In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Sergei Naryshkin, the chief of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, SVR, said America has been trying to “rule the world” and this could lead to “disaster”.
The SVR is the successor to the Soviet-era KGB. It is less well-known that the GRU, the military intelligence agency of the Russian armed forces, and the FSB, the domestic security service, the equivalent of the American FBI.
By granting an interview to the BBC, the SVR is creating a higher profile for itself, a move that was presumably blessed by President Vladimir Putin.
The interview is a window into Russian thinking. With understated style, Naryshkin makes clear that Moscow will not accept Washington as the center of the international order.
Naryshkin doesn’t deny British charges that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of Sergey Skripal, a former Russian intelligence agent in Salisbury, England. He merely says “we don’t trust the information” that the British have put out.
Naryshkin makes the valid point that many young people in the West believe that it was the USA alone that defeated Nazi Germany and do not know of the extraordinary suffering that Russia suffered to insure victory over fascism.
“Such ignorance is not accidental,” he says. “It is deliberate.”
In this brief interview, Naryshkin makes Russia’s talking points sound reasonable, even if you don’t believe them. I wonder if he is being groomed for a more public role in explaining and defending Russian actions to the West.