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      Russian Espionage Around the World in San Francisco


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      October 29, 2019

      Tuesday   6:30 PM

      312 Sutter Street
      San Francisco, California 94108

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      Russian Espionage Around the World

      The Russian diaspora, numbering 30 million, is the third largest in the world after India’s and Mexico’s. Russians began leaving the country in big numbers in the late nineteenth century, fleeing pogroms, Tsarist secret police persecution, the Revolution, then Stalin and the KGB. Throughout, Russian emigres abroad have been variously dissidents or quiet proponents of the regime they left behind. Moscow-based investigative journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan explore the colorful and sometimes sinister history of Russian espionage, from the mysterious death of defector Alexandre Litvinenko in 2006 from radioactive Polonium-210, to the more recent attempt to poison an exiled KGB colonel in Salisbury, England, to Maria Butina, a Russian woman who pled guilty to conspiracy to act as a foreign agent, in connection with unregistered political lobbying in the United States. Since Soviet times, through ominously named special directorates such as “Department K” and the “Fifth Section,” the Kremlin has attempted to control those living beyond its borders and to bring together emigrés and Russian residents into a single “Russian world.” While today there continue to be many political dissidents, there is also believed to be a network of spies and agents that have now become assets of a resurgent Russian Nationalist state. In their new book, The Compatriots, Soldatov and Borogan look at the shifting role of Russian expatriates and their complicated, unbreakable relationship with the mother country. A limited number of copies of the book, "The Compatriots: The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia's Exiles, Émigrés, and Agents Abroad," will be available for sale after the program.

      Categories: Politics & Activism

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