia, Source E, acknowledged that the Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to the WikiLeaks platform. The reason for using WikiLeaks was “plausible deniability” and the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team. In return the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise US/NATO defence commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.

3. In the wider context of TRUMP campaign/Kremlin co-operation, Source E claimed that the intelligence network being used against CLINTON comprised three elements. Firstly there were agents/facilitators within the Democratic Party structure itself; secondly Russian emigre and associated offensive cyber operators based in the US; and thirdly, state­sponsored cyber operatives working in Russia. All three elements had played an important role to date. On the mechanism for rewarding relevant assets based in the US, and effecting a two-way flow of intelligence and other useful Information, Source E claimed that Russian diplomatic staff in key cities such as New York, Washington DC and Miami were using the emigre ‘pension’ distribution system as cover. The operation therefore depended on key people in the US Russian emigre community for its success. Tens of thousands of dollars were involved.

4. In terms of the intelligence flow from the TRUMP team to Russia, Source E reported that much of this concerned the activities of business oligarchs and their families’ activities and assets in the US, with which PUTIN and the Kremlin seemed preoccupied.

5. Commenting on the negative media publicity surrounding alleged Russian interference in the US election campaign in support of TRUMP, Source E said he understood that the Republican candidate and his team were relatively relaxed about this because it deflected media and the Democrats’ attention away from TRUMP’s business dealings in China and other emerging markets. Unlike in Russia, these were substantial and involved the payment of large bribes and kickbacks which, were they to become public, would be potentially very damaging to their campaign.

6. Finally, regarding TRUMP’s claimed minimal investment profile in Russia, a separate source with direct knowledge said this had not been for want of trying. TRUMP’s previous efforts had included exploring the real estate sector in St Petersburg as well as Moscow but in the end TRUMP had had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success.


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/097

RUSSIA-US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: KREMLIN CONCERN THAT POLITICAL FALLOUT FROM DNC E-MAIL HACKING AFFAIR SPIRALLING OUT OF CONTROL

Summary

– Kremlin concerned that political fallout from DNC e-mail hacking operation is spiralling out of contro!. Extreme nervousness among TRUMP’s associates as result of negative media attention/accusations- Russians meanwhile keen to cool situation and maintain ‘plausible deniability’ of existing /ongoing pro-TRUMP and anti-CLINTON operations. Therefore unlikely to be any ratcheting up offensive plays in immediate future

– Source close to TRUMP campaign however confirms regular exchange with Kremlin has existed for at least 8 years, including intelligence fed back to Russia on oligarchs’ activities in US

– Russians apparently have promised not to use ‘kompromat’ they hold on TRUMP as leverage, given high levels of voluntary co-operation forthcoming from his team

Detail

1. Speaking in confidence to a trusted associate in late July 2016, a Russian emigre figure dose to the Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP’s campaign team commented on the fallout from publicity surrounding the Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mail hacking scandal. The emigre said there was a high level of anxiety within the TRUMP team as a result of various accusations levelled against them and indications from the Kremlin that President PUTIN and others in the leadership thought things had gone too far now and risked spiralling out of control.

2. Continuing on this theme, the emigre associate of TRUMP opined that the Kremlin wanted the situation to calm but for ‘plausible deniability’ to be maintained concerning its (extensive) pro-TRUMP and anti-CLINTON operations. S/he therefore judged that it was unlikely these would be ratcheted up, at least for the time being.

3. However, in terms of established operational liaison between the TRUMP team and the Kremlin, the emigre confirmed that an intelligence exchange had been running between them for at least 8 years. Within this context PUTIN’s priority requirement had been for intelligence on the activities, business and otherwise, in the US of leading Russian oligarchs and their families. TRUMP and his associates duly had obtained and supplied the Kremlin with this information.

4. Finally, the emigre said s/he understood the Kremlin had more intelligence on CLINTON and her campaign but he did not know the details or when or if it would be released. As far as ‘kompromat’ (compromising information) on TRUMP were concerned, although there was plenty of this, he understood the Kremlin had given its word that it would not be deployed against the Republican presidential candidate given how helpful and co-operative his team had been over several years, and particularly of late.

30 July 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/100

RUSSIA/USA: GROWING BACKLASH IN KREMLIN TO DNC HACKING AND TRUMP SUPPORT OPERATIONS

Summary

– Head of PA IVANOV laments Russian intervention in US presidential election and black PR against CLINTON and the DNC. Vows not to supply intelligence to Kremlin PR operatives again. Advocates now sitting tight and denying everything- Presidential spokesman PESKOV the main protagonist in Kremlin campaign to aid TRUMP and damage CLINTON. He is now scared and fears being made scapegoat by leadership for backlash in US. Problem compounded by his botched intervention in recent Turkish crisis

– Premier MEDVEDEV’s office furious over DNC hacking and associated anti-Russian publicity. Want good relations with US and ability to travel there. Refusing to support or help cover up after PESKOV

– Talk now in Kremlin of TRUMP withdrawing from presidential race altogether, but this still largely wishful thinking by more liberal elements in Moscow

Detail

1. Speaking in early August 2016, two well-placed and established Kremlin sources outlined the divisions and backlash in Moscow arising from the leaking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails and the wider pro-TRUMP operation being conducted in the US. Head of Presidential Administration, Sergei IVANOV, was angry at the recent turn of events. He believed the Kremlin “team” involved, led by presidential spokesman Dmitriy PESKOV, had gone too far in interfering in foreign affairs with their “elephant in a china shop black PR”. IVANOV claimed always to have opposed the handling and exploitation of intelligence by this PR “team”. Following the backlash against such foreign interference in US politics, IVANOV was advocating that the only sensible course of action now for the Russian leadership was to “sit tight and deny everything”.

2. Continuing on this theme the source close to IVANOV reported that PESKOV now was “scared shitless” that he would be scapegoated by PUTIN and the Kremlin and held responsible for the backlash against Russian political interference in the US election. IVANOV was determined to stop PESKOV playing an independent role in relation to the US going forward and the source fully expected the presidential spokesman now to lay low. PESKOV’s position was not helped by a botched attempt by him also to interfere in the recent failed coup in Turkey from a governrnent relations (GR) perspective (no further details).

3. The extent of disquiet and division within Moscow caused by the backlash against Russian interference in the US election was underlined by a second source, close to premier Dmitriy MEDVEDEV (DAM). S/he said the Russian prime minister and his colleagues wanted to have good relations with the US, regardless of who was in power there, and not least so as to be able to travel there in future, either officially or privately. They were openly refusing to cover up for PESKOV and others involved in the DNC/TRUMP operations or to support his counter-attack of allegations against the USG for its alleged hacking of the Russian government and state agencies.

4. According to the first source, close to IVANOV, there had been talk in the Kremlin of TRUMP being forced to withdraw from the presidential race altogether as a result of recent events, ostensibly on grounds of his psychological state and unsuitability for high office. This might not be so bad for Russia in the circumstances but in the view of the source, it remained largely wishful thinking on the part of those in the regime opposed to PESKOV and his “botched” operations, at least for the time being.

5 August 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/101

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: SENIOR KREMLIN FIGURE OUTLlNES EVOLVING RUSSIAN TACTICS IN PRO-TRUMP, ANTI-CLINTON OPERATION

Summary

– Head of PA, IVANOV assesses Kremlin intervention in US presidential election and outlines leadership thinking on operational way forward- No new leaks envisaged, as too politically risky, but rather further exploitation of (WikiLeaks) material already disseminated to exacerbate divisions

– Educated US youth to be targeted as protest (againstCLINTON) and swing vote in attempt to turn them over to TRUMP

– Russian leadership, including PUTIN, celebrating perceived success to date in splitting US hawks and elite

– Kremlin engaging with several high profile US players, including STEIN, PAGE and (former DIA Director Michael Flynn), and funding their recent visits to Moscow

Details

1. Speaking in confidence to a close colleague in early August 2016, Head of the Russian Presidential Administration (PA), Sergei IVANOV, assessed the impact and results of Kremlin intervention in the US presidential election to date. Although most commentators believed that the Kremlin was behind the leaked DNC/CLINTON e-mails, this remained technically deniable. Therefore the Russians would not risk their position for the time being with new leaked material, even to a third party like WikiLeaks. Rather the tactics would be to spread rumours and misinformation about the content of what already had been leaked and make up new content.

2. Continuing on this theme, IVANOV said that the audience to be targeted by such operations was the educated youth in America as the PA assessed that there was still a chance they could be persuaded to vote for Republican candidate Donald TRUMP as a protest against the Washington establishment (in the form of Democratic candidate Hillary CLINTON). The hope was that even if she won, as a result of this CLINTON in power would be bogged down in working for internal reconciliation in the US, rather than being able to focus on foreign policy which would damage Russia’s interests. This also should give President PUTIN more room for manoeuvre in the run-up to Russia’s own presidential election in 2018.

3. IVANOV reported that although the Kremlin had underestimated the strength of US media and liberal reaction to the DNC hack and TRUMP’s links to Russia, PUTIN was generally satisfied with the progress of the anti-CLINTON operation to date. He recently had had a drink with PUTIN to mark this. In IVANOV’s view, the US had tried to divide the Russian elite with sanctions but failed, whilst they, by contrast, had succeeded in splitting the US hawks inimical to Russia and the Washington elite more generally, half of whom had refused to endorse any presidential candidate as a result of Russian intervention.

4. Speaking separately, also in early August 2016, a Kremlin official involved in US relations commented on aspects of the Russian operation to date. Its goal had been threefold: asking sympathetic US actors how Moscow could help them; gathering relevant intelligence; and creating and disseminating compromising information (‘kompromat’). This had involved the Kremlin supporting various US political figures, including funding indirectly their recent visits to Moscow. S/he named a delegation from Lyndon LAROUCHE; presidential candidate Jill STEIN of the Green Party; TRUMP foreign policy adviser Carter PAGE; and former DIA Director Michael Flynn, in this regard and as successful in terms of perceived outcomes.

