How Russians Can Bring an End to Putin’s Chekist State

Historical Museum, St.Basil Cathedral, Red Square, Kremlin in Moscow. View from top of the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

By Mark Kelton

Mark Kelton retired from CIA as a senior executive with 34 years of experience in intelligence operations including serving as CIA’s Deputy Director for Counterintelligence. He is a partner at the FiveEyes Group; a member of the Board of Trustees of Valley Forge Military Academy and College; member of the National Security Advisory Board of the MITRE Corp.; member of the Day & Zimmermann Government Services Advisory Board; member of the Siemens Government Technologies Federal Advisory Board; and a member of the Board of BigMediaTV.

EXPERT PERSPECTIVE — “Nothing”, Fyodor Dostoevsky observed in Crime and Punishment, “is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.” Since Vladimir Putin launched his assault on Ukraine, I have watched the debate over why the Russian leader is doing what he is doing with some puzzlement, and not a little incredulity.  There has been much speculation about his health and state of mind.  Dr. Ken Dekleva addressed the challenges inherent in assessing both issues recently in The Cipher Brief.  Is Putin crazy?  

I can only attest that his statements and actions regarding Ukraine, however alien and abhorrent to us, are fully in keeping with what we knew of the man when he came to power while I oversaw CIA operations in Russia.  

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