Another Report from an Unidentified Russian Operative

[NB: Check the byline, please and thanks. /~Rayne]

Once again, a MASSIVE CAVEAT in advance of the fifth letter in a series purportedly by an FSB insider; this could be a psyop, it may be complete nonsense, it could be real, or something in between. I have no other authentication available at this time.

You can read the previous letters at these posts:

Letter One: The Pointy End of Attrition’s Stick

Letters Two through Four: Reports from an Unidentified Russian Operative

This most recent one is painful, knowing what we know now about some areas under Russian control in Ukraine.

There’s no rationality to this, no logic whatsoever correlating the actions of Russian military with Putin’s claims Ukraine is one people with Russia.

Or there is a rationality to this, consistent for the man who has either blown up, poisoned, or defenstrated those who are inconvenient.

Thanks to Igor Sushko for his effort translating the Russian to English.

1 🧵My translation of the 5th letter from the #WindofChange inside the FSB to Vladimir Osechkin. Written after the raid of the FSB on 3/11. The part that can be made public is pretty short and definitely please share far & wide. The text is only ~600 words. #FSBletters
2 As always, my comments for clarification are in parenthesis. So, let’s roll:

“Vladimir, good (REDACTED)! The temperature has really risen here, it’s uncomfortably hot. I won’t be able to communicate for a bit here going forward.

3 I hope that we’ll be able to chat normally again in several days. There is a lot that I need to share with you…
4 The questions are being raised by FSO (Federal Protective Service of the Russian Federation, aka Putin’s Praetorian Guard) & DKVR (Russian Dept. of Military Counterintelligence).
5 It is specifically the DKVR that’s mounted its horse and they are searching for “moles” and traitors here (FSB) and at Genstaff (General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation) concerning leaks of Russian column movements in Ukraine.
6 Now every structure’s task is to transfer blame to others and make the others’ guilt more visible. Almost all of us here (FSB) are occupied with this right now.
7 The bullseye is on us moreso than others right now because of the utmost hellish circumstances concerning the interpolitical situation in Ukraine:
8 We (the FSB, not #WindofChange specifically) issued reports that at minimum about 2,000 trained civilian in every major city in Ukraine were ready to overthrow Zelensky (President of Ukraine).
9 And that at least 5,000 civilians were prepared to come out with flags against Zelensky on the beck-and-call of Russia.
10 Do you want a laugh? We (FSB) were expected to be the arbitrators for crowning Ukrainian politicians who were supposed to start tearing each other apart competing for the right to be called “aligned with Russia.”
11 We even had established criteria on how to select the best of the best (of the Ukrainian politicians). Of course some concerns were even raised that we may not be able to attract a large number of people (Ukrainian politicians) in Western Ukraine among small tows and Lvov itself.
12 What do we actually have? Berdyansk, Kherson, Mariupol, Kharkiv are the *most* pro-Russian populated areas (and there is no support for Russia even there).
13 A plan call fall apart, a plan can be wrong. A plan can yield a 90% result, even 50%, or 10%. And that would be a total failure. Here – it’s 0.0%.
14 There is also a question: “How did this happen?” This question is actually a setup (disingenuous). Because 0.0% is an estimate derived from many years of work of very serious (top rank) officials.
15 And now it turns out that they are either “agents of the enemy” or are simply incomprehensible (according to FSO / DKVR that are now searching for “moles” within the FSB).
16 But the question doesn’t end there. If they are so bad, then who appointed them and who controlled their work? Turns out – the people of the same quality but one rank higher. And where does this pyramid of responsibility end? At the boss (Putin).
17 And here the wicked games begin: Our dear Александр Васильевич (Alexander Vasilyevich Bortnikov – Director of the entire FSB) can’t not understand how deeply he got caught. (Bortnikov realizes the deep mess he is in now)
18 And our ill-wishers from the GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation) and the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service – equivalent to the CIA) understand everything [and not just from these two orgs].
19 The situation is so bad that there are no boundaries to possible variants (of events about to take place), but something extraordinary will happen.
20 (The insinuation here is rather obvious in Russian: Putin and the Director of the FSB Bortnikov cannot co-exist.)
21 (The letter continues but we cannot post the rest)(END OF TRANSLATION)
22 Full translation in article form available here: http://igorsushko(.)com
23 [tweet promoting substack omitted]
24 Missed a word translating – “2000 trained civilian FIGHTERS in every major city…” Sorry.
25 [tweet containing Youtube music link omitted]

There’s such an emotional and psychic disconnect between the system described above which derived manipulated numbers reported as supporting Putin and Russia in Ukraine, and reality in Ukraine.

