In a recent Ditchley Foundation lecture in the UK, CIA director William Burns expressed his enthusiasm for the alleged internal discord rising in Moscow due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Burns claimed that the CIA now has a historic opportunity to recruit spies and undermine President Vladimir Putin’s government.
According to Burns, the disaffection with the war in Russia will continue to erode the Russian leadership’s authority, despite the steady diet of state propaganda and repression. He sees this disaffection as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the CIA, which at its core is a human intelligence service. Burns emphasized that they will not let this opportunity go to waste.
To capitalize on this moment, the CIA launched a Telegram channel in May to actively recruit military officers, government officials, and scientists who can provide intelligence on the Russian leadership and economy. Burns revealed that the channel received 2.5 million views in its first week, proving that they are open for business.
However, Moscow dismissed these efforts, with Ambassador Anatoly Antonov claiming that the spy agency was merely wasting American taxpayers’ dollars. According to Antonov, attempts to divide Russian society from abroad will not work.
In the midst of the ongoing Ukraine crisis, Washington is banking on the division and turmoil to turn potential Russian intelligence sources against President Putin. Burns delivered his speech just a week after private military contractor Evgeny Prigozhin briefly rebelled against Russia’s top generals. While the mutiny ended without much bloodshed, CNN reported that US officials had expected a more violent outcome.
Burns maintained that the US played no part in the uprising. However, he emphasized that Prigozhin’s revolt served as a stark reminder of the corrosive effect of Putin’s war on Russian society and his own regime.
In response to the possible division stemming from the crisis, Putin asserted that the Russian people stood united, foiling the hopes of foreign enemies who sought to split the nation apart. Surprisingly, Putin’s approval rating among Russians remained largely unchanged at 81% even after the failed insurrection. Even the independent pollster Levada Center, which has been listed as a foreign agent in Russia since 2016, confirmed these numbers.
The developments in Russia have attracted attention, and the news garnered significant interest on social media platforms. Readers were urged to share the story on various social media platforms to spread awareness about the CIA’s efforts to undermine the Russian leadership.
Overall, the CIA director’s remarks shed light on the agency’s strategic approach in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The political landscape in Moscow will undoubtedly continue to evolve, and it remains to be seen what impact the CIA’s efforts will have on Russian leadership and society in the long run.