January 12, 2017

NOT WHETHER BUT WHAT:

Russia's Sexual Blackmail Didn't Die With the Soviets (Andrew Higgins and Andrew E. Kramer, Jan. 11th, 2017, NY Times)

Whatever did or did not happen in Mr. Trump's hotel suite in 2013, when he visited Moscow to attend a Miss Universe contest, Russia has a long and well-documented record of using kompromat to discredit the Kremlin's foes and to lean on its potential friends.

For decades, hotels across the former Soviet Union visited by foreigners were equipped with bugging devices and cameras by the K.G.B. A remnant can still be seen in Tallinn, the capital of the former Soviet republic Estonia, where the new Finnish owners of the former Intourist hotel have set up a museum to display the surveillance and other techniques used to spy on and blackmail foreign guests.

Peep Ehasalu, who helped set up the museum, said that 60 of the hotel's 423 rooms were bugged and reserved for "interesting persons" like foreign businessmen. Guests who were judged vulnerable to blackmail were put in a handful of rooms with holes in the walls through which special cameras would film dalliances with prostitutes. All the prostitutes, Mr. Ehasalu said, worked for the K.G.B., which chased away freelance sex workers who had not been officially approved.

Posted by at January 12, 2017 7:32 AM

  

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