~ ~ ~

On March 11 in Melitopol, located in southern Ukraine about 119 miles west of Mariupol, the mayor was seized by Russian forces. A black plastic bag placed over his head, Ivan Fedorov was dragged away by armed men. He’s been accused of terror and allegedly tortured until he “cooperated.”

The town’s citizens have protested and demanded the return of their duly elected mayor.

Translation: “Residents of Melitopol took to the streets of the city. They chant: “Ukraine – Melitopol” and “Where is our mayor?” Russian military warns over a loudspeaker about the ban on rallies.”

A new mayor has been appointed. She sounds like a Trumpist.

On Sunday in Dniprorudne which is 50 miles north of Melitipol, the mayor was kidnapped.

We can expect yet another appointed mayor who will likewise sound like a Trumpy Stepford wife.

And as Guardian’s Isobel Koshiw wrote, there have been executions of civilians along with confiscations (a.k.a. thefts).

This is not an attempt to win the hearts and minds of Ukraine. It’s not a legitimate attempt to return people to the fold.

Putin’s invasion is genocide, and no amount of tepid arms-length explanations about Russia’s toxic internal politics can make this make sense.

If there’s a sixth letter in the future, I don’t think it will be worth the effort if it can’t shed realistic light on how to make this humanitarian disaster stop without compromising the consent of the Ukrainian people.

If there’s any value to this exercise, it’s that we can see connections more clearly between the U.S.’s veer toward fascism and its violent realization by Russia, manifest now in Ukraine.

55 replies
    • Tom says:

      The nightly rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities seem intended to inflict sleep deprivation and demoralization among the civilian population as much as physical damage to structures. It reminds me of the German policy of “schrecklichkeit” in Belgium during the opening weeks of WWI. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of Russians using Ukrainian civilians as human shields.

  1. Dotscott says:

    Uk Government/AF heard about Chechen armoured column. Immediately an ambush is arranged which is carried out successfully.
    The PR value of said ambush is seen and a press release is made stating that info from FSB was received which enabled the ambush…thank you FSB.
    “Now every structure’s task is to transfer blame to others and make the others’ guilt more visible. Almost all of us here (FSB) are occupied with this right now.”

    Thank you for all you do.

  2. Daniel says:

    To me, it stands clear this is a psy-op.

    Up until now the FSB-agent has had two goals with his letters: (1) to portray himself as trustworthy, likable, reasonable and (2) to describe a Russia with very few options.

    Him speaking about Putin in western terms, sending the letters to a Human rights activist (rather than any newspaper), describing the failure of the WAR are examples of (1) above. A good guy is easier to trust than a bad one.

    Once we start to like him the blow will come. The blow will cause panic and understanding of the very hard pressure Russia is under. -> split between people and countries. FSB wants the sanctions to go away. That’s their mission now. Panic will remove them.

  3. Max404 says:

    Line7 of Letter 2:

    I personally do not have contact with Putin, but if I were to assess him as a target for recruitment as an asset and develop a situational profile, then we have the following as fact:

    That stuck in my craw. Indicative: “do not have contact”; conditional: “if I were to assess him”; assertion: “we have the following as fact”. Then the psychological analysis in 4 points. It struck me as BS. If you have not had contact and the assessment was hypothetical, how can you have a fact?

    Everybody knowsthat Putin comes from the ranks of the FSB. So he surely knows that BS flows upwards and that the way to survive is to say what the superiors want to hear. So he must know that he is being fed BS as well. The explanation that he is living in a bubble and only hears what his yes-men think he wants to hear does not hold water. It doesn’t actually matter what they say to him.

    His enemy is western democracy, wherever it may be. His goal is to weaken it. The battle for Ukraine, no matter what happens, in his logic, will be a success because 1) he may succeed at forcing the collapse of a would-be western democracy and 2) no matter what, he creates a mass migration of perhaps 10 million refugees whose presence in the western regions already susceptible to right-wing populism (Italy, France, Netherlands, the eastern states of Germany, others) will provoke divisions and strife.

