Jun 1, 2022
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“Midovsky changeling”: why did the Russian diplomat flee from his post?

Photo: Sergey Bobylev / TASS

Thunder rumbled on Smolenskaya Square. Russian diplomat Boris Bondarev resigned from his post as adviser to the Russian mission to the UN in Geneva. And there he remained. Ran away, to say the least. After that, he publicly announced his position, telling everyone that he sympathized with Nazi Ukraine.

According to the political scientist Sergei Markovto date, this is the only traitor in the ranks of the Russian Foreign Ministry, whom Western intelligence agencies managed to find and recruit in three months.

“We have a strong and good Foreign Ministry,” Sergey Alexandrovich reassures himself and his many subscribers in his telegram channel. – And this Bondarev probably also quit a couple of weeks before his dismissal for corruption. This is almost always the case with traitors. The almost complete absence of traitors in Russia among the highest bureaucracy testifies to the consolidation of the Russian elite around Putin in a hybrid war against all of Russia. There are almost no traitors.”

I would like to believe that this is indeed the case. But, as my friend the prosecutor says, “there is a small fraction of rotten questions.”

“Inconvenient” questions

Question one. Painfully high-ranking was this employee of the Foreign Ministry. Half a life goes to such posts. Or at least decades. But Bondarev did not live in an airless space. He was not “alone on an ice floe”, as polar explorers say. And what, all this time, while he was climbing the ranks (and he worked in the Foreign Ministry for twenty years), no one around him got to the core of the traitor? Leads to bad thoughts. Either he had been perfectly disguised for many years, or there were enough people like him in his environment. And they were either silent or were in solidarity with him. However…

If he was perfectly disguised, it is possible that he was “led”. And advised how to hide their thoughts. And along the way, they pulled out of him all the information about the Foreign Ministry’s internal kitchen. And about work colleagues. And about the work itself. Thanks to Bogdanov, “intelligence of an unfriendly state” could launch tentacles into the holy of holies of the Foreign Ministry. And in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs there are a lot of documents classified as “top secret” and “for official use.” Bondarev also used them. And now it will be necessary to revise all these documents that passed through it … And who nevertheless “led” the defector to the Foreign Ministry?

Second. Such positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs get only under patronage from above. Someone “from above” also lobbied Bondarev. Or maybe not even one person. And now it would not hurt to check all of them for “tendency to betrayal.” Maybe they, too, are potential defectors? Or maybe a whole “fifth column” of such Bondarevs, admitted to state secrets and obligated to defend state interests, dug in on Smolenskaya Square?

Third. Perhaps, in the case of Bondarev, a special operation in Ukraine became the very drop that overwhelmed his patience and Russophobia. What if it hadn’t happened? Would a traitor continue to work in the Russian Foreign Ministry, quietly hating his country?

Fourth. In foreign intelligence, pure patriotism (and not its imitation) is one of the key factors in hiring a person. And the Internal Security Service periodically checks intelligence officers for loyalty. They are periodically tested on a lie detector, they are satisfied with artificial provocations, and so on. Maybe for the time being such a practice should be introduced in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? And by the way, where did the Foreign Ministry’s own security service look (and there is one)?

You do not need to be a great physiognomist to understand at a glance what this Bondarev is like. Hypocritical major, Anglophile, classic of the genre. He dressed like an English dandy, and went in for equestrian sports like an English aristocrat. Patriotism in this cold prickly look and contemptuously compressed lips (in almost every photo of Bondarev) did not spend the night. This alone should have led the Foreign Ministry “security guards” to all sorts of different thoughts. It didn’t. The result is obvious.

Fifth. “We have a strong and good Foreign Ministry,” Markov says. “There are almost no traitors.” We are also for all the good against all the bad. Including the Foreign Ministry walls. But from time to time the organization is shaken by scandals, from which a very bad aftertaste remains. Force majeure with cocaine in Argentina, in which the Russian embassy was involved, an interdepartmental showdown with poisons in Prague, an ambiguous interview with the deputy head of the Rossotrudnichestvo agency come to mind Natalia Poklonskaya about the military operation in Ukraine…

And that’s just what’s on the surface. We can also recall publications about the morals prevailing in the Foreign Ministry and Rossotrudnichestvo.

Maybe it’s time to “fix” something at the conservatory – in order to purge such Bondarevs from the Foreign Ministry? At least with the help of loyalty checks, lie detectors and a more thorough personnel policy?

