Friday, November 24, 2006

Nothing New

[posted by Callimachus]

Another case of "nothing new" is the (alleged) assassination of a former Russian spy in Britain, supposedly by the Russians.

Some people will see this as a throwback to Soviet days. It's much older. The Russian government has had a particularly wicked secret police network spread throughout Europe, assassinating obstreperous exiles, since at least 1825.

The Third Department (the Department) was known for its extensive spy network, especially during infamous Minister of Police, P. A. Suvalov's time as director. The Department's greatest strength was its established network of agents and informers, who not only held Russia under strict observation, but who worked abroad as well. The organization's main duty was to obtain information about any activity that criticized the government in any way. The police then did the work of disrupting such activity and apprehending its participants.

Another site notes, "The use of agents provocateurs by the czarist police led to such extremes that secret police, posing as revolutionists, actually helped to assassinate government officials."