Active Measures

"Активные Мероприятия | Aktivnyye Meropriyatiya: Agent-operational measures aimed at exerting useful influence on aspects of the political life of a target country which are of interest, its foreign policy, the solution of international problems, misleading the adversary, undermining and weakening his positions, the disruption of his hostile plans, and the achievement of other aims."(Mitrokhin, Vasili (2013-01-11). KGB Lexicon: The Soviet Intelligence Officers Handbook (p. 13). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.)

Kremlin Leveraging Domestic US Social Ills (in 1926)

Published: 2019 March 21

That the Soviets – and now Russia – seek to leverage US domestic issues such as racism to their advantage is unsurprising, but this little vignette is interesting, not least because of the year, 1926, two decades before the Cold War was so much as a twinkle in anyone's eye.

The Soviet and Communist Bloc Defamation Campaign

Published: 2019 February 24

As read into the Congressional Record by Mr. Price circa 1965-09-28. Approved for Release 2002-06-05. Identified as CIA-RDP72-00337R000200060014-6

The method

Dissemination is Collection

Published: 2019 January 27

This is also a story about using the dissemination of open source intelligence to generate not-so-open-source intelligence. On 15 January 2019 I posted an article about Manuel Ochsenreiter. The people most likely to be concerned about Manuel are his closest associates. In the network of 24 people/entities I discussed in the article, 10 are in Russia, and 3 in Serbia. The traffic analyzed below is all linked temporally, but may in fact be two (or three) distinct instances of data being shared by linked individuals

IPROG, Delyagin, GRU, and Friends

Published: 2018 October 8

Think tanks, think tanks everywhere (but wherever does the money for them come from (or go to)?). The world of Kremlin-supporting Muscovites involved time and again in active measures is littered with think tanks large and sometimes very small.

Character Witness for Maria Butina: Stanislav Byshok

Published: 2018 September 20

It was good of NPR to try and understand more about Maria Butina by identifying her friends and asking them about her. Unfortunately they don't seem to have made much effort to understand who those friends are, or to identify their likely biases and conflicts of interest.

Active Measures Cadre Seen Through The Lens of Israel Shamir and Maria Butina's Social Network(s)

Published: 2018 September 17

Suffice to say Butina is part of the same active measures cadre as Shamir. Of the 21 friends of Butina that I examined, 12 are readily observable as friends of both Butina and Shamir.

Julian Assange And His Trusted Friend Israel Shamir

Published: 2018 September 17

The Associated Press recently received some thousands of files leaked from within Wikileaks and published a small number of them today.

Maria Butina Social Network Sampler Part 2

Published: 2018 September 15

Before Maria Butina insinuated herself into the ranks of leading American Republicans and their supporting organizations (e.g. NRA), she similarly wove herself into the social networks at the core of Vladimir Putin's regime.

Maria Butina Social Network Sampler Part 1

Published: 2018 September 11

Before Maria Butina insinuated herself into the ranks of leading American Republicans and their supporting organizations (e.g. NRA), she similarly wove herself into the social networks at the core of Vladimir Putin's regime.

USA vs Butina

Published: 2018 July 17

I think what this speaks to is the price Kremlin pays for running intelligence operations outside the official intelligence agencies. In this case Torshin - Putin pal, OC boss, government official - runs his agent Butina in the USA. She reports to him, he reports to Kremlin, Kremlin provides feedback, and so on.

The Gentlemen from Malta

Published: 2017 December 20

This week saw the publication of a report by the Guardian about Kevin Ellul-Bonici,[1] a longtime associate of Nigel Farage, who has worked for Farage and the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group at the EU parliament. Ellul-Bonici achieved a degree of notoriety when, in 2014, he and three companions distributed hundreds of copies of a book at the EU parliament as part of a Russian active measure that sought to smear Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė as a one-time KGB asset. An investigation by the EU parliament at the time identified two of Ellul-Bonici's partners as a Russian, a Polish citizen born in Moscow. The fourth was never identified. [2][3] Given Nigel Farage's relationship with Kevin Ellul-Bonici, Farage's involvement in Brexit, mounting evidence of Kremlin involvement in supporting Brexit,[4] Farage's relationship with Donald Trump,[5] and all that we know now regarding Kremlin interference in the US presidential election, this 2015 EU parliament incident appears rather more interesting than it may have seemed at the time. Which brings us to the other gentleman from Malta.


This site is an instantiation of what I practice: artisanal intelligence. The focus here is primarily (but not exclusively) on the post- or neo-Soviet active measures as practiced by the Kremlin and their allies, both on- and offline. In general, artisanal intelligence implies a good deal of hand work, an immersion in the work and mindset of the adversary, a process deliberately slowed down and limited in scope. I'm A. Weisburd (hence webradius <- an anagram), and I've been doing this sort of work versus terrorists, organized crime, and hostile intelligence services since at least 2002, applying both lessons learned on the job and in the course of getting a BSc in Information Systems and an MA in Criminology.