    This has been his strategy for a long time. The migrations from Syria in 2015 were provoked by his actions. The migrations through Belarus last year into Poland were a cynical manoeuvre organised by his puppet.

    I think that Biden has to be more clear with the American people that NATO is likely to be called to defend Poland and the Baltics, sooner than we may imagine. And prepare them for that. Will popular support in America be there to defend Poland and the Baltics ? I believe that Putin is counting on there not being that, and the isolationist sentiment in the “base” of the Republican party is giving him confidence.

    • Ravenclaw says:

      The ‘letters’ may well be frauds, but these lines do not strike me as odd or inappropriate. You have a writer who is ostensibly a member of a security service that, among other things, recruits collaborators and other ‘assets.’ He states that he does not have 1:1 personal contact with a person as a caution, then offers his analysis of the person (based mainly on 3rd-hand knowledge) AS IF he had been assigned to recruit him. Then he makes several assertions (“findings of fact,” if you will). We can quibble with this characterization – for example, to state that Putin is a narcissistic megalomaniac sounds more like a hypothesis than an accepted fact – but the points are well taken. (I, for one, had not previously contemplated the absence of family-related information about the man, and the implied lack of early love, dismissive attachment style, and general emotional coldness are plausible as well as chilling.)

      • Max404 says:

        Could be, of course. The psychological analysis in the next sentences also struck me as superficial. The whole thing just smells but I am not a secret agent so what do I know.

        My point is that it does not matter what the FSB is pushing up to Putin. I do not think he cares about the “intelligence” side – as far as I can see, his goal is creating chaos and division in the west. As far as I can tell, the FSB serves an enforcement function for him, internally, controlling the army, terrorizing his population, and that is the extent of intelligence that matters to him. Keeping him in power. In power he can carry out his project of destabilizing and weakening the west. And I am sure he is not the only one with that goal.

        And that goal succeeds regardless of the military outcome in Ukraine.

        • timbo says:

          Did you read it in the original Russian…or just the translation? To get a good sense of the authenticity of the writing, you need to read the untranslated original text, not depend on translations from 2nd or 3rd parties.

  4. taluslope says:

    Another FSB drop, now I’ll never get any sleep :-(

    Regarding such a big deal about leaks of column movements. This seems stupid to me. Any movement is obvious from space as well as to local farmers.

    What am I missing?

    • Peterr says:

      Internal FSB politics.

      If troops were struck because there is a leak, then the problem is that person over there: the leaker. If troops were struck because of bad planning, then the problem is me and the folks sitting around me: the planners. It is far more palatable to look for leakers rather than admit mistakes.

      See #6 above.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah, that. IMO, that reference in tweet 5 regards manufacturing blame which is mentioned in tweet 6. If the Russian public doesn’t have access to the same open source intelligence as the rest of the west, how would they know we can see many Russian military fuck-ups from space? Easy to pin blame on “leaks.”

      There’s also the insecure communications by Chechens and the consumer-grade Chinese-made walkie-talkies which leaked information before and after the invasion began. The letter writer mentions GRU and SVR being antagonistic toward FSB — but both of those entities know the poor field opsec isn’t in FSB’s purview. There’s no criticism of the military’s execution of the plan which seems rather odd; some of this half-assed invasion could have been far more successful if the military had been more professional, organized.

  5. Tom R. says:

    1) There are two topics in this post: The horrifying situation in Ukraine and the letters. It is shocking how little the epistolist cares about the people of Ukraine.

    2) He is right about one thing: A narcissistic demagogue will find ways to shift the blame. That’s what demagogues do (for outward-facing political reasons) and also what narcissists do (for inward-facing psychological reasons).

    3) Contrary to what he says, the buck never stops at the top. The top guy is always blameless.

    4) Contrary to what he says, the bullseye is not on the FSB “moreso than others”. They can just say:
    — We don’t set military goals.
    — We don’t set military strategy.
    — We don’t set military tactics.
    — We don’t train the conscripts.
    — We don’t arrange the logistics.
    — We stand ready to faithfully carry out the duties assigned to us; we ask only that others do the same.
    — If somebody leaked operational secrets, it wasn’t us, because we never have that sort of information. And <clutches pearls> we never leak.
    — If the army hadn’t flattened the cities it would have been easier to find quislings.

