My translation of the 3rd letter in the series from an active FSB analyst to Vladimir Osechkin, Russian human rights activist exiled in France. Dated March 5th. Buckle up for a long thread and definitely please share far & wide. The text is over 1400 words.
“I will start with the big picture. There are people with particular talents in the field of analytics (inside the FSB), who are retained here in the bureau not just for the value they bring, but to ensure that they remain under “control” (of the Russian government).
For example, and I am one of them, such people may never return to an ordinary life, the system does not allow for such a shift. “There” (outside the FSB) we are considered dangerous. This is my department’s policy.
I am here, and now I definitely understand why we won’t have any more Mercedes or BMWs (in the country), but will have a ton of Ladas. In order (for Russia) to have Mercedes, we must behave according to protocol which is optimized and controlled.
Without political decisions and knee-jerk demands of the authorities (that affect an agency like the FSB). This isn’t about “catching up and overtaking,” but about methodical and painstaking work, with a strategy rather than a wishlist. But in Russia this never happens.
We have plenty of resources within the FSB to switch to a method of systemic analysis, but nobody fuc$ing wants it. We can meticulously calculate variations, build models, and identify problems.
But on a whim, some bastard who is usually not even from our structure – I’m talking about senior officials, politicians and their hangers-on) can suddenly declare that “here (in the department) the mood is too defeatist,
and you are casting a shadow on the leadership of some state structure with which we want to avoid conflict.” There is professionalism and there is loyalty.
Loyalty is demanded – and is highly valued at critical times to elevate the leadership (within FSB) or to satisfy the “requirements from the very top.”
While we work on some pedophile & human trafficking cases, I say from first-hand experience, no one interferes. And we get results. And once we deliver results, then we are assigned to more political cases.
Analysts should not have emotions. There are forecast models, there are statistics, there is sociology. “Believe or don’t believe” should not exist (in his line of work). But it exists.
And those who are ready to nod and say “We will find a solution and solve the problem” are the ones climbing the ladder. Problems from such an approach are only piling up.
Now on to your question – the situation is out of control. Any model has a time horizon in planning with parameters for performance within functional boundaries. Now there is none of this: most input parameters are junk based on political decisions.
Last Sunday all resources were allocated to “ensure stability of all processes in 3-5 days.” A reasonable question: what if nothing gets better in 3-5 days? We weren’t allowed to even work on such a scenario –(instruction to the analysts -) find methods, think, and work.
They were told:) “We will survive 3-5 days, then the situation will improve, and will start planning for long-term.” These 3-5 days have passed. Situation got worse. The only constant is this approach.
What we don’t have for a normal model:
– reliable information on the events in the Russian regions
– reliable data on the real state of the army units
– reliable data on the military prospects of the operation. There are whole sets of data from various departments and services, and they contradict each other, which means there’s nothing.
-a well-developed model of economic management under the current restricted conditions (sanctions)
– reliable information with regards to loyalty of the elites in the financial and political sectors.
– reliable data on the impending extreme measures to be implemented in Russia.
What we do have:
– a constant stream of new data on “emergent” economic problems that “cannot exist”:
partial failures in the supply chains of raw materials can stop complex processes, including the production of strategic products (military), the (non) functioning of single-industry towns and industrial agglomerations;
– the expected explosive growth of banditry and crime, due to the superposition of several factors including: economic problems, a decrease in the mental stability of the population from stress + war psychosis + compounded nervous state from isolation measures
– situational planning of the political sort without assessing the long-term [and even short- and medium-term] prospects for their introduction;
– segregation/compartmentalization of workflow and services and departments due to the loss of a unified management system;
– the growth of foreign policy threats, including military – there is no guarantee that Japan will not attack the Kuril islands or that Georgia will not attack Ossetia-Abkhazia, Syria and Libya is preparing for attacks against our units);
-the complete dysfunction of the former economic model as there is no more stabilization fund, the exchange rate is not stable, and the old system of employment is now impossible in principle.
There can’t be any forecasts with such inputs. We have now jumped from anti-crisis management to crisis management. And to be honest, we just entered catastrophic mode.
A catastrophe as a condition is characterized by “it will not be as it was, and how it will be, we will not know until it happens.”
Paradoxically, the country’s survival under such conditions for some time is only possible because of the autonomy of certain parts of the government. To be blunt, a police chief of a small town knows what he needs rather than adhering to the “universal commands from the center.”
