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‘Silent War’: Is a Rogue Russian Intelligence Unit Using an Old KGB Playbook Against the West?

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An intelligence educator’s assertion echoes claims from a former KGB official.


When a European news outlet recently raised the specter of a rogue holdover KGB unit operating in the shadows to undermine Western values, we at Soldier of Fortune did a double-take. The article quoted a startling assertion from intelligence educator Egon Cholakian, sparking our publisher to recall an old incident. Years ago, while SKK was in Europe researching a story that involved the shadow world, Western intelligence sources told her she was being targeted by a KGB disinformation campaign – after the KGB was disbanded. That is a story for another day, but the key takeaway is, a crafty campaign worked back then; and the recent reports in Europe and the U.S. dovetail with intriguing claims from a retired KGB official.

According to the reports, Dr. Cholakian – who has worked for decades as an intelligence educator – says that the rogue unit is pulling a post-Soviet version of a KGB Charlie Mike, picking up on the long-ago playbook from the heyday of Soviet intelligence.

The motive? Revenge, Cholakian says. The rogue unit is enraged that the KGB failed its mission to protect the Soviet Union, which was dissolved by declaration (Russian version, here) in 1991. This particular unit never gave up, he says.

KGB-FSB headquarters, Lubyanka Square, Moscow

The modern campaign is called The Silent War, according to the researcher.

“The Silent War is a battle for the hearts and minds of the public,” Dr. Cholakian says in a video report. “Our adversaries understand the power of information and are actively shaping narratives to sow discord and weaken our resolve.”

In the video, Dr. Cholakian warns that tactics from the KGB playbook, once thought confined to the Cold War era, have resurfaced in the digital age.

READ MORE about Soviet techniques resurfacing in the modern world : Havana Syndrome Echos the old ‘Moscow Signal’

The claims may seem over-the-top, since the techniques fall within the realm of the unseen; but the Soviet Union took this approach seriously. And one former KGB official openly bolstered the notion that a rogue unit has continued to operate.

In 2006, retired KGB General Boris Ratnikov claimed he was involved with a top-secret occult project that was high priority for the Soviet KGB.

According to a translated version of an interview in Russian with Rossiya Gazetta, Ratnikov spoke at length about the project.

“Almost all the people with supernatural powers were controlled by the KGB” and were used by the Soviet authorities, he said.

“You can’t even imagine the war of brains that unfolded in the first half of the last century,” he added. “I’m hardly exaggerating when I say that sometimes there were astral battles. And all this was kept secret and camouflaged, probably not less than the nuclear project.”

After the Soviet Union broke up, Ratnikov worked in the Federal Protection Service, where he claims he continued the mission, and used his occult skills to prevent anybody from reading and manipulating the mind of Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin. In this way, Ratnikov claims that among other things, he prevented a war with China.

This is what gave our publisher, SKK, reason to pause. When Western intelligence warned her that the KGB was waging a disinformation campaign against her, the Soviet Union already had been dissolved. And yet, the sources insisted that they accurately had identified “KGB” as the alleged perps, and specifically said that Ratnikov was involved.

Cholakian describes a modern technique of using disinformation in order to influence media outlets, steering news narratives towards a darker and divisive tone.

Journalists, influencers, and even politicians can become unwitting pawns in a grand chessboard, Cholakian warns.

Perhaps some other Ratnikov will step out of the shadows to reveal precise details, the way journalists did regarding Unit 29155 of the Russian GRU.

In the meantime, Cholakian advises, ordinary people should employ their critical thinking skills when consuming the news.

“If we see, hear, or read information that contains models of dissatisfaction, denial, hatred, or disappointment with our country and its people, we must not allow these messages to pass through our critical thinking, and we must consciously stop them,” Cholakian said.

Such efforts do not require a playbook. But they, too, are known to be effective.

Soldier of Fortune Staff

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