    Seriously, blaming the FSB for setbacks in Ukraine would be like blaming the US FBI for the failure of the “Eagle Claw” hostage rescue raid in 1980.

    The FSB apparatchiks might not be very good at providing security services, but they are very good at Byzantine back-stabbing, so they don’t need me to explain the foregoing to them.

    • subtropolis says:

      1) He’s writing about the growing certainty that Russia is about to come apart, not the situation in Ukraine.

      3) Contrary to what you said, he didn’t suggest anything of the sort. That phrase is about a leader taking responsibility. In fact, the writer has made clear his impression that Putin does anything but the sort. Where i believe you’ve become confused in in his remarks about Putin’s support among the powerful disappearing at some point as the shit begins to come up over everyone’s boots. That’s an entirely different matter than “the buck stops here.”

      4) It’s difficult to parse what it is you’re on about here. When he says that the “bullseye” is now on FSB he’s specifically referring to a counterintelligence shitstorm that has just opened up upon the FSB. He’s not talking about some historical pressure. He means right the fuck now. The director, and his deputy, of its foreign intelligence division have been arrested and its offices overrun by goons searching for tattletales.

      Every one of the writer’s colleagues right now have to be in terror of being the next to be marched out in cuffs with a frigging hood over their head. Yes, the FSB is very much the bullseye right now.

      LOL: “they can just say” Yeah, tell it to the interrogator.

  6. viget says:

    If this is a psyop, which I agree it may be, my guess is it is GRU primarily against the FSB, but secondarily against the West to lull folks into some sort of complacency.

    Clearly, the military knew all wasn’t going to go according to Putin’s wet dream of a plan. Probably FSB did too, but as others have said, that’s Putin’s power base and it likely is so stocked with sycophants who would prefer to keep their heads rather than tell the truth.

    So this makes perfect sense. GRU concocts these letters to deflect Putin’s ire towards FSB (which is pretty par for the course w the Intel agencies there) and totally absolves the military of any poor logistical planning and other screwups that have happened thus far.

    Thus, once the military comes to the rescue and starts making progress, they look like the victors to Putin rather than the incompetents.

    Of course, such war games will only intensify the internecine fighting among the agencies, which weakens Russia overall. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. My guess is Putin is deposed by another oligarch, maybe Deripaska. He is crazy smart and has been playing the long game from day 1.

    Not sure that’s a better outcome…..

    • Troutwaxer says:

      Or it could be the FSB issuing invitations to someone to back a coup against Putin, issued by a deniable source, or an attempt to influence Bortnikov’s trial, or any number of other things, including keyword instructions to an agent in place, and my take on this is that it’s not worth following.

      I’m less concerned about Russian inter-service politics, or whatever this is, than about the facts on the ground… hint: the Russian Army’s position is precarious at best – the Ukrainians are on Death Ground and they’re well supplied, while the Russian Army logistics are shit and they divided their forces. This doesn’t end well for the Russians. At this point they’re like to win every battle and still lose the war.

  7. KathyS says:

    I can’t say why that person is writing all these “letters”. Is s/he trying to gain something for themselves or for for FSB? But… there’s something smelly fishy in her/his attempt to ‘build a psychological portrait of Putin”. There’s a whole book, published by a Polish journalist years ago, Krystina Kurczab-Redlich, they call her “The Polish Politkovskaya”, who has covered the war in Chechnya and the atrocities there. I have read only several excerpts from the book in Bulgarian, published by a Bulgarian newspaper as culture news, it is translated in Bulgarian language but I do not own the book. The book deals in detail with Putin’s childhood, his attempts to cover the truth about it and his psychological profile as a result of his childhood, it’s his biography in the light of the war crimes in Chechnya, the events which launched him to power. No, Putin was not born in/near Leningrad. That book must have been well known to the person from FSB, there’s no way that book to escape the attention of FSB. I could not find an edition in English of that book, it might have not been translated in English. I found a Polish site, they offer an ebook, on Amazon the paperback edition in Polish is unavailable now. Here you will find the link, I hope more people in US speak Polish than Bulgarian and someone will be able to translate it for the US public:,p142818.html

  8. Troutwaxer says:

    If there’s a sixth letter in the future, I don’t think it will be worth the effort if it can’t shed realistic light on how to make this humanitarian disaster stop without compromising the consent of the Ukrainian people.