10 August 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/102

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REACTION IN TRUMP CAMP TO RECENT NEGATIVE PUBLICITY ABOUT RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE AND LIKELY RESULTING TACTICS GOING FORWARD

Summary

– TRUMP campaign insider reports recent DNC e-mail leaks were aimed at switching SANDER5 (protest) voters away from CLINTON and over to TRUMP- Admits Republican campaign underestimated resulting negative reaction from U5 liberals, elite and media a nd forced to cha nge course as result

– Need now to turn tables on CLINTON’s use of PUTIN as bogeyman in election, although some resentment at Russian president’s perceived attempt to undermine USG and system over and above swinging presidential election

Detail

1. Speaking in confidence on 9 August 2016, an ethnic Russian associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP discussed the reaction inside his camp, and revised tactics therein resulting from recent negative publicity concerning Moscow’s clandestine involvement in the campaign. TRUMP’s associate reported that the aim of leaking the DNC e-mails to WikiLeaks during the Democratic Convention had been to swing supporters of Bernie SANDERS away from Hillary CUNTON and across to TRUMP. These voters were perceived as activist and anti-status quo and anti-establishment and in that regard sharing many features with the TRUMP campaign, including a visceral dislike of Hillary CLINTON. This objective had been conceived and promoted, inter alia, by TRUMP’s foreign policy adviser Carter PAGE who had discussed it directly with the ethnic Russian associate.

2. Continuing on this theme, the ethnic Russian associate of TRUMP assessed that the problem was that the TRUMP campaign had underestimated the strength of the negative reaction from liberals and especially the conservative elite to Russian interference. This was forcing a rethink and a likely change of tactics. The main objective in the short term was to check Democratic candidate Hillary CLINTON’s successful exploitation of the PUTIN as bogeyman/Russian interference story to tarnish TRUMP and bolster her own (patriotic) credentials. The TRUMP campaign was focusing on tapping into support in the American television media to achieve this, as they reckoned this resource had been underused by them to date.

3. However, TRUMP’s associate also admitted that there was a fair amount of anger and resentment within the Republican candidate’s team at what was perceived by PUTIN as going beyond the objective of weakening CUNTON and bolsteringTRUMP, by attempting to exploit the situation to undermine the US government and democratic system more generally. It was unclear at present how this aspect of the situation would play out in the weeks to come.

10 August 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/105

RUSSIA/UKRAINE: THE DEMISE OF TRUMP’s CAMPAIGN MANAGER PAUL MANAFORT

Summary

– Ex-Ukrainian President YANUKOVYCH confides directly to PUTIN that he authorised kick-back payments to MANAFORT, as alleged in western media. Assures Russian President however there is no documentary evidence/trail- PUTIN and Russian leadership remain worried however and sceptical that YANUKOVYCH has fully covered the traces of these payments to TRUMP’s former campaign manager

– Close associate of TRUMP explains reasoning behind MANAFORT’s recent resignation. Ukraine revelations played part but others wanted MANAFORT out for various reasons, especially LEWANDOWSKI who remains influential

Detail

1. Speaking in late August 2016, in the immediate aftermath of Paul MANAFORT’s resignation as campaign manager for US Republican presidential candidate Donald TRUMP, a well-placed Russian figure reported on a recent meeting between President PUTIN and ex-President YANUKOVYCH of Ukraine. This had been held in secret on 15 August near Volgograd, Russia and the western media revelations about MANAFORT and Ukraine had featured prominently on the agenda. YANUKOVYCH had confided in PUTIN that he did authorise and order substantial kick-back payments to MANAFORT as alleged but sought to reassure him that there was no documentary trail left behind which could provide clear evidence of this.

2. Given YANUKOVYCH’s (unimpressive) record in covering up his own corrupt tracks in the past, PUTIN and others in the Russian leadership were sceptical about the ex-Ukrainian president’s reassurances on this as relating to MANAFORT. They therefore still feared the scandal had legs, especially as MANAFORT had been commercially active in Ukraine right up to the time (in March 2016) when he joined TRUMP’s campaign team. For them it therefore remained a point of potential political vulnerability and embarrassment.

3. Speaking separately, also in late August 2016, an American political figure associated with Donald TRUMP and his campaign outlined the reasons behind MANAFORT’s recent demise. S/he said it was true that the Ukraine corruption revelations had played a part in this but also, several senior players close to TRUMP had wanted MANAFORT out, primarily to loosen his control on strategy and policy formulation. Of particular importance in this regard was MANAFORT’s predecessor as campaign manager, Corey LEWANDOWSKI, who hated MANAFORT personally and remained close to TRUMP with whom he discussed the presidential campaign on a regular basis.

22 August 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/111

RUSSIA/US: KREMLIN FALLOUT FROM MEDIA EXPOSURE OF MOSCOW’S INTERFERENCE IN THE US PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

Summary

– Russians do have further ‘kompromat’ on CLINTON (e-mails) and considering disseminating it after Duma (legislative elections) in late September. Presidential spokesman PESKOV continues to lead on this- Kremlin orders senior staff to remain silent in media and private on allegations of Russian interference in US presidential campaign

– Senior figure however confirms gist of allegations and reports IVANOV sacked as Head of Administration on account of giving PUTIN poor advice on issue. VAINO selected as his replacement partly because he was not involved in pro-TRUMP, anti-CLINTON operation/s

– However, equally important is Kremlin objective to shift policy consensus favourably to Russia in US post-OBAMA whoever wins. Both presidential candidates’ opposition to TPP and TTIP viewed as a result in this respect

– Senior Russian diplomat withdrawn from Washington embassy on account ofpotential exposure in US presidential election operation/s

Detail

1. Speaking in confidence to a trusted compatriot in mid-September 2016, a senior member of the Russian Presidential Administration (PA) commented on the political fallout from recent western media revelations about Moscow’s intervention, in favour of Donald TRUMP and against Hillary CLINTON, in the US presidential election. The PA official reported that the issue had become incredibly sensitive and that President PUTIN had issued direct orders that Kremlin and government insiders should not discuss it in public or even in private.

2. Despite this, the PA official confirmed, from direct knowledge, that the gist of the allegations was true. PUTIN had been receiving conflicting advice on interfering from three separate and expert groups. On one side had been the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei KISLYAK, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with an independent and informal network run by presidential foreign policy advisor, Yuri USHAKOV (KISLYAK’s predecessor in Washington) who had urged caution and the potential negative impact on Russia from the operation/s. On the other side was former PA Head, Sergei IVANOV, backed by Russian Foreign Intelligence (SVR), who had advised PUTIN that the pro-TRUMP, anti­CLINTON operation/s would be both effective and plausibly deniable with little blowback. The first group/s had been proven right and this had been the catalyst in PUTIN’s decision to sack IVANOV (unexpectedly) as PA Head in August. His successor, Anton VAINO, had been selected for the job partly because he had not been involved in the US presidential election operation/s.

3. Continuing on this theme, the senior PA official said the situation now was that the Kremlin had further ‘komprornat’ on candidate CLINTON and had been considering releasing this via “plausibly deniable” channels after the Duma (legislative) elections were out of the way in mid­September. There was however a growing train of thought and associated lobby, arguing that the Russians could still make candidate CLINTON look “weak and stupid” by provoking her into railing against PUTIN and Russia without the need to release more of her e-mails. Presidential Spokesman, Dmitriy PESKOV remained a key figure in the operation, although any final decision on dissemination of further material would be taken by PUTIN himself.

4. The senior PA official also reported that a growing element in Moscow’s intervention in the US presidential election campaign was the objective of shifting the US political consensus in Russia’s perceived interests regardless of who won. It basically comprised of pushing candidate CUNTON away from President OBAMA’s policies. The best example of this was that both candidates now openly opposed the draft trade agreements, TPP and TTIP, which were assessed by Moscow as detrimental to Russian interests. Other issues where the Kremlin was looking to shift the US policy consensus were Ukraine and Syria. Overall however, the presidential election was considered still to be too close to call.

5. Finally, speaking separately to the same compatriot, a senior Russian MFA official reported that as a prophylactic measure, a leading Russian diplomat, Mikhail KULAGIN, had been withdrawn from Washington at short notice because Moscow feared his heavy involvement in the US presidential election operation, including the so-called veterans’ pensions ruse (reported previously), would be exposed in the media there. His replacement, Andrei BONDAREV however was clean in this regard.

Company Comment

The substance of what was reported by the senior Russian PA official in paras 1 and 2 above, including the reasons for Sergei IVANOV’s dismissal, was corroborated independently by a former top level Russian intelligence officer and Kremlin Insider, also in mid-September.

14 September 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/112

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: KREMLIN-ALPHA GROUP CO­ OPERATION

Summary

– Key intermediary in PUTIN-Alpha relationship identified as Oleg GOVORUN, currently Head of a Presidential Administration department but throughout the 19905, the Alpha executive who delivered illicit cash directly to PUTIN- Top level Russian official confirms current closeness of Alpha Group­ PUTIN relationship. Significant favours continue to be done in both directions and FRIDMAN and AVEN still giving informal advice to PUTIN, especially on the US

– PUTIN personally unbothered about Alpha’s current lack of investment in Russia but under pressure from colleagues over this and able to exploit it as lever over Alpha interlocutors

Detail

1. Speaking to a trusted compatriot in mid-September 2016, a top level Russian government official commented on the history and current state of relations between President PUTIN and the Alpha Group of businesses led by oligarchs Mikhail FRIDMAN, Petr AVEN and German KHAN. The Russian government figure reported that although they had had their ups and downs, the leading figures in Alpha currently were on very good terms with PUTIN. Significant favours continued to be done in both directions, primarily political ones for PUTIN and business/legal ones for Alpha. Also, FRIDMAN and AVEN continued to give informal advice to PUTIN on foreign policy, and especially about the US where he distrusted advice being given to him by officials.

2. Although FRIDMAN recently had met directly with PUTIN in Russia, much of the dialogue and business between them was mediated through a senior Presidential Administration official, Oleg GOVORUN, who currently headed the department therein responsible for Social Co-operation With the CIS. GOVORUN was trusted by PUTIN and recently had accompanied him to Uzbekistan to pay respects at the tomb of former president KARIMOV. However according to the top level Russian government official, during the 1990s GOVORUN had been Head of Government Relations at Alpha Group and in reality, the “driver” and “bag carrier” used by FRIDMAN and AVEN to deliver large amounts of illicit cash to the Russian president, at that time deputy Mayor of St Petersburg. Given that and the continuing sensitivity of the PUTIN-Alpha relationship, and need for plausible deniability, much of the contact between them was now indirect and entrusted to the relatively low profile GOVORUN.

