The Trust, as a Chekist operation directed at and designed to disorder the anti-Bolshevik White emigration at the dawn of Soviet power, is today the model and prototype for Vladimir Putin’s approach to the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian nationalism at home and abroad, Sergey Khazanov-Pashkovsky says.
On the Riga-based Harbin portal, the émigré historian argues that in order to understand Putin’s strategy and tactics one must recognize that he isn’t doing anything new but rather reviving the well-forgotten old, in this case, the methods Felix Dzherzhinsky used to penetrate and then use opponents of the Soviet regime.
Following the Machiavellian principle that if you can’t defeat an opponent by a frontal attack, you should seek to confuse him by appearing in a guise that looks like part of his side, the Cheka launched the Trust which purposed to be an organization of “the anti-Bolshevik Monarchist Union of Central Russia” but in fact was run by the Soviet secret police.
This operation had two goals, the historian says. It was intended to smoke out genuine monarchists inside the country; and it was designed to “control and restrain the activity of émigré militant groups.” The Trust lasted only five years in the 1920s; but the approach it embodied is used by the Putin regime against those who might otherwise be its opponents.
The main example of the application of the principles of the Trust operation now is the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC MP), an institution “which was legalized on the basis of the personal order of Stalin” and which for many years was even directed by the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church entirely staffed by Soviet KGB officers.
Under Putin, as is widely recognized, nominally “former” KGB officers have taken under their control “the levers of power in the state apparatus of the Russian Federation” and over academic institutions, the media, banking, major business concerns, and institutions like the Russian Orthodox Church.
Their role in the ROC MP is both especially noxious and especially obvious, Khazanov-Pashkovsky continues. “Two of the largest organizations closely connected with the church’s activity, the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society and the Foundation of Andrey the First Called, are now controlled by the FSB and the SVR.
The first, which has existed more than a century, is an example of the FSB’s proclivity to raid and take over institutions and run them for its own purposes, just as some still suspect the Cheka did by using some real monarchists as a cover for its creation of the cover story for the Trust in the 1920s.
Both institutions engage in espionage and as agents of influence abroad, confusing their targets about what is really going on.
What is less widely recognized is that the Putin regime runs Trust-like operations against its own people, especially those who identify as nationalists and/or monarchists, Khazanov-Pashkovsky says. One of these is the Two-Headed Eagle Society, which claims to be monarchist but in fact is simply pro-Putin in all regards.
The Society is well-funded by oligarchs close to the Kremlin, and its leaders are people with backgrounds in the security services who purport on some occasions to be otherwise but who in fact on all occasions are working for the Russian security services as materials on their website demonstrate.
Unfortunately, the émigré historian says, the ROC MP and groups like the Two-Headed Eagle Society are able to deceive the ignorant and the gullible just as the Trust did almost a century ago. Exposing the Chekist roots of institutions in both periods is thus an important task if Russia and Russians are to escape from control by the organs.
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Tags: Cheka, FSB, FSB (Russia's Federal Security Service), FSB crackdown, international, KGB, Moscow patriarch Kirill, Moscow Patriarchate, NKVD, NKVD (Soviet People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs), Putin regime, Russia, Russian Orthodox Church, Russian repressions, Russian special services, Soviet repressions, SVR (Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service)