FSB website offers security advice and history from a distinct perspective
Youth with explosives   /  Photo: www.fsb.ru

FSB website offers security advice and history from a distinct perspective

12 Jun, 06:18 PM

Terrorists tend to be 20-35 years old. They are quiet neighbors and blend into crowds. They may take pictures of their intended targets and buy materials that can be used for bomb-making.

This valuable information comes from the “Advice from the professionals” page of the official website of the FSB (the Russian abbreviation for Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB). There is also a phone number to call to report suspected terrorists. The Internet tabloid Utro.ru (Morning) took note of it recently. It tactfully reprinted the excerpts without commentary, but the editors know their audience well – readers had a few things to say about watching out for those insidious people who blend into crowds, take pictures and don’t make noise.

Sadly, not all of the advice from the professionals at the FSB lends itself to irony. “How to behave if you are captured and held hostage by terrorists,” is aimed at children. No smirking possible there. “Recommended actions for citizens when threatened by a terrorist act” is simply dry. The material on combating narcotics is no livelier.

The FSB website is largely self-promotional. It has historical pictures, press releases and articles such as “The FSB Special Purposes Center (1998-2008): Ten years on the cutting edge of bravery” and “Our main tradition is love and dedication to the Homeland and the people” by Sergey Smirnov, first deputy director of the FSB (at the time of writing). The latter work is an interview on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the organization and its predecessor agencies. It begins with a heartfelt defense of the Red Terror of 1918.  

There are numerous historical articles. Following the links to the FSB Public Council “Heading: Historically accurate” page, the reader discovers in the article “Soviet repression of Baltic collaborators, 1944-1946” that “The mass participation of the citizens of the Baltic republics in the war against the Soviet Union on the side of Nazi Germany is no secret from anyone today… Today in Russia and in the Baltic, there is a myth that, after the war, harsh punishment awaited all those who collaborated with the Nazis… However, in fact, that is no more than a myth, having practically no connection with reality.”

There are several other articles on the same topic, bringing to mind “Fabrications and falsifications in assessments of the role of the USSR on the eve of and at the beginning of the Second World War” on the Russian Defense Ministry website at the beginning of the month. The article, “blaming Poland for starting the Second World War” (as the Western press pointed out), can no longer be found there, but clearly there is still much to wonder at in the virtual annals of the Russian state.

Unsurprisingly, the FSB website is not bilingual. The non-Russian-speaking web surfer is therefore likely to find the photo and video sections most interesting. The FSB has 36 videos posted on its site, including annual roundups of its activities for the last several years, footage from Chechnya, ten minutes in an infamous prison, as well as press conferences, awards ceremonies and “how to behave” instructions.

The photo section contains stills from some of the videos, grisly pictures from Chechnya and a reverent collection of photos of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the father of Soviet security organs, whose statue stood in front of KGB (now FSB) headquarters on Lubyanka Square in downtown Moscow from 1957 until it was toppled by the public in 1991.

Tags: FSB, terrorism, history

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