Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Is Russia Becoming a “Bigger DPRK”? (3)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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This is indeed becoming the next big Russia story – how Russian Air Force transports tasked with diplomatic movements were used to carry coke from Latin America to Russia …. and exactly who knew, and who was taking their cut?

Mark Galeotti | The Argentine Cocaine Scandal Is Just the Tip of a Russian Iceberg (Op-ed)

The embassy cars and diplomatic flights are reminiscent of wilder times. It can be depressing how often Russian reality sounds like a script from a thriller. Twelve suitcases of cocaine worth some 40 million euros ($50 million) found in an embassy school in Argentina. Drugs smuggled in diplomatic flights. A sting. A cast including a shadowy Russian security officer and an Argentina cop of Russian extraction. Sadly, this is no piece of fiction but a reminder that the criminal instincts of the 1990s never really disappeared and that for every Russian official genuinely trying to do his or her job, another is busy trying to monetize the access, immunity or privileges the post offers. This is, after all, the essence of kleptocracy: corruption at the top breeds corruption through the whole system. Although the Russian state is not above cooperating with organized and transnational crime, this does not appear to be an example of the kind of covert “black account” operations that saw cigarettes smuggled into Estonia and Middle Eastern people traffickers “taxed” in the name of gathering intelligence and raising operational funds for further deniable operations. Had that been the case, it is unlikely the ambassador would have turned to the authorities, or that the authorities would have cooperated in the investigation. Rather, this is a good old-fashioned case of crime under the cloak of official privilege. Back in the 1990s, naval supply ships sailed from Kaliningrad to St. Petersburg, their decks crammed with cars stolen across Europe, confident that they were exempt from customs controls. Army bases, out of bounds to the regular police, became extraterritorial havens for drug factories and workshops turning out counterfeit goods. Diplomatic pouches from Central Asian embassies bulged with heroin and antique rugs. Police evidence lockers became virtual gangster supermarkets. That kind of flagrant abuse of office was once a perhaps inevitable result of the collapse in living standards and morale in that miserable decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But it also reflected — and worsened — the declining authority of the state. When Putin came to power in 2000, he was committed to reversing its disintegration. The gangsters were told to lay off the indiscriminate street violence that made it look as if the state could not protect its people. Officials began to realise that there was a new code — not that the days of corruption were over, but that a degree of discretion and restraint was now required. This was not a cleansing of the system, but it was a renegotiation of the social contract, a redefinition of the acceptable bounds and etiquette of corruption. This social contract of the elite appears to be under pressure.

Señor K: Russia and Argentina split over mysterious drug smuggling case | World news | The Guardian

Andrey Kovalchuk, accused of stashing cocaine in a school, has claimed to be a cigar salesman, an intelligence officer, and an embassy worker

Alleged Mastermind Of Cocaine Plot Detained In Germany

A man the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) claims was behind an alleged attempt to smuggle nearly 400 kilograms of cocaine from Argentina to Moscow has been detained in Germany, his lawyer an…

Russian arrested over cocaine-smuggling ring – CNN

A Russian citizen has been arrested in Germany in connection with a massive cocaine-smuggling ring that has drawn headlines in Russia and around the world.

Alleged organizer of cocaine trafficking nabbed in Germany

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.

Russian accused of running cocaine ring arrested in Germany – Houston Chronicle

MOSCOW (AP) — It sounds like a thriller: nearly half a ton of cocaine was hidden in bags at the Russian Embassy’s school in Buenos Aires before being loaded on a Russian government plane bound for Moscow. Yet that’s exactly what happened in a recent sting run by Russia and Argentina to nab a drug ring. Officials said Fridaythat the alleged ring lord, Andrei Kovalchuk, was arrested in Germany, but controversy is still swirling around the drug bust. Russian and Argentine officials say they pooled efforts to catch the drug smugglers after at least 12 bags with cocaine with a street value of about $61 million were found at a Russian Embassy school in the Argentine capital.

Ex-employee of the Russian embassy in Argentina unknowingly transported cocaine to Russia since 2012

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.

Cocaine from Argentina allegedly smuggled to Russia since 2012 – Russian media | UNIAN

Abyanov worked as a supply manager at the Russian Embassy in Argentina since August 2011.

Why Russia is Crying ‘Fake News’ About A Drugs Sting In Argentina

Disinformation, snorts the Kremlin, to allegations a Russian government jet was being used to smuggle cocaine Dispatch Coda Staff 1 Mar 2018 Information War Disinformation Crisis An international narcotics sting that began with the discovery of millions of dollars worth of cocaine inside the Russian embassy compound in Buenos Aires has turned into a public-relations nightmare for the Kremlin, after it emerged that a Russian government jet had apparently been lined up to smuggle the drugs. Some Russian commentators are calling it a scandal on a par with Airforce One being used to carry illegal narcotics, after the Argentinian police published photos of the suspect aircraft — which has previously had President Vladimir Putin as a passenger. The Kremlin has lashed out at domestic media coverage of what’s been dubbed the “cocaine affair”, even denouncing some stories as “fake” — a label usually reserved for irksome reports in the foreign media. Ironically, the Russian government initially hailed its sting operation with the Argentinian authorities as a model of international cooperation when it was first revealed.