Espreso. Global

Ukraine inherited USSR agents: journalist Portnikov on Budanov's wife poisoning

29 November, 2023 Wednesday

The poisoning of Marianna Budanova is an attempt to get close to the head of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine through his wife, but it is Ukraine that is responsible for the security of the military leadership of the state today


The attempted poisoning of the wife of Ukraine's chief military intelligence officer, Kyrylo Budanov, can hardly be called a sensation. If it is a sensation, it is an expected one, as Budanov's entourage has stressed that he has already survived several attempts on his life and is therefore trying to lead a rather cautious lifestyle to avoid possible follow-ups.

Now, as we can see, there have been attempts to get close to Budanov through his wife, and I have no doubt that these attempts, obviously by the Russian special services, will continue in the future. By all accounts, this has nothing to do with how long Russia's war against Ukraine will last, nor with the outcome of the hostilities.

Russians are known to be quite persistent when it comes to destroying their enemies. We remember from the history of the Soviet secret services how much effort was expended to eliminate anyone who did not please the Soviet leaders. Joseph Stalin several times sent groups of rioters to his former main rival, a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Russian Bolshevik Communist Party, Lev Trotsky. In the end, Trotsky was killed only with the help of a recruited agent who was in Mexico, where Trotsky was granted political asylum. The story of the murders of leaders of Ukrainian national movements, especially Stepan Bandera, has become a textbook. It is known that Soviet special services tried several times to kill the leaders of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, and before that, in the 1920s, they killed and captured the leaders of Russian political organisations that were hostile to the Bolsheviks.

The struggle against those who do not like Russian President Vladimir Putin is also well known. Putin sends special poisoners to former agents of the Russian secret services, who then receive high positions and awards in the Russian system of government. When the man who killed Alexander Litvinenko, a former employee of the Russian secret services and later an associate of disgraced oligarch Boris Berezovsky, became a member of the State Duma, it was a signal to anyone who wants to work for the Kremlin: kill and you will get a well-deserved reward. The heads of Ukraine's intelligence and defence services are on a special account with the Kremlin, because from the point of view of Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, they are the leaders of a "separatist entity" who, moreover, carry out direct instructions from Vladimir Putin's main enemies - the leaders of Western countries. And these people, of course, need to be dealt with; they are not just traitors, they are people who contribute to the fact that the most important part of historical Russia remains outside the borders of their state. They have the audacity to disrupt the plans and intentions of Vladimir Putin and the leaders of the Russian special services - of course, such people can only be destroyed. Therefore, there is no doubt that the attempts on Kyrylo Budanov's life will continue, as will the attempts on members of his personal and official entourage.

There is no doubt that the leaders of Ukraine are on Vladimir Putin's blacklist, and again, the hunt for them will continue, even if we see the end of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Putin, as long as he exists and leads the Russian Federation, will never let his blitzkrieg and the humiliation he suffered in the last days of February last year go. The people involved in this humiliation are his personal enemies - only their deaths can somehow put him in a good mood. In addition, let's not forget that in addition to personal revenge and hatred, there is also a sober political calculation, which is distinguished by the President of the Russian Federation, who knows how to link his revenge to political intentions. The destruction of the top political leadership of Ukraine, the leadership of the Ukrainian special services and military leaders is another step towards destabilising Ukraine, which Vladimir Putin hates. If we are in the logic of a war of attrition that the Russian leader is going to wage against the Ukrainian state in the next difficult years, then of course destabilising Ukraine is an important area of his activity. If he succeeds in killing someone important, and even more so in the media, or in killing Ukraine's intelligence services, it will send a signal to everyone else: you will also be coming for you, stop your active work if you just want to survive this war.

Thus, it is up to Ukraine today to preserve the lives of those who are representatives of its leadership, special services, and military command. We need to realise how serious the infiltration of Russian agents into Ukraine's state and security structures is. 

This infiltration continued for many decades of Ukrainian independence, and moreover, it never stopped. We live in a country where the State Security Committee of the Ukrainian SSR was simply renamed the Security Service of Ukraine, and the military districts of the Ukrainian SSR, i.e. the Soviet army, were simply declared the Ukrainian army and all Soviet soldiers who were serving in the Ukrainian SSR at the time were asked to swear an oath to the newly independent state. 

In other words, we can say that we have already inherited from the Soviet state the same agents that existed in all these structures and that were associated with the Soviet State Security Committee, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union and other structures that immediately became Russian structures and began to work to restore the territorial integrity of the so-called "historical Russia", that is, to return to the Soviet Union.

So we have to remember that all the problems that exist in Ukraine today are not just the fault of the Russians, but of our own inability to build a state, our own ineptitude, our own lack of understanding of the danger.

And it's a shame when the people who protect us fall victim to this misunderstanding and inability. Perhaps this is a signal for us to finally start building a state from scratch, not as a replica of the former Ukrainian SSR. 


About the author. Vitaliy Portnikov, journalist, winner of the Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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