    Agreed. Intelligence agencies playing games with each other is a rabbit hole. Best to cover verifiable news.

  9. SAO says:

    I’m not sure the letter writer is genuine, but the mess he describes — a bureaucracy with no way to report bad news to Putin without considerable personal sacrifice rings true. I’d tend to the the letter writer is genuine, but I watched the video where Navalny called up his poisoner and pretended to be an oligarch’s flunky needing to write a report. It was a masterful impersonation.

    LW remarks that Russia’s plan is still to install puppets then root out any anti-Russian activists or leaders once Ukraine agrees to demilitarize so that they can’t prevent it. He ends saying there’s a high level of chaos.

    I can’t believe that the army and FSB doesn’t know the invasion is a disaster, so infighting to lay the blame somewhere makes sense.

  10. Tom R. says:

    TL;DR: Ukrainian op.

    Consider two scenarios:
    1) Russian op. If so, it is badly done. Russians constantly use information ops to make the US look bad, make Ukraine look bad, or otherwise sow dissension in the West. Instead, these letters just make Russia look bad.

    2) Ukrainian op.
    — This successfully makes the FSB look bad to Western eyes. Also, to the extent that anybody in Russia notices, it might exacerbate the inevitable hunt for moles and scapegoats.
    — It would be easy to pull off. Read open-source info about Putin in particular and narcissistic demagogues in general. Read open-source info about dysfunctional bureaucracies. Read headlines about current events.
    — For “security” reasons we won’t be allowed to scrutinize the metadata on the “letters”. We can however check up on our buddy Igor. Guess where he was born. C’mon, guess. It’s a four-letter word that starts with K and ends with v. It’s a bit odd that a Russian FSB analyst would choose this guy to translate and release his letters.

    I don’t understand why this op chose to pick on the FSB as opposed to the GRU or the army general staff, so that’s a reason to be somewhat skeptical of this scenario. Somewhat but not infinitely.

    Note: I am not claiming these are the only scenarios. I simply offer them as contributions to the list of scenarios to be considered.

    • Rayne says:

      First, I pointed out in the second post that Sushko the translator was Ukrainian-born. He also identifies as an American race car driver. I note you didn’t suggest this was an American op or a US-Ukraine joint op.

      Secondly, you’ve skipped a step — there’s a Russian human rights activist who was the recipient first who has shared the letters. At which layer is the op? I note you didn’t suggest this was a Russian dissident(s)-Ukraine-US joint op.

      As you said, you did not claim what you presented were the only scenarios. There are many other possibilities in addition to what we have been told: FSB insider -> Russian rights activist -> Ukrainian-born race car driver.

  11. KathyS says:

    There is a rationality behind Putin’s statement that Ukrainians are one people with Russia. That’s a genocide, the compulsory wiping of an ethnicity, a nation, history, Ukrainian language and culture. He is doing it through death and menace, and It has happened many times in many places, for example in Bosnia, while grabbing land and trying to subdue Ukrainian people as subjects, to rob their assets (chernosem, the soil) and their labour in the future. After he occupies Ukraine, he will claim that the neighboring NATO countries are threatening him and will attack them with force or will try to occupy them because once they were in the Warsaw Treaty. Putin claims that Bulgarians, my people, are one people with Russia, no, we are neither “Slavs”, such tribe or ethnicity has never existed and doesn’t exist now, nor Russians. My ancestors are the Proto-Bulgarians (an Indo-European tribe/s), the Thracians, some Greeks, some Celts, some Goths, some Romans…, my land has been inhabited since the dawn of humanity. My country, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, The Baltic states and Scandinavia are the next if Putin occupies Ukraine, we just don’t know whether he will start from the South on the Black Sea or from the North. After he occupies Ukraine he will claim that there’s no occupation because “Russians and Ukrainians are one people.”

    • Ravenclaw says:

      The rationale is there, to be sure. But there are reasons to doubt Russian aggression extending much further. To begin with, even if they succeed in grinding down the Ukrainian military (likely but not certain) they will do so only at great cost in troops, materiel, and reputation – having learned that their military is nowhere near as invincible as it had been portrayed. Then they will be bogged down by a never-ending insurgency. And in the midst of all that, to attack new countries – including NATO countries defended by genuinely first-rate militaries? Maybe if Trump was US President. Or if Putin went wholly mad and nobody in his government poisoned him. Not under any other conditions.

