Several days have passed since Russia learned that the ex-staffer with their presidential administration, Oleg Smolenkov, a person close to Vladimir Putin’s main foreign policy advisor, had long been a CIA mole (since the time he worked along with Yuriy Ushakov at the Russian Embassy in the U.S.)
According to the Kremlin Bezbashenik channel on Telegram, all these days its editors have been trying to learn from their sources both in the administration and foreign ministry some details of the high-profile scandal. However, the report notes, it wasn’t easy – as the Smolenkov story has been sealed as “classified”: his ex-colleagues were banned from disclosing any information related to the case.
It is rather interesting, why Moscow created such a halo of secrecy around the defector, while launching a large-scale information campaign to portray Smolenkov as a low grade staffer from a supplies dep’t with no access to any important and/or classified information. Besides, for Russian consumers, the Kremlin seeks through its outlets to try and minimize Smolenkov’s human qualities, claiming he was an alcoholic and accusing him of immoral behavior.
It seems to me that this is not only because Smolenkov had access to all classified materials at disposal of his immediate superior Yuriy Ushakov, which were automatically sent to Langley, but, most likely, it was because Smolenkov was most probably a Russian intelligence officer.
After Smolenkov’s pictures appeared in Russian media, I for some reason recalled pictures of Skripal poisoners Chepiga and Mishkin, both GRU operatives, once published, along with their actual names, by a Russian outlet The Insider.
Still, Smolenkov is not a GRU guy. Most likely, he’s an ex-operative with the SVR, the foreign intelligence service led by Sergey Naryshkin.
So, I think that in the near future, Russian investigators, such as The Insider, will probably reveal this “dark side” of Smolenkov’s bio.
Moreover, Yuriy Ushakov and Sergey Naryshkin are very close in their efforts toward Russia’s foreign policy “success”.
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