During the school years many, hilarious stories often circulated about the audacious boys from the Soviet era who would deposit feces on the desks or in the drawers of detested teachers. These anecdotes were part of the folklore of the time, celebrated as the pinnacle of school humour involving the 'cool' kids. Interestingly, this specific strain of Soviet school humour appears to be relished by Putin and his inner circle.
The DKRO (rus. Департамент контрразведывательных операций; ДКРО), or the Department of Counterintelligence Operations of the FSB, is directly answerable to the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and is infamous for leaving its distinct 'signature,' such as cigarette butts in homes or feces in unflushed toilets or personal belongings. Special service employees in such a way ensure that the target of surveillance is aware of being monitored, thereby inflicting additional stress on the subject.
South Park: Cartman poops on the teacher's desk. Photo: Youtube.com
DKRO is responsible for monitoring foreign persons on Russian territory. Andrei Soldatov, a Russian security analyst who has studied the unit for many years, writes: "DKRO likes to act especially against US officials, its main adversaries. It consists of the elite, or the crème-de-la-crème of the FSB.".
FSB headquarters in Moscow. Photo: https://newsinfrance.com
American officials accuse the DKRO of cutting off the electricity the night following the first official event of the new US ambassador to Russia, Lynn Tracy. Reports also indicate that the embassy car was pursued by a low-flying helicopter. Journalists have noted that the spouse of one diplomat was trailed by a drone, and the letter “Z” was affixed to her car. American officials suspect that the DKRO is also responsible for this incident.
Sources indicate that Putin enjoys being personally apprised of this sort of surveillance. During the arrest of The Wall Street Journal journalist Hershkovich, the Russian president received briefings from the FSB. Besides the WSJ journalist, the DKRO was implicated in the arrests of two former marines, Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed.
American diplomats assigned to Russia must undergo specialized training to evade DKRO and other FSB officers and are provided with an unofficial set of guidelines dubbed the "Moscow Rules." These were recently revised to account for the growing aggressiveness of the security services. As emphasized by the officials involved in its creation, one crucial principle is: "Nothing happens by chance."
The activity of DKRO illustrates Vladimir Putin's penchant for intimidating individuals, particularly foreign officials. It seems that instilling fear in others brings him personal satisfaction. Recall the infamous 2007 incident in Sochi when a large dog, labrador Koni, was used to frighten Angela Merkel, who has a known fear of dogs. Putin appeared to be delighted with the situation.
Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel meeting in 2007. Photo: https://www.businessinsider.com
The activities of the DKRO and Putin's own behaviour paint a psychological portrait of the entire Russian society, characterized by violence, bullying, and a glaring lack of empathy and respect for others. A recent Mark Feigin guest from the “Free Man” (rus. Свободный человек) channel made a compelling observation about communicating with the so-called "deep people” (rus. глубинный народ) from the outskirts of Russia. According to him, to earn respect from your conversation partner, you must establish a clear hierarchy, essentially demonstrating who controls the conversation. This is typically achieved by humiliating the other person. Paradoxically, such a humiliated person does not take offence but instead recognizes that they have been assigned a subordinate role in the conversation. To truly grasp this, one must witness it first-hand (these conversations can be found on Youtube @svobodniichelovek_). Although it sounds incredibly animalistic, it is the unfortunate reality of this debilitated society.
So, if you are a foreign diplomat in Russia and stumble upon a sizable piece of feces on your desk, in your toilet, or in your personal belongings, call your country's security service. It might be so that you are under surveillance by the elite FSB unit and personally interested in none other than Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. It's possible that this old Soviet-era pervert wants to show your place in Russian society and derives pleasure from your fear, satisfying his twisted sense of amusement.
The article was prepared for publication by volunteers from the Res Publica - The Center for Civil Resistance.