Because freedom isn’t free. Especially when it comes from the FSB.
NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who’s residing in a Moscow airport and now seeking asylum in Russia, has hired legal counsel there that might get him purchase with the Russian security state, but isn’t likely to endear him to the U.S. government or human-rights organizations. AFP reports that Anatoly Kucherena, ”a Russian lawyer who helped Snowden file an application for asylum in Russia earlier Tuesday,” happens to “sit on the ‘public council’ of the Federal Security Service (FSB), which was created by Putin in 2006.”
President Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB man himself, reorganized the old Soviet security agency into the FSB and a few other directorates in the 2000s, and the agency under his regime has been accused of a range of human-rights abuses and linked to some high-profile murders, including the polonium poisoning of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.
The council on which Kucherena sits is a public-relations body intended to improve communications with Russian citizens; its 15 members are approved by the FSB’s chief, currently Alexander Bornitkov, who is a close associate of and was appointed by Putin’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev.
Anatoly Kucherena is a regime cog. He headed up government fronts like the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation.
President Putin has endorsed a plan by a prominent Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, to set up a think tank with monitoring offices in New York and Paris to study the U.S. and French political systems and “recommend improvements,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Kucherena said the new think tank would provide “constructive” criticism, scrutinizing U.S. election laws, the state of human rights, race relations and the American response to terrorism – all of which, he said, raise troubling questions. “The U.S. election system is intriguing,” he said. “In a country with such a democratic history it’s interesting that the outcome is decided by the electoral college and not by the people.”
The irony here is that he has access to Russia’s own domestic espionage operation.
Speaking to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Anatoly Kucherena – a lawyer and member of the public chamber that oversees the security services – admitted that this did not always happen. He said the real figures for state-authorised break-ins and phone taps were probably far higher.
Komsomolskaya Pravda was originally the official paper of the youth wing of the Communist Party. Currently it’s owned by figures with close links to the Russian government.
For those Assange types still hanging on to Snowden, Anatoly Kucherena urged a ban on anonymous internet communications.
“In order to clean up the industry, it is necessary to take a clear law that will specify the sanctions that can keep the programmers from the desire to create malicious software,” Anatoly Kucherena said.
There’s just something about Russia’s secret police matrix that turns life into political satire.