Here and now, this and only this can extend the survival of structures and systems, but if we take a horizon of a year or more, then this is the death of the (centralized) government as whole.
As I predicted, Nabiullina (Head of the Russian Central Bank) will now be dragged, people around her will be prosecuted.
This will pulverize the banking sector into the trash – what will happen with the exchange rate and policy of the Central Bank – I am not an economist by education, don’t even want to think about it without systematic study.
The worst option – they will put in place the one who offers to turn on the printing press to “hold the situation.”
For the same reason [I am not an economist] I will not assess the prospects of the commodity market, but it has gone off the rails: everything is being bought out, which means the demand is causing crazy swings.
As a result, normal logistics are impossible as warehousing and transportation are calculated from the model of optimal average values, when there is the most uniform load to its full potential.
And when you need to produce, transport, store, and sell 2-months supply of goods in just 3 days, and then go idle for 2 months – that’s fu#Ked. At the same time, not the best is happening with loans – rates are rising, and access to money is only getting more difficult.
Burnout. Personally, I’m already burned out – indifference is seeping in, the desire to bust my ass is gone. It’s impossible to work toward a result with such inputs.
You want me to give you “plans for victory” and put on a smart face “according to the law of wartime” – OK, you won. Now that’s what I do. And burnout will be absolute, rampant.
Now the internal mobilization of the power resources (riot police, etc.) will begin, and when it is done without a time horizon, it is a catastrophe.
All departments are in elevated mode, everyone is looking for enemies and saboteurs, everyone is saving the country from the inside. Those who do not burn out – that’s who we should be afraid of. It will be classic lawlessness and fascism.
Many of our people (FSB) also believe that “now it is necessary to be tough with enemies,” and anyone around can become an enemy. This psychosis is happening against the backdrop of the professional deformation of one’s personality. This is a moral shift. Irreversible.
The Scariest. If at the top they decide to issue a command of “military expediency” – hell will be here immediately. Military expediency is lawlessness. The right of force. A person is psychologically wired to seek justifications for all his actions.
The law is only a tool that sets the boundaries. Because “for the sake of your country” you can shoot out the legs of a suspicious person, and you can kill a person who refuses to submit to a soldier.
Military expediency unleashes total freedom for internal justifications. In fact, it is the same revolution when force overthrows the establishment.
I have no universal forecasts except for the old one: By May-June we won’t have what to fight with (weapons), whom to fight with (soldiers) and how to support all this. But the turning point (of the war) will be in the coming days. I suspect for the worse.
And even if we choose to activate strategic aviation – it will only make it worse for us. Frankly, the United States is allowing us to get sucked into this conflict further. They understand that we are now trapped.
Markers we are still monitoring:
The West preparing programs that conditionally fall under the category of “oil in exchange for food.” For us. This will mean that the trap has been slammed shut;
Sudden changes in personnel in the government bloc, which we will not be notified about in advance to ensure additional control. This will speak of panic governing – a system of abrupt and consequential personnel decisions solely based on emotions;
Total nationalization. Personally, unlike many of my colleagues, I prioritize this marker above all others, as after this we will economically turn into Venezuela even without war and sanctions, this will be de-facto pillaging.
Military ultimatums from other countries. But we can also make our own ultimatums for now.
Desertion by the highest-level military-political representatives of Russia to other countries. We are tracking this nominally, but we do not have a “clean” special service (FSB) after all. It’d take long to explain nor is it very pleasant.
Improvement of the economic situation in Russia within the next 3-5 years is impossible in all available scenarios.
Although, of course, there could be exceptions: highly developed aliens 👽 who choose to specifically support us, we will learn to cast spells🧙♂️; something else from this opera (a Russian expression meaning something from a similar story).
And currently unknown is how Asia and the Arab world will react when hunger strikes these regions in the summer – grains will not be exported this year (from Russia).
It’s difficult to succinctly summarize such topics, but I hope that at least partially I’ve answered the question. You simply must hamper the torture processes within the prisons – there is no one beside you who can possibly do it.
Uncontrolled violence will be such that the bloody arrival of Bolsheviks to power will seem like a light warm-up. I don’t think we will be able to avoid the terrible, but it is worth at least to soften up the hell that is coming.