Russia: Still the USSR in all but name

18th May 2017 in
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Since the formal break up of the USSR at the end of 1991, the majority of the former Soviet bloc countries would certainly appear to offer great, albeit still risky, investment opportunities in one form or another to the wealthy speculative investor.

That view is perhaps easy to understand given the geopolitical position Russia finds itself in at the moment. The country is currently suffering under the yoke of heavy sanctions and Putin has his hands full with a physical war in Syria and a psychological one with large swathes of the US government.

One could therefore be forgiven for thinking that those former Soviet bloc countries would no longer be of interest or within the reach of the FSB. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

The change in the name of the Russian intelligence service from KGB to FSB was merely a rebranding to soften its media image. Its activities have not changed in the slightest, anymore than its influence or reach within all regions of the former USSR.

Putin clearly considers these countries still part of Russia, as can be evidenced by his relatively recent actions over Crimea and Ukraine, the latter of which to his mind would have been lost to Russia had the EU managed to bring Ukraine into the fold back in 2014.

In this context, Putin’s real underlying focus is his plan to reunite the fatherland, and the FSB is an exceptionally powerful tool for him to influence and control the narrative… and destabilise the governments of those former Soviet blocs that try to pull away.

These former bloc countries need foreign investment if they are to achieve any real success independent of Russia, and history is replete with examples where the KGB/FSB directly and indirectly interrupted investment. When one reads the news today, they may well think that physical spying is a dead war craft in the advent of cyber hacking, but it certainly isn’t in Russia.

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