3. The top level Russian government official described the PUTIN-Alpha relationship as both carrot and stick. Alpha held ‘kompromat’ on PUTIN and his corrupt business activities from the 1990s whilst although not personally overly bothered by Alpha’s failure to reinvest the proceeds of its TNK oil company sale into the Russian economy since, the Russian president was able to use pressure on this count from senior Kremlin colleagues as a lever on FRIDMAN and AVEN to make them do his political bidding.

14 September 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/113

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE TRUMP’S PRIOR ACTIVITIES IN ST PETERSBURG

Summary

– Two knowledgeable St Petersburg sources claim Republican candidate TRUMP has paid bribes and engaged in sexual activities there but key witnesses silenced and evidence hard to obtain- Both believe Azeri business associate of TRUMP, Araz AGALAROV will know the details

Detail

1. Speaking to a trusted compatriot in September 2016, two well-placed sources based in St Petersburg, one in the political/business elite and the other involved in the loeal services and tourist industry, commented on Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP’s prior activities in the city.

2. Both knew TRUMP had visited St Petersburg on several occasions in the past and had been interested in doing business deals there involving real estate. The local business/political elite figure reported that TRUMP had paid bribes there to further his interests but very discreetly and only through affiliated companies, making it very hard to prove. The local services industry source reported that TRUMP had participated in sex parties in the city too, but that all direct witnesses to this recently had been “silenced” i.e. bribed or coerced to disappear.

3. The two St Petersburg figures cited believed an Azeri business figure, Araz AGALAROV (with offices in Baku and London) had been closely involved with TRUMP in Russia and would know most of the details of what the Republican presidential candidate had got up to there.

14 September 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/130

RUSSIA: KREMLIN ASSESSMENT OF TRUMP AND RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE IN US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Summary

– Buyer’s remorse sets in with Kremlin over TRUMP support operation in US presidential election. Russian leadership disappointed that leaked e-mails on CLINTON have not had greater impact in campaign- Russians have injected further anti-CLINTON material into the ‘plausibly deniable’ leaks pipeline which will continue to surface, but best material already in public domain

– PUTIN angry with senior officials who “overpromised” on TRUMP and further heads likely to roll as result. Foreign Minister LAVIROV may be next

– TRUMP supported by Kremlin because seen as divisive anti-establishment candidate who would shake up current international status quo in Russia’s favor. Lead on TRUMP operation moved from Foreign Ministry to FSB and then to presidential administration where it now sits

Detail

1. Speaking separately in confidence to a trusted compatriot in early October 2016, a senior Russian leadership figure and a Foreign Ministry official reported on recent developments concerning the Kremlin’s operation to support Republican candidate Donald TRUMP in the US presidential election. The senior leadership figure said that a degree of buyer’s remorse was setting in among Russian leaders concerning TRUMP. PUTIN and his colleagues were surprised and disappointed that leaks of Democratic candidate, Hillary CLINTON’s hacked e-mails had not had greater impact on the campaign.

2. Continuing on this theme, the senior leadership figure commented that a stream of further hack CLINTON material already had been injected by the Kremlin into compliant western media outlets like WikiLeaks, which remained at leas “plausibly deniable”, so the stream of these would continue through October and up to the election. However s/he understood that the best material the Russians had already was out and there were no real game-changers to come.

3. The Russian Foreign Ministry official, who had direct access ot he TRUMP support operation, reported that PUTIN was angry at his subordinates “over-promising” on the Republican presidential candidate, both interms of his chances and reliability and being able to cover and/or contain the US backlash over Kremlin interference. More heads therefore were likely to roll, with the MFA the easiest target. Ironically, despite his consistent urging of caution on the issue, Foreign Minister LAVROV could be the next one to go.

4. Asked to explain why PUTIN and the Kremlin had launched such an aggressive TRUMP support operation in the first place, the MFA official said that Russian needed to upset the liberal international status quo, including on Ukraine-related sanctions, which was seriously disadvantaging the country. TRUMP was viewed as divisive in disrupting the whole US political sstem; anti-Establishment; and a pragmatist with whom they could do business. As the TRUMP support operation had gained momentum, control of it had passed from the MFA to the FSB and then into the presidential administration where it remained, a reflection of its growing significance over time. There was still a view in the Kremlin that TRUMP would continue as (divisive) political force even if he lost the presidency and may run for and be elected to another public office.

12 October 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/134

RUSSIA/PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: FURTHER DETAILS OF KREMLIN LIAISON WITH TRUMP CAMPAIGN

Summary

– Close associate of SECHIN confirms his secret meeting in Moscow with Carter PAGE in July- Substance included offer of large stake in Rosneft in return for lifting sanctions on Russia. PAGE confirms this is TRUMP’s intention

– SECHIN continued to think TRUMP would win presidency up to 17 October. Now looking to reorientate his engagement with the US

– Kremlin insider highlights importance of TRUMP’s lawyer, Michael COHEN’s covert relationship with Russia. COHEN’s wife is of Russian descent and her father a leading property developer in Moscow

Detail

1. Speaking to a trusted compatriot in mid October, a close associate of Rosneft President and PUTIN all Igor’ SECHIN elaborated on the reported secret meeting between the later and Carter PAGE, of US Republican presidential candidate’s foreign policy team, in Moscow in July 2016. The secret meeting had been confirmed to him/her by a senior member of SECHIN’s staff, in addition to by the Rosneft President himself. It took place on either 7 or 8 July, the same day or the one after Carter PAGE made a public speech to the Higher Economic School in Moscow.

2, In terms of the substance of their discussion, SECHIN’s associate said that the Rosneft President was so keen to lift personal and corporate western sanctions imposed on the company that he offered PAGE/TRUMP’s associate the brokerage of up to a 19 per cent (privatised) stake in Rosneft in return. PAGE had expressed interet and confirmed that were TRUMP elected US president, then sanctions on Russia would be lifted.

3. According to SECHIN’s close associate, the Rosneft President had continued to believe that TRUMP could win the US presidency right up to 17 October, when he assessed this was no longer possible. SECHIN was keen to re-adapt accordingly and put feelers out to other business and political contacts in the US instead.

4. Speaking separately to the same compatriot in mid-October 2016, a Kremlin insider with direct access to the leadership confirmed that a key role in the secret TRUMP campaign/Kremlin relationship was being played by the Re[publican candidate’s personal lawyer Michael COHEN. [redacted: two sentences]

Source Comment

5. SECHIN’s associate opined that although PAGE had not stated it explicitly to SECHIN, he had clearly implied that in terms of his comment on TRUMP’s intention to lifet Russian sanctions if elected president, he was speaking with the Republican candidate’s authority.

Company Comment

6. [Redacted: 4 full sentences]


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/135

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF TRUMP LAWYER, COHEN IN CAMPAIGN’S SECRET LIAISON WITH THE KREMLIN

Summary

– Kremlin insider outlines important role played by TRUMP’s lawyer COHEN in secret liaison with Russian leadership- COHEN engaged with Russians in trying to cover up scandal of MANAFORT and exposure of PAGE and meets Kremlin officials secretly in the EU in August in pursuit of this goal.

– These secret contacts continue but are now farmed out to trusted agents in Kremlin-linked institutes so as to remain “plausibly deniable” for Russian regime

– Further confirmation that sacking of IVANOV and appointments of VAINO and KIRIYENKO linked to need to cover up Kremlin’s TRUMP support operation

Detail

1. Speaking in confidence to a longstanding compatriot friend in mid­ October 2016, a Kremlin insider highlighted the importance of Republican presidential candidate Donald TRUMP’s lawyer, Michael COHEN. In the ongoing secret liaison relationship between the New York tycoon’s campaign and the Russian leadership, COHEN’s role had grown following the departure of Paul MANNAFORT as TRUMP’s campaign manager in August 2016. Prior to that MANNAFORT had led for the TRUMP side.

2. According to the Kremlin insider, COHEN now was heavily engaged in a cover up and damage limitation operation in the attempt to prevent the full details of TRUMP’s relationship with Russia being exposed. In pursuit of this aim, COHEN had met secretly with several Russian Presidential Administration (PA) Legal Department officials in an EU country in August 2016. The immediate issues had been to contain further scandals involving MANNAFORT’s commercial and political role in Russia/Ukraine and to limit the damage arising from exposure of former TRUMP foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE’s secret meetings with Russian leadership figures in Moscow the previous month. The overall objective had been to “to sweep it all under the carpet and make sure no connections could be fully established or proven”.

3. Things had become even “hotter” since August on the TRUMP-Russia track. According to the Kremlin insider, this had meant that direct contact between the TRUMP team and Russia had been farmed out by the Kremlin to trusted agents of influence working in pro-government policy institutes like that of Law and Comparative Jurisprudence. COHEN however continued to lead for the TRUMP team.

4. Referring back to the (surprise) sacking of Sergei IVAN OV as Head of PA in August 2016, his replacement by Anton VAINO and the appointment of former Russian premier Sergei KIRIYENKO to another senior position in the PA, the Kremlin insider repeated that this had been directly connected to the TRUMP support operation and the need to cover up now that it was being exposed by the USG and in the western media.

Company Comment

The Kremlin insider was unsure of the identities of the PA officials with whom COHEN met secretly in August, or the exact date/s and locations of the meeting/so There were significant internal security barriers being erected in the PA as the TRUMP issue became more controversial and damaging. However s/he continued to try to obtain these.

19 October 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/136

RUSSIA/US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: FURTHER DETAILS OF TRUMP LAWYER COHEN’S SECRET LIAISON WITH THE KREMLIN

Summary

– Kremlin insider reports TRUMP lawyer COHEN’s secret meeting/s with Kremlin officials in August 2016 was/were held in Prague- Russian parastatal organisation Rossotrudnichestvo used as cover for this liaison and premises in Czech capital may have been used for the meeting/s

– Pro-PUTIN leading Duma figure, KOSACHEV, reportedly involved as “plausibly deniable” facilitator and may have participated in the August meeting/s with COHEN

Detail

1. Speaking to a compatriot and friend on 19 October 2016, a Kremlin insider provided further details of reported clandestine meeting/s between Republican presidential candidate, Donald TRUMP’s lawyer Michael COHEN and Kremlin representatives in August 2016. Although the communication between them had to be cryptic for security reasons, the Kremlin insider clearly indicated to his/her friend that the reported contact/s took place in Prague, Czech Republic.