The temptation of betrayal

In general, diplomats working abroad are always at risk. Especially those who work in an unfriendly country. Surveillance of them, their processing go on continuously. He is regularly made “offers that are hard to refuse.” As a rule, they are exclusively mercantile in nature. It works for some. But there is one interesting detail here.

The standard of living and material support for all diplomatic workers – and especially those who work abroad – is much higher than average. Salaries are more than decent. The same Bondarev received at least five thousand dollars a month. If not more. After a couple of years of work in some “difficult” country, a person returned to his homeland with a Moscow apartment in his pocket.

Moreover, at work, diplomats are often not burdened with unnecessary obligations. Well, it’s not to work hard in the steel industry, not in hot production near the blast furnace for eight hours. They live from negotiations to negotiations, from meeting to meeting, from buffet to buffet.

Nevertheless, there are enough people in the Russian diplomatic corps with a sharply inflated self-importance – those who evaluate themselves personally, their work and the benefits of it to the country are completely inadequate. Little of. They also feel deprived, surrounded by fame and material wealth. And from such a set of moral qualities – half a step to betrayal. Which, apparently, happened to Bondarev.

Moreover, the future stars of Russian diplomacy begin to cultivate this moral and ethical set of a potential defector even at the institute. MGIMO and the Higher School of Economics, the main suppliers of diplomatic personnel for the Foreign Ministry, are not without reason called the “major incubator”. And the majors have never been distinguished by pronounced patriotism. Of those who consider themselves “God’s chosen cream of society”, patriots turn out to be so-so.

But not all majors have a successful career. It was within the walls of the institute that they could puff out their cheeks and spread their peacock tail as much as they wanted. And in the service you need to represent yourself. It is not enough to know perfect English with French. You also need to know how to negotiate. It doesn’t work out for everyone. Career often freezes and slows down. And the major is offended by the whole wide world (but not by himself, his beloved). Including the “unwashed Russia”.

And such ambitious “underestimated talents” in the diplomatic service are primarily hunted by foreign intelligence agencies. Have you been underestimated? Are you underpaid? Are you not having a career? Come to us. We will give more. You will have a cozy mansion on the ocean under branchy palm trees, a decent salary, and even a career. True, the career will be peculiar. It will be necessary to publicly sling mud at your country or non-publicly work for foreign intelligence. And your life will become beautiful and amazing… Although in reality the life of a traitor will never be beautiful. He will be despised by both those he betrayed and those who recruited him. Judas – he is Judas. For everyone – without exception.

In fairness, it must be admitted that not everyone pecks at such proposals. Then the “heavy artillery” is launched – from “honey traps” to outright crime. To begin with, a sultry beauty will be brought to the interested person, who will demonstrate to him a violent bed ingenuity in a local provincial hotel. Then add clonidine to coffee. And in the morning he will wake up on the outskirts of the city next to a real corpse, and local policemen will sit and mourn nearby: well, why did you steal a citizen of our country, son? Now it’s either jail or working with the guys from Langley. By the way, they are sitting behind those bushes … There are a lot of ways to influence. And the counterintelligence officers are guys with imagination, they work with a twinkle. Sometimes slip past their networks – such willpower is needed …

Is it time to return the “workers”?

At one time, in order to dilute the “acid-alkaline” major environment at MGIMO, a preparatory department for working youth was created at the institute. Rabfak. Strong worker-peasant guys came there to study the basics of diplomatic science after serving in the army. They, like the majors, also knew two languages. Only not “English with Khrentsuz”, but Russian and Russian obscene. The second one is even better than the first one. As a rule, languages ​​were difficult for them, but everything was in order with patriotism and love for the Motherland. They were appointed headmen of groups, party organizers of courses, and they quickly brought arrogant and arrogant majors to their senses. By the way, many of them then went to work in intelligence.

With the appeal of the workers’ faculty, the situation at MGIMO improved dramatically and qualitatively.

Now many of our guys are participating in hostilities in Ukraine. Political scientist Sergey Mikheev I am convinced that it is there, on the battlefields, that the new elite of Russia is being forged, matured and formed. Including diplomatic. These guys, burned with gunpowder, should be invited to modern workers’ schools of prestigious universities. And it would not hurt to revive the workers’ schools themselves. And then the Russian Foreign Ministry will really become “strong and good.” And no traitors.

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