      • KathyS says:

        I dearly hope that Russia will not succeed in any of Putin’s plans. And I am incredibly grateful to the Ukrainians who actually fight for me, for my freedom. I am grateful to the ethnic Bulgarians in Ukraine, to all ethnicities in Ukraine (there’s a large Greek minority in Odesa) who suffer so much now. I suffer emotionally with them but they loose their lives for me with the Ukrainian soldiers. And it makes me very sad, and very motivated to live without gas, food or whatever, mine is a crumb, not a suffering.

  12. Eureka says:

    How about this being an op via Japan? Several reasons I’ve suspected this. Igor used to race in Japan (some days ago he posted a bunch of racing photos from there). More pointedly, look at the surname of the alleged letter recipient, Vladimir Osechin.

    Further, I have never seen it stated that “Vladimir Osechin” is itself a pseudonym. I see no news articles (etc.) about a [Russian human rights activist] Vladimir Osechin. Anyone else have info / a link which predates the FSB letters trend? Anything?

    If it is a pseudonym, I find it interesting that they have chosen a ~ Japanese one / closely associated with Japanese root words (and a video game).

    I am not a Japanese language expert or speaker. Just drop “Osechin” into a search engine and peruse.

      • Eureka says:

        I can’t get back far enough in his media to the thread where he posted several racing photos from Japan (and a racing org that I’d not heard of made one of those photos into its twitter banner). Someone with twitter can probably get them via the Media tab. His bio states, “SUPER GT, Super Taikyu, and other series in Japan.”

        Wiki says the SUPER GT is a grand touring; the Super Taikyu is or was an endurance, pro-am:

        • Eureka says:

          Here they are:

          Thread w/ three photos from Japan, two yt vids and a photo from the US:

          Igor Sushko: “I’ve been getting questions about myself. Here are some photos for those curious. Japan [photo; thread'”
          https :// twitter .com/ igorsushko/status/1500546355097313280
          1:58 PM · Mar 6, 2022

          The banner photo (which has since been changed):

          Super GT World 🏳️‍🌈: “Our new profile banner honours GT300 alumnus @igorsushko, the first Ukrainian driver ever to compete in the @SUPERGT_JP series. 💙💛 #SUPERGT [photo]”
          https :// twitter .com/ supergtworld/status/1499141101411782668
          4:54 PM · Mar 2, 2022

        • Eureka says:

          See also this thread (it has some racing coverage from the US and Japan). He explains that an active wiki page (apparently an old one was deleted) would help him get twitter verified. He links contemporary news articles about the FSB letters from Germany, Turkey, and, here, Japan:

          Igor Sushko: “CITATION – Japan: [link to sakisiru[.]jp; image of “TOP SECRET”-stamped envelope being placed in or retrieved/ exchanged from a briefcase- gracile hand on the envelope, larger, rugose hand on the briefcase]”

          8:52 PM · Mar 13, 2022

    • Eureka says:

      Clarifying about the video game: “osechin” appears to be a user name for a Japan-based League of Legends account {https[:]// [truncating remainder of url]}. Also a yt channel whose name includes what may be Japanese language characters [the channel’s videos appear to depict scenes from video games].

      Perhaps a “Vladimir” was slapped onto “Osechin”.

    • Eureka says:

      So … ? more like catfishing (with the Japan-based signs incidental to the purveyor — i.e., distinguishing this from nation-state-based activity proper).

      Though it may be more complex than that.

      • Eureka says:

        THANK YOU. I had copy-pasted it from a posting *to avoid typos* and apparently picked the wrong one. Then the results were full of articles about the FSB letters and Igor posts (with the misspelling), so I never noticed but that the older article I sought wasn’t there and a bunch of .jp content was. Search engine also usually has page-top messages which correct misspellings (“did you mean ____”; “including results for ____”) and it did not in this case [just looked again — same thing /add it to the SEO list].

    • SAO says:

      Russian sites on the etymology of Russian last names are unanimous that Osechkin is a Russian last name (as we define Russian, ie Mordvins and Tatars are Russian).