2. Continuing on this theme, the Kremlin insider highlighted the importance of the Russian parastatal organisation, Rossotrudnichestvo, in this contact between TRUMP campaign representative/s and Kremlin officials. Rossotrudnichestvo was being used as cover for this relationship and its office in Prague may well have been used to host the COHEN/Russian Presidential Administration (PA) meeting/s. It was considered a “plausibly deniable” vehicle for this, whilst remaining entirely under Kremlin control.

3. The Kremlin insider went on to identify leading pro-PUTIN Duma figure, Konstantin KOSACHEV (Head of the Foreign Relations Committee) as an important figure in the TRUMP campaign-Kremlin liaison operation. KOSACHEV, also “plausibly deniable” being part of the Russian legislature rather than executive, had facilitated the contact in Prague and by implication, may have attended the meeting/s with COHEN there in August.

Company Comment

e reported previously, in our Company Intelligence Report 2016/135 of 19 October 2016 from the same source, that COHEN met officials from the PA Legal Department clandestinely in an EU country in August 2016. This was in order to clean up the mess left behind by western media revelations of TRUMP ex-campaign manager MANAFORT’s corrupt relationship with the former pro-Russian YANUKOVYCH regime in Ukraine and TRUMP foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE’ s secret meetings in Moscow with senior regime figures in July 2016. According to the Kremlin advisor, these meeting/s were originally scheduled for COHEN in Moscow but shifted to what was considered an operationally “soft” EU country when it was judged too compromising for him to travel to the Russian capital.

20 October 2016


COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/166

US/RUSSIA: FURTHER DETAILS OF SECRET DIALOGUE BETWEEN TRUMP CAMPAIGN TEAM, KREMLIN AND ASSOCIATED HACKERS IN PRAGUE

Summary

– TRUMP’s representative COHEN accompanied to Prague in August/September 2016 by 3 colleagues for secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers- Agenda included how to process deniable cash payments to operatives; contingency plans for covering up operations; and action in event of a CLINTON election victory

– Some further details of Russian representatives/operatives involved; Romanian hackers employed; and use of Bulgaria as bolt hole to “lie low”

– Anti-CLINTON hackers and other operatives paid by both TRUMP team and Kremlin, but with ultimate loyalty to Head of PA, IVANOV and his successor/s

Detail

1. We reported previously (2016/135 and /136) on secret meeting/s held in Prague, Czech Republic in August 2016 between then Republican presidential candidate Donald TRUMP’s representative, Michael COHEN and his interlocutors from the Kremlin working under cover of Russian ‘NGO’ Rossotrudnichestvo.

2. [Redacted: two full sentences] provided further details and anti-CLINTON/Democratic Party operations. COHEN had been accompanied to Prague by 3 colleagues and the timing of the visit was either in the last week of August or the first week of September. One of their main Russian interlocutors was Oleg SOLODUKHIN operating under Rossotrudnichestvo cover. According to [redacted: 20 characters] the agenda comprised questions on how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the CLINTON campaign and various contingencies for covering up these operations and Moscow’s secret liaison with the TRUMP team more generally.

3. [Redacted: 39 characters] reported that over the period March-September 2016 a company/Webzilla and its affiliates had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct “altering operations” against the Democratic Party leadership. Entities linked to one Aleksei CUBAROV were involved and he and another hacking expert, both recruited under duress by the FSB, Seva KAPSUGOVICH, were significant players in this operation. In Prague. COHEN agreed contingency plans for various scenarios CO protect the operation. but in particular what was to be done in the event that Hillary CLINTON won the presidency. It was important in this event that all cash payments owed were rnade quickly and discreetly and that cyber and other operators were stood down/able to go effectively to ground to cover their traces. We reported earlier that the involvement of political operatives Paul MANAFORT and Carter PAGE in the secret TRUMP­Kremlin liaison had been exposed in the media in the run-up to Prague and that damage limitation of these also was discussed by COHEN with the Kremlin representatives).

4. In terms of practical measures to be taken, it was agreed by the two sides in Prague to stand down various “Romanian hackers” (presumably based in their homeland or neighbouring eastern Europe) and that other operatives should head for a bolt-hole in Plovdiv, Bulgaria where they should “lay low”. On payments, IVANOV·s associate said that the operatives involved had been paid by both TRUMP’s team and the Kremlin, though their orders and ultimate loyalty lay with IVANOV, as Head of the PA and thus ultimately responsible for the operation, and his designated successor/s after he was dismissed by president PUTIN in connection with the anti-CLINTON operation in mid August.

13 December 2016

[End]

 

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The Polonium plot: The Litvinenko Murder revealed

In the aftermath of a British Public Inquiry, this is the dramatic full story of how the Russian State was involved in the radioactive poisoning murder in London of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent.

Revealed – The Gorbachev File by the NSA – TOP SECRET

(L to R) Vice President George H. W. Bush, President Ronald Reagan and President Mikhail Gorbachev during the Governor’s Island summit, December 1988. (Credit: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library)

Marking the 85thbirthday of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org) today posted a series of previously classified British and American documents containing Western assessments of Gorbachev starting before he took office in March 1985, and continuing through the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The documents show that conservative British politicians were ahead of the curve predicting great things for rising Soviet star Gorbachev in 1984 and 1985, but the CIA soon caught on, describing the new Soviet leader only three months into his tenure as “the new broom,” while Ronald Reagan greeted Gorbachev’s ascension with an immediate invitation for a summit. The documents posted today include positive early assessments by Margaret Thatcher and MP John Browne, CIA intelligence reports that bookend Gorbachev’s tenure from 1985 to 1991, the first letters exchanged by Reagan and Gorbachev, the American versions of key conversations with Gorbachev at the Geneva, Reykjavik and Malta summits, German chancellor Helmut Kohl’s credit to Gorbachev in 1989 for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, and the U.S. transcript of the G-7 summit in 1990 that turned down Gorbachev’s request for financial aid.

The Archive gathered the Gorbachev documentation for two books, the Link-Kuehl-Award-winning “Masterpieces of History”: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe 1989 (Central European University Press, 2010), and the forthcoming Last Superpower Summits: Gorbachev, Reagan and Bush (CEU Press, 2016). The sources include the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, and Freedom of Information and Mandatory Declassification Review requests to the CIA and the State Department.

Leading today’s Gorbachev briefing book is British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s “discovery” of Gorbachev in December 1984 during his trip to Britain as head of a Soviet parliamentary delegation. In contrast to his elderly and infirm predecessors who slowly read dry notes prepared for them, Gorbachev launched into animated free discussion and left an indelible impression on Lady Thatcher. The Prime Minister, charmed by the Soviet leader, quickly shared her impressions with her closest ally and friend, Ronald Reagan. She commented famously, “I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together.”


Alexander Yakovlev, Mikhail Gorbachev, Eduard Shevardnadze walking in the Kremlin, 1989 (personal archive of Anatoly Chernyaev)

Soon after Gorbachev became the Soviet General Secretary, a Conservative member of the British parliament, John Browne, who observed Gorbachev during his visit to Britain and then followed information on Gorbachev’s every early step, compared him to “Kennedy in the Kremlin” in terms of his charisma. By June 1985, the CIA told senior U.S. officials in a classified assessment that Gorbachev was “the new broom” that was attempting to clean up the years of debris that accumulated in the Soviet Union during the era of stagnation.

But Reagan had to see for himself. For four years before Gorbachev, as the American president complained in his diary, he had been trying to meet with a Soviet leader face to face, but “they keep dying on me.” In his first letter to Gorbachev, which Vice President George H.W. Bush carried to Moscow for the funeral of Gorbachev’s predecessor, Reagan invited Gorbachev to meet. Gorbachev and Reagan became pen-pals who wrote long letters – sometimes personally dictated, even handwritten – explaining their positions on arms control, strategic defenses, and the need for nuclear abolition.

Their first meeting took place in Geneva in November 1985, where in an informal atmosphere of “fireside chats” they began realizing that the other was not a warmonger but a human being with a very similar dream—to rid the world of nuclear weapons. That dream came very close to a breakthrough during Gorbachev and Reagan’s summit in Reykjavik; but Reagan’s stubborn insistence on SDI and Gorbachev’s stubborn unwillingness to take Reagan at his word on technology sharing prevented them from reaching their common goal.

Through a series of unprecedented superpower summits, Gorbachev made Reagan and Bush understand that the Soviet leader was serious about transforming his country not to threaten others, but to help its own citizens live fuller and happier lives, and to be fully integrated into the “family of nations.” Gorbachev also learned from his foreign counterparts, establishing a kind of peer group with France’s Mitterrand, Germany’s Kohl, Britain’s Thatcher, and Spain’s Gonzalez, which developed his reformist positions further and further. By the time George H.W. Bush as president finally met Gorbachev in Malta, the Soviet Union was having free elections, freedom of speech was blossoming, velvet revolutions had brought reformers to power in Eastern Europe, and the Berlin Wall had fallen to cheers of citizens but severe anxieties in other world capitals.

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl wrote in his letter to Bush at the end of November 1989: “Regarding the reform process in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the CSSR [Czechoslovakia], and not least the GDR [East Germany], we have General Secretary Gorbachev’s policies to thank. His perestroika has let loose, made easier, or accelerated these reforms. He pushed governments unwilling to make reforms toward openness and toward acceptance of the people’s wishes; and he accepted developments that in some instances far surpassed the Soviet Union’s own standards.”

In 1989, the dream of what Gorbachev called “the common European home” was in the air and Gorbachev was the most popular politician in the world. When he was faced with discontent and opposition in his country, he refused to use force, like his Chinese neighbors did at Tiananmen Square. And yet, the West consistently applied harsher standards to Gorbachev’s Soviet Union than to China, resulting in feet dragging on financial aid, credits, and trade. As Francois Mitterrand pointed out during the G-7 summit in Houston in 1990: “the argument put forth for helping China is just the reverse when we are dealing with the USSR. We are too timid […] regarding aid to the USSR. […].”

What Gorbachev started in March 1985 made his country and the world better. In cooperation with Reagan and Bush, he ended the Cold War, pulled Soviet troops out of Afghanistan, helped resolve local conflicts around the globe, and gave Russia the hope and the opportunity to develop as a normal democratic country. As with many great reformers, he did not achieve everything he was striving for – he certainly never intended for the Soviet Union to collapse – but his glasnost, his non-violence, and his “new thinking” for an interdependent world created a legacy that few statesmen or women can match. Happy birthday, Mikhail Sergeyevich!


