[amazingly, some of the readers of this article on the Economist website seem to have thought it was a leaked email. I gave author's name to "Shutnik" rather than the "Khuiyovich" of 1994 and another draft piece posted on this blog, in order not to seem gratuitously offensive which is not my intention]
What Russia will do next
A secret e-mail to Mr Putin reaches our columnist
ESTEEMED Vladimir Vladimirovich!
As director of the operational task-force of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, I present my compliments to you personally at the conclusion of the initial military-political phase of Operation “Return”.
The penetration by this service and its sister organisations of decision-making structures in the enemy camp has long given us advance warning of European Union and NATO plans, and a substantial ability to influence them. Even we, however, did not expect such torpor and weakness from the enemy. We see empty words but no readiness for serious resistance. Indeed, some western commentators and politicians have praised our actions as justified, including in some cases those who have received no payment or other inducements. We can proceed confidently.
As we underline the disadvantages of bad relations and highlight the advantages of good ones, our main ally is the electoral cycle. Voters, politicians and other decision-makers will become increasingly aware that if they resist us, they will pay a heavy price; but if they cooperate, they will benefit.
His Georgian adventure
We will extend the intimidation, harassment and expropriation of British, American, Polish and Czech companies active in our domestic market and as energy customers, while at the same time offering further preferential treatment to those from countries that are politically friendly, especially France, Italy and Germany. Are big European companies willing to sacrifice billions of euros in lost exports or higher energy costs by indulging their politicians’ desire to grandstand and moralise? We think not.
We should visibly intensify our activity in non-western financial centres, chiefly Dubai, Mumbai and Shanghai, to show western capital markets, particularly London and New York, the loss of business that they face by their governments’ intransigent behaviour.
Similarly, the next American president will face a stark choice between the imminent prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran or the wasting asset of involvement in a Europe that does not wish to defend itself.
The electoral cycle in the enemy camp in coming months should deliver great victories to our side: by the year-end we expect Ukraine and Lithuania to abandon the enemy camp. But plans for further escalation are ready as needed. In Crimea, Islamic extremists, guided by our colleagues in Teheran and Damascus, can attack Russian passport-holders. The Ukrainian authorities, partly due to their own incompetence and partly thanks to our disruptive activities, will be unable to stop these atrocities. Our agents in the local population can therefore set up armed self-defence militias. These will clash with the Ukrainian police and army. Our forces can then intervene as peacekeepers, recreating the scenario that has played out so successfully in Georgia.
In the Baltic, provocations will be by nationalist hooligan gangs, supposedly acting as patriots, demanding ethnic cleansing of all Russian-speakers from Estonia and Latvia. Our compatriots there will also establish self-defence militias, which will appeal to us for protection from both the hooligans and from the organs of state power. In the case of Lithuania, our sponsored extremist groups can mount terrorist attacks on military transit to the Kaliningrad region, giving us the chance to demand, and provide, suitable security protection to them.
We can also launch deniable cyber-attacks against Poland and the Czech Republic, crippling official websites and disrupting the banking system.
There remains only the problem of certain propagandists in the enemy media who
Editor’s note: “Shutnik”—the surname of the author of this email—is the Russian word for “Joker”. Whether this affects the authenticity of the above material is for readers to decide.