  13. Sue 'em Queequeg says:

    People’s behaviors can change in radical and unpredictable ways under extreme pressure. It’s not impossible to imagine a mid-level-ish bureaucrat, perhaps later in their career, fed up with all the BS they have seen and been forced to participate in, embittered by watching others get the promotions, writing something like these letters as some effort to deal with what, to them, feels unbearable. It creates a welcome distraction, it gives them something they can control, it satisfies feelings of vengeance at detested colleagues, it soothes one’s disillusionment, and it could help preserve one’s sense of oneself as a human being with at least a few remaining shreds of decency. Why the FSB would want people who are susceptible to such mental breakdowns (as they must be viewed from a professional standpoint) is another question. But nobody’s recruiting and hiring are perfect.

    What’s striking to me is how much these letters are about the (real or fictional) individual’s state of mind. There is a sense of someone wanting desperately to connect with others and to make them see what they’re going through. The information given is not so much so that we’ll know what’s happening but so that we’ll understand what’s happening to them. One could say this argues in favor of authenticity, because if you wanted either to convey valuable information or paint a broad and coherent picture of dysfunction and demoralization, you would be much more effective in your goal with a rather different type of letter (whether real or fake). Ultimately, though, like most commenters here I find it impossible to form a definite view.

    One thing I can’t help noticing. It would be one thing if Putin was squashing dissent and the public’s access to accurate information and then gathering with trusted advisors to work together on creating some shrewdly devious plans. But it has long seemed clear that he is as insistent on keeping himself in the dark. In fact, if, like me, you suspect he has only one mechanism for decision-making, and that it is both infantile and personal (remind you of anyone else?), then a general allergy to facts makes sense. It’s not that he wants to keep his people in the dark and in the process ironically ends up doing the same to himself. It’s that keeping the people in the dark is a prerequisite for being able to maintain his personal fantasies, which matter above all else.

    Extremely grateful to Dr. Wheeler and the brilliant and indefatigable co-posters and stalwart commenters for making this site possible.

  14. WilliamOckham says:

    So, the sixth letter is out.
    https :// twitter .com/ igorsushko/status/1503668377289584640

    This is the one where we may get to see if this guy is the Russian equivalent of Q or there’s something to all this. After a bit of talk about the Iranian missile strike, here’s what he claims is coming:

    1st Stage: Most likely, Konashenkov (Major General, chief spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defence) will officially declare at a briefing that Europe and the “collective West” have declared war on Russia by intervening in the Ukrainian conflict with their weapons and mercenaries, while simultaneously attacking Russia in the economic plane (sanctions).

    The author goes on with scenarios that, if they really represent assessments by the FSB, bode very poorly for any thinkable resolution of this crisis.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m very torn about posting that. It’s really grim — not that we only post happy content here, but if this is legitimate it’s a back channel demand for immediate concessions or else World War III.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, we’ve been in WWIII for some time but the average citizen here in US and in much of the world has not been aware of it.

          Part of that lack of awareness is directly related to asymmetric warfare manipulating perception through media including social media.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Rayne and bmaz, I agree: we (democracy-oriented world) had no choice but to enter Putin’s “WWIII” the last week in February, given the circumstances he and the West/NATO had established. The media needs to cover this as *our* war now, not just Ukraine’s (a phantasmagoria of atrocities mixed with “heartwarming” human interest stories about refugees, serving mainly to highlight the heroics/empathy of journalists, as in MSNBC’s “This Is Who We Are” motto). As long as it is conceptualized as Putin’s and Ukraine’s war, it is a diverting entertainment for too many; in the meantime stories of great national importance, especially concerning Jan 6 and upcoming elections, get left by the wayside, the implication being they were never significant in the first place.

            We need to hold these concepts front of mind: gas prices are not our price to pay for Putin, they are the price we pay for a rigged power structure at home–which we need to address here in its most florid and threatening manifestations. The ostensible FSB analyst writes further down in the latest thread: “In this scenario [Putin declaring that the West has already entered into war, thus necessitating his defensive response] the West is given time to go through stages from denial to acceptance – practically all that will remain is to extract maximal concessions (from the West), which will turn out to be the most significant.”

            We are very much in denial. I don’t know what will shock us out of it.

    • SAO says:

      I’ve been looking for the 6th letter on Gulagu(.)net, where the first 5 were first posted. It’s not there. So, for this letter to be genuine, the LW had to have switched recipients. Which is odd to go from a human rights advocate to a race car driver.