READ THE DOCUMENTS

Document-01
Memorandum of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher. December 16, 1984, Chequers.
1984-12-16
This face-to-face encounter between British Prime Minister and the leader of a Soviet parliamentary delegation produced a conversation that both Thatcher and Gorbachev would refer to many times in the future. Gorbachev engaged Thatcher on all the issues that she raised, did not duck hard questions, but did not appear combative. He spoke about the low point then evident in East-West relations and the need to stop the arms race before it was too late. He especially expressed himself strongly against the Strategic Defense Initiative promoted by the Reagan administration. Soon after this conversation Thatcher flew to Washington to share her enthusiastic assessment with Gorbachev with Reagan and encourage him to engage the Soviet leader in trying to lower the East-West tensions. She told her friend and ally what she had told the BBC, “I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together” – and described him to Reagan as an “unusual Russian…. [m]uch less constrained, more charming,” and not defensive in the usual Soviet way about human rights.
Document-02
Letter from Reagan to Gorbachev. March 11, 1985
1985-03-11
Vice President George H.W. Bush hand delivered this first letter from President Reagan to the new leader of the Soviet Union, after the state funeral for Konstantin Chernenko in March 1985 (“you die, I fly” as Bush memorably remarked about his job as the ceremonial U.S. mourner for world leaders). The letter contains two especially noteworthy passages, one inviting Mikhail Gorbachev to come to Washington for a summit, and the second expressing Reagan’s hope that arms control negotiations “provide us with a genuine chance to make progress toward our common ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons.” Reagan is reaching for a pen-pal, just as he did as early as 1981, when he hand-wrote a heartfelt letter during his recovery from an assassination attempt, to then-General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev suggesting face-to-face meetings and referring to the existential danger of nuclear weapons – only to get a formalistic reply. Subsequent letters between Reagan and the whole series of Soviet leaders (“they keep dying on me,” Reagan complained) contain extensive language on many of the themes – such as the ultimate threat of nuclear annihilation – that would come up over and over again when Reagan finally found a partner on the Soviet side in Gorbachev. Even Chernenko had received a hand-written add-on by Reagan appreciating Soviet losses in World War II and crediting Moscow with a consequent aversion to war.
Document-03
Gorbachev Letter to Reagan, March 24, 1985
1985-03-24
This lengthy first letter from the new Soviet General Secretary to the U.S. President displays Gorbachev’s characteristic verbal style with an emphasis on persuasion. The Soviet leader eagerly takes on the new mode of communication proposed by Reagan in his March 11 letter, and plunges into a voluminous and wide-ranging correspondence between the two leaders – often quite formal and stiff, occasionally very personal and expressive, and always designed for effect, such as when Reagan would laboriously copy out by hand his official texts. Here Gorbachev emphasizes the need to improve relations between the two countries on the basis of peaceful competition and respect for each other’s economic and social choices. He notes the responsibility of the two superpowers for world peace, and their common interest “not to let things come to the outbreak of nuclear war, which would inevitably have catastrophic consequences for both sides.” Underscoring the importance of building trust, the Soviet leader accepts Reagan’s invitation in the March 11 letter to visit at the highest level and proposes that such a visit should “not necessarily be concluded by signing some major documents.” Rather, “it should be a meeting to search for mutual understanding.”
Document-04
Reagan Letter to Gorbachev. April 30, 1985
1985-04-30
Perhaps as a reflection of the internal debates in Washington (and even in Reagan’s own head), it would take more than a month for the administration to produce a detailed response to Gorbachev’s March 24 letter. The first two pages rehash the issues around the tragic killing of American Major Arthur Nicholson by a Soviet guard, before moving to the sore subject of Afghanistan. Reagan vows, “I am prepared to work with you to move the region toward peace, if you desire”; at the same time, U.S. and Saudi aid to the mujahedin fighting the Soviets was rapidly expanding. Reagan objects to Gorbachev’s unilateral April 7 announcement of a moratorium on deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe, since the Soviet deployment was largely complete while NATO’s was still underway. The heart of the letter addresses Gorbachev’s objections to SDI, and Reagan mentions that he was struck by Gorbachev’s characterization of SDI as having “an offensive purpose for an attack on the Soviet Union. I can assure you that you are profoundly mistaken on this point.” Interestingly, the Reagan letter tries to reassure Gorbachev by citing the necessity of “some years of further research” and “further years” before deployment (Reagan could not have suspected decades rather than years). This back-and-forth on SDI would be a constant in the two leaders’ correspondence and conversations at the summits to come, but the consistency of Reagan’s position on this (in contrast to that of Pentagon advocates of “space dominance”), not only to Gorbachev but to Thatcher and to his own staff, suggests some room for Gorbachev to take up the President on his assurances – which never happened.
Document-05
“Mr. Gorbachev-a Kennedy in the Kremlin?” By John Browne (Member of Parliament from Winchester, England). Impressions of the Man, His Style and his Likely Impact Upon East West Relations. May 20, 1985.
1985-05-20
British MP John Browne, member of the Conservative party, was part of the Receiving Committee for Gorbachev’s visit to London in December 1984 and spend considerable time with him during his trips (including to the Lenin museum). This long essay, sent to President Reagan, and summarized for him by his National Security Adviser, describes Gorbachev as an unusual Soviet politician-“intelligent, alert and inquisitive.” Browne notes “that Gorbachev’s charisma was so striking that, if permitted by the Communist Party system, Mr. and Mrs. Gorbachev could well become the Soviet equivalent of the Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy team.” On the basis of his observations in 1984 and after Gorbachev was elected General Secretary, Browne concludes that politicians of Western democracies are likely to face an increasingly sophisticated political challenge from Mr. Gorbachev both at home and abroad.
Document-06
Letter from Gorbachev to Reagan. June 10, 1985
1985-06-10
In this long and wide-ranging response to Reagan’s letter of April 30, the Soviet leader makes a real push for improvement of relations on numerous issues. The date June 10 is significant because on this day in Washington Reagan finally took the action (deactivating a Poseidon submarine) necessary to keep the U.S. in compliance with the unratified (but observed by both sides) SALT II treaty. Here Gorbachev raises the issue of equality and reciprocity in U.S.-Soviet relations, noting that it is the Soviet Union that is “surrounded by American military bases stuffed also by nuclear weapons, rather than the U.S. – by Soviet bases.” He suggests that all previous important treaties between the United States and the Soviet Union were possible on the assumption of parity, and that Reagan’s recent focus on SDI threatens to destabilize the strategic balance – yet again demonstrating Gorbachev’s deep apprehension about Reagan’s position on strategic defenses. The Soviet leader believes that the development of ABM systems would lead to a radical destabilization of the situation and the militarization of space. At the heart of the Soviet visceral rejection of SDI is the image of “attack space weapons capable of performing purely offensive missions.” Gorbachev proposes energizing negotiations on conventional weapons in Europe, chemical weapons, the nuclear test ban, and regional issues, especially Afghanistan. He calls for a moratorium on nuclear tests “as soon as possible” – the Soviets would end up doing this unilaterally, never understanding that the issue is a non-starter in Reagan’s eyes. Here, the Soviet leader also welcomes horizontal exchanges between government ministers and even members of legislatures. However, Gorbachev’s position on human rights remains quite rigid-“we do not intend and will not conduct any negotiations relating to human rights in the Soviet Union.” That would change.
Document-07
Dinner Hosted by the Gorbachevs in Geneva. November 19, 1985.
1985-11-19
In their first face-to-face meeting at Geneva, which both of them anticipated eagerly, Reagan and Gorbachev both spoke about the mistrust and suspicions of the past and of the need to begin a new stage in U.S.-Soviet relations. Gorbachev described his view of the international situation to Reagan, stressing the need to end the arms race. Reagan expressed his concern with Soviet activity in the third world–helping the socialist revolutions in the developing countries. They both spoke about their aversion to nuclear weapons. During this first dinner of the Geneva summit, Gorbachev used a quote from the Bible that there was a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones which have been cast in the past to indicate that now the President and he should move to resolve their practical disagreements in the last day of meetings remaining. In response, Reagan remarked that “if the people of the world were to find out that there was some alien life form that was going to attack the Earth approaching on Halley’s Comet, then that knowledge would unite all peoples of the world.” The aliens had landed, in Reagan’s view, in the form of nuclear weapons; and Gorbachev would remember this phrase, quoting it directly in his famous “new thinking” speech at the 27th Party Congress in February 1986.
Document-08
Last Session of the Reykjavik Summit. October 12, 1986.
1986-10-12
The last session at Reykjavik is the one that inspires Gorbachev’s comment in his memoirs about “Shakespearean passions.” The transcript shows lots of confusion between just proposals on reducing ballistic missiles versus those reducing all nuclear weapons, but finally Reagan says, as he always wanted, nuclear abolition. “We can do that. Let’s eliminate them,” says Gorbachev, and Secretary of State George Shultz reinforces, “Let’s do it.” But then they circle back around to SDI and the ABM Treaty issue, and Gorbachev insists on the word “laboratory” as in testing confined there, and Reagan, already hostile to the ABM Treaty, keeps seeing that as giving up SDI. Gorbachev says he cannot go back to Moscow to say he let testing go on outside the lab, which could lead to a functioning system in the future. The transcript shows Reagan asking Gorbachev for agreement as a personal favor, and Gorbachev saying well if that was about agriculture, maybe, but this is fundamental national security. Finally at around 6:30 p.m. Reagan closes his briefing book and stands up. The American and the Russian transcripts differ on the last words, the Russian version has more detail [see the forthcoming book, Last Superpower Summits], but the sense is the same. Their faces reflect the disappointment, Gorbachev had helped Reagan to say nyet, but Gorbachev probably lost more from the failure.
Document-09
Letter to Reagan from Thatcher About Her Meetings with Gorbachev in Moscow. April 1, 1987
1987-04-01
Again, Margaret Thatcher informs her ally Reagan about her conversations with Gorbachev. The cover note from National Security Advisor Carlucci (prepared by NSC staffer Fritz Ermarth) states that “she has been greatly impressed by Gorbachev personally.” Thatcher describes Gorbachev as “fully in charge,” “determined to press ahead with his internal reform,” and “talk[ing] about his aims with almost messianic fervor.” She believes in the seriousness of his reformist thinking and wants to support him. However, they differ on one most crucial issue, which actually unites Gorbachev and Reagan-nuclear abolition. Thatcher writes, “[h]is aim is patently the denuclearization of Europe. I left him with no doubt that I would never accept that.”
Document-10
Letter to Bush from Chancellor Helmut Kohl. November 28, 1989.
1989-11-28
This remarkable letter arrives at the White House at the very moment when Kohl is presenting his “10 points” speech to the Bundestag about future German unification, much to the surprise of the White House, the Kremlin, and even Kohl’s own coalition partners in Germany (such as his foreign minister). Here, just weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German leader encourages Bush to engage with Gorbachev across the board and to contribute to peaceful change in Europe. Kohl points that Gorbachev “wants to continue his policies resolutely, consistently and dynamically, but is meeting internal resistance and is dependent on external support.” He hopes Bush’s upcoming meeting with Gorbachev in Malta will “give strong stimulus to the arms control negotiations.” Kohl also reminds Bush that “regarding the reform process in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the CSSR [Czechoslovakia], and not least the GDR [East Germany], we have General Secretary Gorbachev’s policies to thank. His perestroika has let loose, made easier, or accelerated these reforms. He pushed governments unwilling to make reforms toward openness and toward acceptance of the people’s wishes; and he accepted developments that in some instances far surpassed the Soviet Union’s own standards.”
Document-11
Malta First Expanded Bilateral with George Bush. December 2, 1989.
1989-12-02
Being rocked by the waves on the Soviet ship Maxim Gorky, President Bush greets his Russian counterpart for the first time as President. A lot has changed in the world since they last saw each other on Governor’s Island in December 1988-elections had been held in the Soviet Union and in Poland, where a non-communist government came to power, and the Iron Curtain fell together with the Berlin Wall. After Bush’s initial presentation from notes, Gorbachev remarks almost bemusedly that now he sees the American administration has made up its mind (finally) what to do, and that includes “specific steps” or at least “plans for such steps” to support perestroika, not to doubt it. Gorbachev compliments Bush for not sharing the old Cold War thinking that “The only thing the U.S. needs to do is to keep its baskets ready to gather the fruit” from the changes in Eastern Europe and the USSR. Bush responds, “I have been called cautious or timid. I am cautious, but not timid. But I have conducted myself in ways not to complicate your life. That’s why I have not jumped up and down on the Berlin Wall.” Gorbachev says, “Yes, we have seen that, and appreciate that.” The Soviet leader goes on to welcome Bush’s economic and trade points as a “signal of a new U.S. policy” that U.S. business was waiting for. Gorbachev responds positively to each of Bush’s overtures on arms control, chemical weapons, conventional forces, next summits and so forth, but pushes back on Bush’s Cuba and Central America obsessions.
Document-12
First Main Plenary of the G-7 Summit in Houston. July 10, 1990.
1990-07-10
The bulk of discussion at this first session of the summit of the industrialized nations is devoted to the issue of how the club of the rich countries should react to the events unfolding in the Soviet Union and how much aid and investment could be directed to the support of perestroika. The summit is taking place at the time when Gorbachev is engaged in an increasingly desperate search for scenarios for radical economic reform, and fast political democratization, but he needs external financial support and integration into global financial institutions in order to succeed – or even to survive, as the events of August 1991 would show. Just before this 1990 G-7, Gorbachev wrote in a letter to George Bush that he needs “long-term credit assistance, attraction of foreign capital, transfer of managerial experience and personnel training” to create a competitive economy. Yet, the U.S. president throws only a bone or two, like “step up the pace of our negotiations with the Soviets on the Tsarist and Kerensky debts [!] to the U.S. government” (instead of forgiving or at least restructuring the debt), and “expand our existing technical cooperation.” Bush concludes his speech by stating flatly “It is impossible for the U.S. to loan money to the USSR at this time. I know, however, that others won’t agree.” The leaders who do not agree are Helmut Kohl (in the middle of providing billions of deutschmarks to the USSR to lubricate German unification) and Francois Mitterrand. The latter decries the double standards being applied to the Soviet Union and China, even after the Tiananmen massacre. Mitterrand criticizes the proposed political declaration of the G-7 as “timid” and “hesitant,” imposing “harsh political conditions as a preliminary to extending aid.” He believes the EC countries are in favor of contributing aid to the USSR but that other members, like the U.S. and Japan, have effectively vetoed such assistance.
Document-13
CIA Memorandum, The Gorbachev Succession. April 1991.
1991-04-00
On April 10, 1991, the National Security Council staff asked the CIA for an analysis of the Gorbachev succession, who the main actors would be, and the likely scenarios. The assessment opens quite drastically: “The Gorbachev era is effectively over.” The scenarios offered have an eerie resemblance to the actual coup that would come in August 1991. This might be the most prescient of all the CIA analyses of the perestroika years. The report finds that Gorbachev is likely to be replaced either by the reformers or the hard-liners, with the latter being more likely. The authors point out that “there is no love between Gorbachev and his current allies and they could well move to try to dump him.” They then list possible conspirators for such a move– Vice President Yanaev, KGB Chief Kryuchkov, and Defense Minister Yazov, among others, all of whom whom participate in the August coup. The report predicts that the “traditionalists” are likely to find a “legal veneer” for removing Gorbachev: “most likely they would present Gorbachev with an ultimatum to comply or face arrest or death.” If he agreed, Yanaev would step in as president, the conspirators would declare a state of emergency and install “some kind of a National Salvation Committee.” However, the memo concludes that “time is working against the traditionalists.” This turned out to be both prescient and correct – the August coup followed the process outlined in this document and the plot foundered because the security forces themselves were fractured and the democratic movements were gaining strength. But indeed, the coup, the resurgence of Boris Yeltsin as leader of the Russian republic, and the secession of Russia from the Soviet Union during the fall of 1991 did mark the end of the Gorbachev era.

