The Compatriots

by  Andrei Soldatov and by Irina Borogan

Andrei Alekseyevich Soldatov (RussianАндрей Алексеевич Солдатов, born 4 October 1975 in MoscowRussia) is a Russian investigative journalist and Russian security services expert. Andrei Soldatov graduated from Moscow State Social University, meanwhile renamed Russian State Social University, journalist department. In 1996 he started to work as correspondent of Segodnya newspaper. 1998-1999 – staff writer of Kompania journal.

In September 2000, then in Izvestia, he has opened with Irina Borogan and other colleagues the project Agentura.Ru. Since then he is editor and Irina Borogan his deputy editor of the 2002-2004 he was also chief of section of Versiya (weekly newspaper), in which he covered Moscow theater hostage crisis.

In April 2004, Andrei Soldatov started to make comments for radio Echo Moskvy as security expert. In July 2004, he joined weekly Moscow News as the secret services observer. He covered Beslan siege for Echo Moskvy and Moscow News. Since January 2006 he works for Novaya Gazeta.

He covered for Novaya Gazeta 2006 Lebanon War from Lebanon and tensions in West Bank and Gaza Strip (Palestine). Soldatov regularly makes comments on terrorism and intelligence issues for VedomostiRadio Free Europe and BBC. Since July 2008 he is columnist of The Moscow Times. Since 2010 Soldatov writes for Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs.

The early Soviet government sent its agents abroad to trace and murder Russian political fugitives, including prominent figures of the anti-Bolshevik White movement defeated in the civil war and revolutionaries who fell afoul of the Bolsheviks—most notably Leon Trotsky, who was killed in Mexico City in 1940. But some émigrés served Soviet interests. For instance, many Russian Jews who had fled pogroms in tsarist Russia often sympathized with communist ideas and were easily recruited to become Soviet spies.

The authors, both journalists, draw on historical material and their own extensive reporting to show how governments in Moscow from the early Bolsheviks to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin have treated Russian emigration as both a threat and an opportunity. They chronicle Putin’s efforts to build a patriotic diaspora that would advance his government’s interests in the West. Political émigrés who engage in anti-Kremlin lobbying abroad, the authors argue, may risk an attack on their lives, similar to the earlier Bolshevik ones. The authors’ emphasis on the sinister continuity of the methods used by the Russian secret police may seem a bit overdone, but the poisoning (less than a year after the book’s publication) of the Kremlin’s most vocal and fearless critic, Alexei Navalny, provides strong backing for their argument.

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