October 10, 2018

Commentary for Reuters

Espionage scandals show Russian army’s growing clout

Asked on Monday if there would be a shake-up at the defense ministry, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said the low quality of the allegations leveled at GRU did not justify such changes.

“Russia believes there’s no point in reducing the GRU’s activities because that would be a unilateral concession that would not yield anything and probably be seen as a sign of weakness,” said Tatyana Stanovaya, who is well connected to the political elite and runs political analysis firm R.Politik.

“I think that malicious operations could even be conducted more often than in the past,” she said.

The Kremlin is dismayed by fraying informal communications channels between Western and Russian intelligence agencies, she said, and sees the espionage world as a realm without rules.

“The army’s influence will rise,” said R.Politik’s Stanovaya. “Putin believes Russia is in a state of war.”

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