The NSA unveils The Gorbachev File

British and CIA Assessments, Presidential Letters and Summit Conversations Illuminate Perestroika and the End of the Cold War

First and Last President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev Turns 85

National Security Archive Briefing Book No. 544
Compiled and edited by Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton
Posted – March 2, 2016
For more information, contact: National Security Archive
202.994.7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

 



Secretary of State James Baker, National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, Raisa Gorbacheva, Adviser Anatoly Chernyaev, President Mikhail Gorbachev at Camp David, June 1990 (from A.S. Chernyaev’s personal archive)

Washington, D.C., March 2, 2016 – Marking the 85th birthday of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org) today posted a series of previously classified British and American documents containing Western assessments of Gorbachev starting before he took office in March 1985, and continuing through the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The documents show that conservative British politicians were ahead of the curve predicting great things for rising Soviet star Gorbachev in 1984 and 1985, but the CIA soon caught on, describing the new Soviet leader only three months into his tenure as “the new broom,” while Ronald Reagan greeted Gorbachev’s ascension with an immediate invitation for a summit. The documents posted today include positive early assessments by Margaret Thatcher and MP John Browne, CIA intelligence reports that bookend Gorbachev’s tenure from 1985 to 1991, the first letters exchanged by Reagan and Gorbachev, the American versions of key conversations with Gorbachev at the Geneva, Reykjavik and Malta summits, German chancellor Helmut Kohl’s credit to Gorbachev in 1989 for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, and the U.S. transcript of the G-7 summit in 1990 that turned down Gorbachev’s request for financial aid.

The Archive gathered the Gorbachev documentation for two books, the Link-Kuehl-Award-winning “Masterpieces of History”: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe 1989 (Central European University Press, 2010), and the forthcoming Last Superpower Summits: Gorbachev, Reagan and Bush (CEU Press, 2016). The sources include the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, and Freedom of Information and Mandatory Declassification Review requests to the CIA and the State Department.

Leading today’s Gorbachev briefing book is British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s “discovery” of Gorbachev in December 1984 during his trip to Britain as head of a Soviet parliamentary delegation. In contrast to his elderly and infirm predecessors who slowly read dry notes prepared for them, Gorbachev launched into animated free discussion and left an indelible impression on Lady Thatcher. The Prime Minister, charmed by the Soviet leader, quickly shared her impressions with her closest ally and friend, Ronald Reagan. She commented famously, “I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together.”


Alexander Yakovlev, Mikhail Gorbachev, Eduard Shevardnadze walking in the Kremlin, 1989 (personal archive of Anatoly Chernyaev)

Soon after Gorbachev became the Soviet General Secretary, a Conservative member of the British parliament, John Browne, who observed Gorbachev during his visit to Britain and then followed information on Gorbachev’s every early step, compared him to “Kennedy in the Kremlin” in terms of his charisma. By June 1985, the CIA told senior U.S. officials in a classified assessment that Gorbachev was “the new broom” that was attempting to clean up the years of debris that accumulated in the Soviet Union during the era of stagnation.

But Reagan had to see for himself. For four years before Gorbachev, as the American president complained in his diary, he had been trying to meet with a Soviet leader face to face, but “they keep dying on me.” In his first letter to Gorbachev, which Vice President George H.W. Bush carried to Moscow for the funeral of Gorbachev’s predecessor, Reagan invited Gorbachev to meet. Gorbachev and Reagan became pen-pals who wrote long letters – sometimes personally dictated, even handwritten – explaining their positions on arms control, strategic defenses, and the need for nuclear abolition.

Their first meeting took place in Geneva in November 1985, where in an informal atmosphere of “fireside chats” they began realizing that the other was not a warmonger but a human being with a very similar dream—to rid the world of nuclear weapons. That dream came very close to a breakthrough during Gorbachev and Reagan’s summit in Reykjavik; but Reagan’s stubborn insistence on SDI and Gorbachev’s stubborn unwillingness to take Reagan at his word on technology sharing prevented them from reaching their common goal.

Through a series of unprecedented superpower summits, Gorbachev made Reagan and Bush understand that the Soviet leader was serious about transforming his country not to threaten others, but to help its own citizens live fuller and happier lives, and to be fully integrated into the “family of nations.” Gorbachev also learned from his foreign counterparts, establishing a kind of peer group with France’s Mitterrand, Germany’s Kohl, Britain’s Thatcher, and Spain’s Gonzalez, which developed his reformist positions further and further. By the time George H.W. Bush as president finally met Gorbachev in Malta, the Soviet Union was having free elections, freedom of speech was blossoming, velvet revolutions had brought reformers to power in Eastern Europe, and the Berlin Wall had fallen to cheers of citizens but severe anxieties in other world capitals.

