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.)

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

Published: 2018 September 17

This is one of four five posts dealing with Maria Butina and her social network:

Last week and then on the weekend I posted two items looking at the constituent members of Kremlin agent Maria Butina's social network. Then this morning I talked about Israel Shamir and his milieu.

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.

And while it is true that people who are friends online may not know each other IRL, it is also true that people who know each other IRL may not be observed to be tied online. For example, Alexey Kochetkov seems to only be friends with Maria Butina (and not also w/Israel Shamir). Yet Shamir and Kochetkov clearly know each other in real life, because they were sat beside each other on a recent Russian TV discussion panel.

As for why any of this matters, it's quite simple: people get involved in things - good, bad, or otherwise - because they know people also/already involved in those things. This is as true of Kremlin agents of influence as it is of members of a softball or bowling league. Whether you are a counterintelligence officer trying to get a handle on pro-Kremlin subversion, or a journalist seeking to understand or put into context someone's pro-Kremlin activism, you have the same advantage: Agents of influence cannot influence and hide at the same time. And they all know each other, and there aren't actually that many of them. It's more that you keep running into the same people over and over again involved in different activities, dealing with different issues, located in different countries.

So in 2007 Butina & Shamir's common friend Dmitri Linter was involved in anti-Estonian riots in Tallinn. And now he works as Advisor to the Director of the Russian Military Historical Society and is busy helping to erase evidence of Stalin's purges.

Finally, here are two views of the network combining the relationships and people discussed in the context of Maria Butina, plus Israel Shamir's ties to the same folks. The first is all the people, and the second is the same, but highlights just the first degree connections of Dmitri Linter, because f/him.