I’ve mentioned before that American conservatives and evangelicals justify their distrust (or more often, outright hostility) to Putin and Russia claiming that Putin is a KGB agent (still) and the majority of Russian elites in the FSB are actually old KGB agents. (There is supposedly to be a book arguing this point which I plan to acquire in the future). I’ve rebutted this claim several times, but I will try to bring all the threads together.
While it’s not often stated, I think the main reason people bring up Putin’s KGB-connections is because of the nefarious connotations the phrase “KGB” has. We think of jack-booted Nazis (?!?) storming into grandma’s prayer meeting and throwing her into the GULAG. Certainly, that happened, but I will argue that it is hypocritical and immoral for American conservatives and capitalists (particularly when the two are synonymous) to use that line of argumentation. American capitalists consistently bankrolled the Soviet Union knowing about the camps.
However, that wasn’t the essence of the KGB in the later years. In Michael Stuermer’s biography of Putin, he makes clear that Putin (and others like him) joined the KGB not to hunt for grandma’s prayer meetings, but to protect Russia against external threats. Let’s pursue this line of thought for a second. Towards the end of the Cold War, it was becoming apparent that the ideological differences between Western Europe/America and USSR were not as sharp. The true opposition was between two economic empires competing for global supremacy. Therefore, I suggest it is in this context that Putin’s “KGB” moves be interpreted.
At this point we should acknowledge that Patriarch ALEXEY II (of blessed memory) was a KGB agent. Doesn’t this mean the Russian church is implicitly flawed? Perhaps, but there is something else going on. As the Gerrards’ biography of Alexey makes clear, Alexey was considered one of the brightest KGB agents out there. Again, doesn’t this seem to implicate Alexey? Well, it might, but something unexpected happened. Alexey decided to deconstruct the Soviet system from within and rebuilt the church. It seems odd that a mindless KGB agent decides to internally destroy the Soviets for the sake of the church. Therefore, (I will skip to my conclusion) any claim that Russia today is KGB (as is its church) and its FSB are simply biding their time for the “time to strike” is nonsensical.”
- Boris Yeltsin purged the KGB several times in the 1990s. Most of the hardliners were either arrested or pensioned off. The FSB is simply not the same as the KGB.
- How come no one brings up, to reverse the charge, that GHW Bush was head of the CIA? The CIA is just as nasty as the KGB, if not more so (Monarch, Mind-control, remote viewing, prostitution as a form of torture, etc).
- The brightest KGB agent actually worked to subvert the KGB.
- Times change: even if the men were truly old-school KGB agents, it really doesn’t change my primary argument today. Even the older, more evil KGB was committed to a Eurasian dominance. Now, it’s different enemies and different fronts (this last point probably deserves a post in itself).
In case any True Orthodox are reading this, I am not necessarily saying Alexey II was a good guy, nor am I white-washing KGB and Communist crimes. I am simply evaluating *some* sources on the matter and working them in a larger framework. Truth be told, I do not have the skill to fully navigate that area.