      [Site name deactivated with parens to prevent community members from accidentally clicking through. Site has not been vetted, use at your own risk. /~Rayne]

      • Rayne says:

        I believe the 6th may be on Facebook. I don’t have a link handy; as I don’t use that wretched socmed platform I’m not going there.

      • AuggieEast says:

        There’s a 7th letter now, all available here. http :// www .igor sushko .com/

        [FYI, link has been ‘broken’ to prevent accidental clickthrough. Site has not been vetted, use at your own risk. /~Rayne]

    • greengiant says:

      Thinking the 6th letter proves it is a psy warfare effort.
      Trying to get into the heads of the governments and the public.
      Part of the Putin Bannon plan to destroy the UK, America, Europe.
      The plan is working in the UK, only a handful of visas for Ukranian refugees.
      Putin can blackmail the UK Tories and the GOP anytime he wants.
      After Putinphiles like Tulsi Gabbard who comes next?

      • Rayne says:

        The fact the UK isn’t doing dick about admissions for Ukrainian refugees has nothing to do with any current influence ops but the ops going back at least as far as 2014.

  15. Sue 'em Queequeg says:

    Complete change of tone and type of information in Letter 6. In 1 – 5, Russia — FSB especially — was a hopeless mess. Now suddenly we get a huge doomsday threat. Not from our letter writer, of course, s/he’s just “helpfully telling us what’s up”.

    One must also ask how credible it is that a traitor in FSB would be able to push out so many direct-to-Twitter messages over so many days without being identified.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah, the 6th letter I don’t think I can share here. I see it differently, though; it’s possible the magnitude of the repercussions has finally come home now that the FSB director and deputy have been arrested.

      LOL have to laugh about assessing credibility based on difficulty pushing out messages after the arrest of a GRU spy in Slovakia. Just look at this.

  16. JMNY says:

    Slightly OT, but possibly helpful in understanding the relationships between the various agencies within the Russian security state and their internal motivations regarding the war on Ukraine and it’s potential outcomes (beyond the obvious humanitarian crisis and currently unrolling genocide), I’ve been following the account of Kamil Galeev on Twitter (Former Galina Starovoitova Fellow on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution at The Wilson Center) and his threads have been enormously helpful in understanding the causes (and serious errors in thinking) behind Russia’s entry into the war and even offers some insight into how it might be stopped. He has a thread of threads that organizes it all somewhat more succinctly, and I believe he’s also now posting some of the threads on Substack for easier reading. Perhaps some of you here are already aware of his work?

    I’m no expert on Russia, and only recently discovered his threads, but he seems to understand the various agencies in Russia and what motivates them with more depth than just about any other expert I’ve seen in the weeks since the initial invasion. Based on what I’ve read there, I’m inclined to think the above letters are psyops meant to gain trust that we’re reading a “good guy” insider, then pivot to (eventually) elevate the narrative that “Russia is falling apart internally, which will lead to WWIII if everyone doesn’t give in to their demands.”

    Again, I’m certainly no expert, so I submit my take humbly, but Galeev really seems to know his stuff, and rings true to me having grown up in an honor culture with sporadic violence and seen some of the dynamics he describes, albeit on a less potentially apocalyptic scale.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      JMNY, thank you for this link. Galeev’s threads are fascinating; just reading the capsules and perusing the maps/charts taught me more than hours + hours + hours of reading MSM and having cable news on. He makes his various lessons entrancing–fun, even. Which is no mean feat when you’re discussing the possibility of nuclear war and the actuality of fascism.

      I have seen his name come up here before. I appreciate that you made it easy to access his thoughts.

      • JMNY says:

        I’m glad you find his analysis as fascinating as I do! One of his latest threads is probably the best prescription I’ve seen anywhere about how to end the war. The TL;DR is for the West to pay Russian soldiers to desert (and destroy or hand over military equipment on the way out, for a large bonus) and offer them a new life elsewhere. It’s very detailed – I’ll try to elaborate later, but I’m seeing my best friend for the first time since COVID began and I’m a little preoccupied at the moment :)
        That said, I actually think it could work. He understands Putin and the Russian security state better than anyone I’ve seen so far.

Comments are closed.