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December 11, 2018

"Putin's East German identity card found in Stasi archives"

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Constant readers will find this news, reported in today's Guardian, quite relevant to yesterday's post about Tom Shore's book "Pilgrim Spy."

The Guardian report follows.

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Vladimir Putin's old East German secret police identification card has reportedly been discovered in the Stasi archives.

The card for "Major Vladimir Putin" was discovered among Soviet-era personnel files in Dresden, where Putin served as a KGB officer in the 1980s.

It bore stamps and was validated through 1989, the German newspaper Bild reported, along with a photograph of the identification card.

The archive head told Bild that the card would have let Putin enter Stasi offices unhindered and made it easier to recruit agents, because he would not have had to mention his KGB affiliation.

It was not clear whether the card indicated Putin worked directly for the Stasi.

The Kremlin neither confirmed nor denied that Putin was issued a Stasi identification.

"At those times, the times of the USSR, the KGB and the Stasi were partner services, and so such an exchange of IDs should perhaps not be ruled out," Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said.

Some of the Russian leader's most formative years, details of which remain secret, were spent in Dresden.

Putin arrived in the German city in the mid-1980s on his first foreign posting with the KGB.

On the night of December 5, 1989, he phoned Russia for orders as a crowd prepared to storm the KGB residence.

The Berlin Wall had fallen less than a month earlier.

"Moscow is silent," he was told, according to a recent biography of the Russian leader.

Putin was said to have talked down the crowd with a bluff that they would be fired upon if they tried to enter the residence.

Photographs from the Stasi archives have shown that other prominent Russian officials, such as the chief of the defense manufacturer Rostec, Sergey Chemezov, and the Transneft head, Nikolay Tokarev, served in Dresden alongside Putin.

Some details of Putin's KGB service remain secret, including whether his work in counter-intelligence also included surveillance of political dissidents in the Soviet Union.

December 11, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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