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl wrote in his letter to Bush at the end of November 1989: “Regarding the reform process in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the CSSR [Czechoslovakia], and not least the GDR [East Germany], we have General Secretary Gorbachev’s policies to thank. His perestroika has let loose, made easier, or accelerated these reforms. He pushed governments unwilling to make reforms toward openness and toward acceptance of the people’s wishes; and he accepted developments that in some instances far surpassed the Soviet Union’s own standards.”

In 1989, the dream of what Gorbachev called “the common European home” was in the air and Gorbachev was the most popular politician in the world. When he was faced with discontent and opposition in his country, he refused to use force, like his Chinese neighbors did at Tiananmen Square. And yet, the West consistently applied harsher standards to Gorbachev’s Soviet Union than to China, resulting in feet dragging on financial aid, credits, and trade. As Francois Mitterrand pointed out during the G-7 summit in Houston in 1990: “the argument put forth for helping China is just the reverse when we are dealing with the USSR. We are too timid […] regarding aid to the USSR. […].”

What Gorbachev started in March 1985 made his country and the world better. In cooperation with Reagan and Bush, he ended the Cold War, pulled Soviet troops out of Afghanistan, helped resolve local conflicts around the globe, and gave Russia the hope and the opportunity to develop as a normal democratic country. As with many great reformers, he did not achieve everything he was striving for – he certainly never intended for the Soviet Union to collapse – but his glasnost, his non-violence, and his “new thinking” for an interdependent world created a legacy that few statesmen or women can match. Happy birthday, Mikhail Sergeyevich!


READ THE DOCUMENTS

Document-01
Memorandum of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher. December 16, 1984, Chequers.
1984-12-16
This face-to-face encounter between British Prime Minister and the leader of a Soviet parliamentary delegation produced a conversation that both Thatcher and Gorbachev would refer to many times in the future. Gorbachev engaged Thatcher on all the issues that she raised, did not duck hard questions, but did not appear combative. He spoke about the low point then evident in East-West relations and the need to stop the arms race before it was too late. He especially expressed himself strongly against the Strategic Defense Initiative promoted by the Reagan administration. Soon after this conversation Thatcher flew to Washington to share her enthusiastic assessment with Gorbachev with Reagan and encourage him to engage the Soviet leader in trying to lower the East-West tensions. She told her friend and ally what she had told the BBC, “I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together” – and described him to Reagan as an “unusual Russian…. [m]uch less constrained, more charming,” and not defensive in the usual Soviet way about human rights.
Document-02
Letter from Reagan to Gorbachev. March 11, 1985
1985-03-11
Vice President George H.W. Bush hand delivered this first letter from President Reagan to the new leader of the Soviet Union, after the state funeral for Konstantin Chernenko in March 1985 (“you die, I fly” as Bush memorably remarked about his job as the ceremonial U.S. mourner for world leaders). The letter contains two especially noteworthy passages, one inviting Mikhail Gorbachev to come to Washington for a summit, and the second expressing Reagan’s hope that arms control negotiations “provide us with a genuine chance to make progress toward our common ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons.” Reagan is reaching for a pen-pal, just as he did as early as 1981, when he hand-wrote a heartfelt letter during his recovery from an assassination attempt, to then-General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev suggesting face-to-face meetings and referring to the existential danger of nuclear weapons – only to get a formalistic reply. Subsequent letters between Reagan and the whole series of Soviet leaders (“they keep dying on me,” Reagan complained) contain extensive language on many of the themes – such as the ultimate threat of nuclear annihilation – that would come up over and over again when Reagan finally found a partner on the Soviet side in Gorbachev. Even Chernenko had received a hand-written add-on by Reagan appreciating Soviet losses in World War II and crediting Moscow with a consequent aversion to war.
Document-03
Gorbachev Letter to Reagan, March 24, 1985
1985-03-24
This lengthy first letter from the new Soviet General Secretary to the U.S. President displays Gorbachev’s characteristic verbal style with an emphasis on persuasion. The Soviet leader eagerly takes on the new mode of communication proposed by Reagan in his March 11 letter, and plunges into a voluminous and wide-ranging correspondence between the two leaders – often quite formal and stiff, occasionally very personal and expressive, and always designed for effect, such as when Reagan would laboriously copy out by hand his official texts. Here Gorbachev emphasizes the need to improve relations between the two countries on the basis of peaceful competition and respect for each other’s economic and social choices. He notes the responsibility of the two superpowers for world peace, and their common interest “not to let things come to the outbreak of nuclear war, which would inevitably have catastrophic consequences for both sides.” Underscoring the importance of building trust, the Soviet leader accepts Reagan’s invitation in the March 11 letter to visit at the highest level and proposes that such a visit should “not necessarily be concluded by signing some major documents.” Rather, “it should be a meeting to search for mutual understanding.”
Document-04
Reagan Letter to Gorbachev. April 30, 1985
1985-04-30
Perhaps as a reflection of the internal debates in Washington (and even in Reagan’s own head), it would take more than a month for the administration to produce a detailed response to Gorbachev’s March 24 letter. The first two pages rehash the issues around the tragic killing of American Major Arthur Nicholson by a Soviet guard, before moving to the sore subject of Afghanistan. Reagan vows, “I am prepared to work with you to move the region toward peace, if you desire”; at the same time, U.S. and Saudi aid to the mujahedin fighting the Soviets was rapidly expanding. Reagan objects to Gorbachev’s unilateral April 7 announcement of a moratorium on deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe, since the Soviet deployment was largely complete while NATO’s was still underway. The heart of the letter addresses Gorbachev’s objections to SDI, and Reagan mentions that he was struck by Gorbachev’s characterization of SDI as having “an offensive purpose for an attack on the Soviet Union. I can assure you that you are profoundly mistaken on this point.” Interestingly, the Reagan letter tries to reassure Gorbachev by citing the necessity of “some years of further research” and “further years” before deployment (Reagan could not have suspected decades rather than years). This back-and-forth on SDI would be a constant in the two leaders’ correspondence and conversations at the summits to come, but the consistency of Reagan’s position on this (in contrast to that of Pentagon advocates of “space dominance”), not only to Gorbachev but to Thatcher and to his own staff, suggests some room for Gorbachev to take up the President on his assurances – which never happened.
Document-05
“Mr. Gorbachev-a Kennedy in the Kremlin?” By John Browne (Member of Parliament from Winchester, England). Impressions of the Man, His Style and his Likely Impact Upon East West Relations. May 20, 1985.
1985-05-20
British MP John Browne, member of the Conservative party, was part of the Receiving Committee for Gorbachev’s visit to London in December 1984 and spend considerable time with him during his trips (including to the Lenin museum). This long essay, sent to President Reagan, and summarized for him by his National Security Adviser, describes Gorbachev as an unusual Soviet politician-“intelligent, alert and inquisitive.” Browne notes “that Gorbachev’s charisma was so striking that, if permitted by the Communist Party system, Mr. and Mrs. Gorbachev could well become the Soviet equivalent of the Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy team.” On the basis of his observations in 1984 and after Gorbachev was elected General Secretary, Browne concludes that politicians of Western democracies are likely to face an increasingly sophisticated political challenge from Mr. Gorbachev both at home and abroad.
Document-06
Letter from Gorbachev to Reagan. June 10, 1985
1985-06-10
In this long and wide-ranging response to Reagan’s letter of April 30, the Soviet leader makes a real push for improvement of relations on numerous issues. The date June 10 is significant because on this day in Washington Reagan finally took the action (deactivating a Poseidon submarine) necessary to keep the U.S. in compliance with the unratified (but observed by both sides) SALT II treaty. Here Gorbachev raises the issue of equality and reciprocity in U.S.-Soviet relations, noting that it is the Soviet Union that is “surrounded by American military bases stuffed also by nuclear weapons, rather than the U.S. – by Soviet bases.” He suggests that all previous important treaties between the United States and the Soviet Union were possible on the assumption of parity, and that Reagan’s recent focus on SDI threatens to destabilize the strategic balance – yet again demonstrating Gorbachev’s deep apprehension about Reagan’s position on strategic defenses. The Soviet leader believes that the development of ABM systems would lead to a radical destabilization of the situation and the militarization of space. At the heart of the Soviet visceral rejection of SDI is the image of “attack space weapons capable of performing purely offensive missions.” Gorbachev proposes energizing negotiations on conventional weapons in Europe, chemical weapons, the nuclear test ban, and regional issues, especially Afghanistan. He calls for a moratorium on nuclear tests “as soon as possible” – the Soviets would end up doing this unilaterally, never understanding that the issue is a non-starter in Reagan’s eyes. Here, the Soviet leader also welcomes horizontal exchanges between government ministers and even members of legislatures. However, Gorbachev’s position on human rights remains quite rigid-“we do not intend and will not conduct any negotiations relating to human rights in the Soviet Union.” That would change.
Document-07
Dinner Hosted by the Gorbachevs in Geneva. November 19, 1985.
1985-11-19
In their first face-to-face meeting at Geneva, which both of them anticipated eagerly, Reagan and Gorbachev both spoke about the mistrust and suspicions of the past and of the need to begin a new stage in U.S.-Soviet relations. Gorbachev described his view of the international situation to Reagan, stressing the need to end the arms race. Reagan expressed his concern with Soviet activity in the third world–helping the socialist revolutions in the developing countries. They both spoke about their aversion to nuclear weapons. During this first dinner of the Geneva summit, Gorbachev used a quote from the Bible that there was a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones which have been cast in the past to indicate that now the President and he should move to resolve their practical disagreements in the last day of meetings remaining. In response, Reagan remarked that “if the people of the world were to find out that there was some alien life form that was going to attack the Earth approaching on Halley’s Comet, then that knowledge would unite all peoples of the world.” The aliens had landed, in Reagan’s view, in the form of nuclear weapons; and Gorbachev would remember this phrase, quoting it directly in his famous “new thinking” speech at the 27th Party Congress in February 1986.
Document-08
Last Session of the Reykjavik Summit. October 12, 1986.
1986-10-12
The last session at Reykjavik is the one that inspires Gorbachev’s comment in his memoirs about “Shakespearean passions.” The transcript shows lots of confusion between just proposals on reducing ballistic missiles versus those reducing all nuclear weapons, but finally Reagan says, as he always wanted, nuclear abolition. “We can do that. Let’s eliminate them,” says Gorbachev, and Secretary of State George Shultz reinforces, “Let’s do it.” But then they circle back around to SDI and the ABM Treaty issue, and Gorbachev insists on the word “laboratory” as in testing confined there, and Reagan, already hostile to the ABM Treaty, keeps seeing that as giving up SDI. Gorbachev says he cannot go back to Moscow to say he let testing go on outside the lab, which could lead to a functioning system in the future. The transcript shows Reagan asking Gorbachev for agreement as a personal favor, and Gorbachev saying well if that was about agriculture, maybe, but this is fundamental national security. Finally at around 6:30 p.m. Reagan closes his briefing book and stands up. The American and the Russian transcripts differ on the last words, the Russian version has more detail [see the forthcoming book, Last Superpower Summits], but the sense is the same. Their faces reflect the disappointment, Gorbachev had helped Reagan to say nyet, but Gorbachev probably lost more from the failure.
Document-09
Letter to Reagan from Thatcher About Her Meetings with Gorbachev in Moscow. April 1, 1987
1987-04-01
Again, Margaret Thatcher informs her ally Reagan about her conversations with Gorbachev. The cover note from National Security Advisor Carlucci (prepared by NSC staffer Fritz Ermarth) states that “she has been greatly impressed by Gorbachev personally.” Thatcher describes Gorbachev as “fully in charge,” “determined to press ahead with his internal reform,” and “talk[ing] about his aims with almost messianic fervor.” She believes in the seriousness of his reformist thinking and wants to support him. However, they differ on one most crucial issue, which actually unites Gorbachev and Reagan-nuclear abolition. Thatcher writes, “[h]is aim is patently the denuclearization of Europe. I left him with no doubt that I would never accept that.”
Document-10
Letter to Bush from Chancellor Helmut Kohl. November 28, 1989.
1989-11-28
This remarkable letter arrives at the White House at the very moment when Kohl is presenting his “10 points” speech to the Bundestag about future German unification, much to the surprise of the White House, the Kremlin, and even Kohl’s own coalition partners in Germany (such as his foreign minister). Here, just weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German leader encourages Bush to engage with Gorbachev across the board and to contribute to peaceful change in Europe. Kohl points that Gorbachev “wants to continue his policies resolutely, consistently and dynamically, but is meeting internal resistance and is dependent on external support.” He hopes Bush’s upcoming meeting with Gorbachev in Malta will “give strong stimulus to the arms control negotiations.” Kohl also reminds Bush that “regarding the reform process in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the CSSR [Czechoslovakia], and not least the GDR [East Germany], we have General Secretary Gorbachev’s policies to thank. His perestroika has let loose, made easier, or accelerated these reforms. He pushed governments unwilling to make reforms toward openness and toward acceptance of the people’s wishes; and he accepted developments that in some instances far surpassed the Soviet Union’s own standards.”
Document-11
Malta First Expanded Bilateral with George Bush. December 2, 1989.
1989-12-02
Being rocked by the waves on the Soviet ship Maxim Gorky, President Bush greets his Russian counterpart for the first time as President. A lot has changed in the world since they last saw each other on Governor’s Island in December 1988-elections had been held in the Soviet Union and in Poland, where a non-communist government came to power, and the Iron Curtain fell together with the Berlin Wall. After Bush’s initial presentation from notes, Gorbachev remarks almost bemusedly that now he sees the American administration has made up its mind (finally) what to do, and that includes “specific steps” or at least “plans for such steps” to support perestroika, not to doubt it. Gorbachev compliments Bush for not sharing the old Cold War thinking that “The only thing the U.S. needs to do is to keep its baskets ready to gather the fruit” from the changes in Eastern Europe and the USSR. Bush responds, “I have been called cautious or timid. I am cautious, but not timid. But I have conducted myself in ways not to complicate your life. That’s why I have not jumped up and down on the Berlin Wall.” Gorbachev says, “Yes, we have seen that, and appreciate that.” The Soviet leader goes on to welcome Bush’s economic and trade points as a “signal of a new U.S. policy” that U.S. business was waiting for. Gorbachev responds positively to each of Bush’s overtures on arms control, chemical weapons, conventional forces, next summits and so forth, but pushes back on Bush’s Cuba and Central America obsessions.
Document-12
First Main Plenary of the G-7 Summit in Houston. July 10, 1990.
1990-07-10
The bulk of discussion at this first session of the summit of the industrialized nations is devoted to the issue of how the club of the rich countries should react to the events unfolding in the Soviet Union and how much aid and investment could be directed to the support of perestroika. The summit is taking place at the time when Gorbachev is engaged in an increasingly desperate search for scenarios for radical economic reform, and fast political democratization, but he needs external financial support and integration into global financial institutions in order to succeed – or even to survive, as the events of August 1991 would show. Just before this 1990 G-7, Gorbachev wrote in a letter to George Bush that he needs “long-term credit assistance, attraction of foreign capital, transfer of managerial experience and personnel training” to create a competitive economy. Yet, the U.S. president throws only a bone or two, like “step up the pace of our negotiations with the Soviets on the Tsarist and Kerensky debts [!] to the U.S. government” (instead of forgiving or at least restructuring the debt), and “expand our existing technical cooperation.” Bush concludes his speech by stating flatly “It is impossible for the U.S. to loan money to the USSR at this time. I know, however, that others won’t agree.” The leaders who do not agree are Helmut Kohl (in the middle of providing billions of deutschmarks to the USSR to lubricate German unification) and Francois Mitterrand. The latter decries the double standards being applied to the Soviet Union and China, even after the Tiananmen massacre. Mitterrand criticizes the proposed political declaration of the G-7 as “timid” and “hesitant,” imposing “harsh political conditions as a preliminary to extending aid.” He believes the EC countries are in favor of contributing aid to the USSR but that other members, like the U.S. and Japan, have effectively vetoed such assistance.
Document-13
CIA Memorandum, The Gorbachev Succession. April 1991.
1991-04-00
On April 10, 1991, the National Security Council staff asked the CIA for an analysis of the Gorbachev succession, who the main actors would be, and the likely scenarios. The assessment opens quite drastically: “The Gorbachev era is effectively over.” The scenarios offered have an eerie resemblance to the actual coup that would come in August 1991. This might be the most prescient of all the CIA analyses of the perestroika years. The report finds that Gorbachev is likely to be replaced either by the reformers or the hard-liners, with the latter being more likely. The authors point out that “there is no love between Gorbachev and his current allies and they could well move to try to dump him.” They then list possible conspirators for such a move– Vice President Yanaev, KGB Chief Kryuchkov, and Defense Minister Yazov, among others, all of whom whom participate in the August coup. The report predicts that the “traditionalists” are likely to find a “legal veneer” for removing Gorbachev: “most likely they would present Gorbachev with an ultimatum to comply or face arrest or death.” If he agreed, Yanaev would step in as president, the conspirators would declare a state of emergency and install “some kind of a National Salvation Committee.” However, the memo concludes that “time is working against the traditionalists.” This turned out to be both prescient and correct – the August coup followed the process outlined in this document and the plot foundered because the security forces themselves were fractured and the democratic movements were gaining strength. But indeed, the coup, the resurgence of Boris Yeltsin as leader of the Russian republic, and the secession of Russia from the Soviet Union during the fall of 1991 did mark the end of the Gorbachev era.

