The Russian Federation, just like the Soviet Union, has been exploiting the factor of refugees and immigrants to deploy their assets in the West.
Yesterday, October 29, in a calm French resort of Nice, a terrible violent act was committed, on religious grounds. Also, literally two weeks prior to this shocking incident, a similar one took place in the suburbs of Paris.
Few noticed a nuance that both killings in France took place amid of a large-scale information campaign by Russian propaganda media claiming in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani Muslims are killing Christian Armenians, destroying their shrines and churches.
In fact, the slayings in France, committed by Muslims, came precisely at the time when Russian propaganda really needed a religious context in covering the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. At the same time, it shouldn't be forgotten that France is a latent supporter of Armenia and an open geopolitical foe of Turkey.
Also, an important aspect in this series of terrible murders was that the first one was committed by a Russia-born young man, who had moved to France along with his parents back in 2008.
Yesterday, in my piece titled "Nice Massacre: Familiar Templates and New Prospects," I raised a point that many found unfamiliar and some – even absurd. It was about Russian intelligence agencies having set up a network of sleeper terrorist cells across Europe, from among the Soviet and Russian immigrants.
Some outraged opponents appealed that an 18-year-old youngster couldn't have been recruited by Russian spooks and become a blind instrument in their hands after the relevant psychological manipulation, since he had left Russia at the age of 6, and, therefore, my critics claimed, the version crumbles like a house of cards ... Alas, their claim once again proves the fact that, despite a fairly large bulk of open source data available, many continue to wander in the darkness of delusions.
So let's clarify the situation with how the USSR, and then Russia, has for decades been forming their human asset network, recruiting people around the globe thanks to a number of loyal "refugees".
The Western community has always been more vulnerable than the Soviet system in relation to the arriving refugees and victims of totalitarian regimes. Hypertrophied humanism, one of the basic values of democratic societies, has become precisely their major loophole, through thousands of Russian agents have been sent to Europe and the United States.
During the Soviet era, it was mainly the intelligentsia, scientists, artists, and simply dissenters who were fleeing from the regime, while in the modern Russia period, in addition to the wave of emigrants fleeing from poverty, there were also refugees from hot spots – primarily from Chechnya.
Along with the thousands of Chechens fleeing the war, Europe was flooded by many of those who represented an instrument of influence, be it organizers or performers within various agent networks or cells.
When the Chechen wars ended, more and more "opposition figures" fleeing from the persecution of Kadyrov's regime started surfacing in the West, armed with the corresponding legend of a "persecuted liberal", or "exchange students".
The most striking example of "student" spies is Maria Butina, who had been living in the United States on a student visa and studied at the American University, where Anton Fedyashin, a Russian émigré, taught. It turned out, however, his family has generations-long history of work for Soviet intelligence.
As for the refugees, it's impossible not to recall Chechnya's Akhmed Chatayev who received refugee status in Austria in 2003 before becoming one of the main recruiters of ISIS militants and directly organizing a terrorist attack at Istanbul Airport in June 2016.
And here I would like to note a very important point. In the international composition of ISIS, the group of Russians was the second largest. Moreover, ISIS fighters leaving Dagestan for Syria obtained medical insurance papers at the Dagestan Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund. At the same time, insurance, benefits, free medicines, and other benefits were paid through this Fund, that is, from the Russian budget.
And here we come directly to the question of how a young man who had left Russia at the age of 6 could become an element in a terrorist mission.
In fact, the agents sent from Russia are not meat to become cannon fodder. They bear the burden of organizational issues. They create cells, oversee them, distribute funding and recruit other people, including that very cannon fodder type.
Chechen enclaves in Europe, like many others, have not fully assimilated into European society, to say the least – they live as if inside their own deserted island. Their social circle, subculture and influence, including worldview, stay mainly within their enclaves. And it does not matter at what age the future terrorist killer left Russia, or whether they were even born outside of Russia. What's important is that they live in an environment where their recruitment and preparation are much simplified.
I will further explain by the example of another type of Russian recruitment – through sports clubs.
Not so long ago, Germany's Bild published excerpts from the book "Putin's Secret War" by Boris Reitschuster, a German journalist and recognized expert on Russian influence in Germany and Europe in general. The piece said that the Kremlin's elite military spec-ops agents have long been deployed in EU countries and are trigger-happy to execute any order by Moscow.
Raitschuster, who has thoroughly studied the topic of fight clubs set up across Europe, noted that the overwhelming majority of members of the popular Russian network Sistema, including those founded by Russian emigrants, while being just ordinary enthusiasts, are being actively exploited by Russian intelligence to recruit agents from the most radical strata. According to him, there are 250 to 300 militants under Russian intel control in Germany alone.
Similar clubs operate throughout Europe, so the emergence in various peaceful rallies of a number of physically fit, young men who are seen acting in a coordinated manner makes me wonder about the true goal they perceive.
So both religious fanatics, certain ethnic groups, and radicalized youths who are in the sphere of influence of the same intelligence agency, do their job exactly when their puppeteers tell them to. That's actually the purpose of their work.