Putin and the failure of Western Intelligence

An ex-KGB agent on Putin's war against Ukraine

The West has struggled to predict and later understand Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin is a big reason for that. His KGB past is still mythologised in the West, and he is often portrayed as either a ruthless strategist or a victim of his own paranoia. Jack Barsky, an ex-KGB agent during the Cold War, offers an insight into Putin’s past, his strategy in Ukraine, and highlights the mistakes of Western intelligence and foreign policy when it comes to understanding the war in Ukraine.


There is a mystery and intrigue surrounding Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, that feels like a remnant of the Cold War. Putin in particular carries with him some of the darkness and mythology that accompanied the KGB, having served as an agent in the security agency in Dresden, Germany.

Today, when trying to decipher Putin’s motives and tactics in Russia’s war against Ukraine, many Western analysts are left baffled. They swing between the extremes

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David Simpson 9 August 2022

Be nice to be able to read the article!