Systema – Deadly Spies in Hiding – Putin’s Secret Army

Russian leader Vladimir Putin is accused of forming secret ‘battle groups’ in western countries including Germany ready to activate at a moment’s notice.

Putin expert and biographer Boris Reitschuster claims in his new book ‘Putin’s Hidden War’ that this army of sleepers is trained in the Russian ‘Systema’ techniques of martial arts and knife fighting as taught to his country’s special forces units.

German author Reitschuster claims to have seen the reports of a western European intelligence service detailing the covert groups spread across the continent.

 

‘This means the Kremlin leader and ex-Intelligence Chief Putin has direct access to an elite fighter network in the West,’ said popular German daily newspaper BILD ahead of the book’s publication on Friday this week.

Reitschuster says the commanders of this secret army are drawn from GRU military intelligence and elite WDW airborn troops, adding; ‘This fighting force in enemy territory is a mainstay in Putin’s hidden war against the West.’

Earlier this year German intelligence agencies warned of Putin’s plan to destabilize the country through propaganda.

Now Reitschuster says the intelligence he has seen suggests the new goals are fomenting civil unrest, distorting democratic political processes and ‘conveying non-democratic ideals.’

In January the intelligence services said the Kremlin was behind a false report of a 13-year-old Russian girl called Lisa who claimed she was raped in Berlin.

Reitschuster says the commanders of this secret army are drawn from GRU military intelligence and elite WDW airborn troops, adding; 'This fighting force in enemy territory is a mainstay in Putin's hidden war against the West'

Reitschuster says the commanders of this secret army are drawn from GRU military intelligence and elite WDW airborn troops, adding; ‘This fighting force in enemy territory is a mainstay in Putin’s hidden war against the West’

Earlier this year German intelligence agencies warned of Putin’s plan to destabilize the country through propaganda

Later she admitted she made the story up – but not before ex-pat Russians had taken to the streets and even protested outside Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office.

Russian Systema self-defence schools in Germany act as ‘camouflage for agent meetings,’ according to Reitschuster and ‘are centres for recruiting new Kremlin fighters.’

The author claims European intelligence services have identified about 300 men in the previous year Germany who are actively involved in the Systema structures. Among those who have received special training in Moscow are also soldiers, policemen, judicial employees and turncoat members of the German police and elite forces GSG 9 and KSK who are ‘known’ to the security services.

‘These saboteurs with elite education are no negligible factor – they are targeted for crisis situations and trained to trigger unrest after assessing intelligence documents,’ he added.

The Russian paramilitaries, he claimed, now hold ‘real manouvres in the Swiss mountains, operate across borders and are particularly strong in Czech Republic where they mostly exercise.’

Reitschuster says the recruits, who can be activated at a moment’s notice, all receive Russian passports and receive training in sabotage and handling explosives.