The Atlantic

Paul Whelan Isn’t a Spy, and Putin Knows It

The arrest is a setup, perhaps for a swap with Maria Butina.
Source: Whelan family via Reuters

To say that the Cold War shaped Russian President Vladimir Putin and the 21st-century Kremlin is an understatement. Putin has consistently used the skills and contacts he developed during his KGB career to cement control internally and battle foes abroad. Putin describes himself as a proud “Chekist,” referring to Lenin’s bloody, repressive, and brutal secret police, and celebrates the organization’s birthday every December; he once commented, “There is no such thing as a former KGB man.” It is therefore fair to look at modern-day Russia as the world’s first intelligence-state, and to interpret many of Putin’s actions as those of a superpowered spy chief.

A case in point is

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