Opinion: Soviets/Russians have history of violent retributions

The established history of Soviet and Russian assassination operations since the birth of the Soviet Union in 1917 should remove any doubt as to the origin of the recent assassination attempt against Sergei V. Skripal and his daughter in Great Britain. It is almost impossible to dismiss the Russians as the originators of the operation and, even more importantly, it is difficult, if not impossible to identify any kind of logical alternative.
The Soviets/Russians have always had two categories of targets for their assassination operations — citizens and former citizens who have actively worked against the homeland and current and former citizens who are viewed as a political threat to the stability of the USSR or today’s Russia.
The first category is largely comprised of citizens who have actively worked against the homeland — Government and Party officials, particularly KGB and GRU (military intelligence) officers who have cooperated with hostile western intelligence organizations like Britain’s MI6.
The second category is comprised of émigré leaders and others who actively work against the interests of the USSR or Russia.
Wikipedia lists a total of 33 assassinations in both categories between 1918 and 2016.
Once confronted, as we are today in the Skripal case, the simplest way to reach the truth about the origin of the attempt and its motivation is to ask a few simple questions:
•  Why was Skripal targeted? Because he had been a Russian military intelligence officer who worked as a penetrator of the GRU on behalf of the British government. History shows that that is enough for him to be targeted by his homeland.
•  Is there any other country that would benefit from the Skripal assassination? No.
•  Is there any country other than Russia that has the motivation that would be needed to carry out a politically risky assassination like this? Probably not.
•  How was the operation carried out? A nerve gas was used of the type the Russians have used in the past. In this context, the Soviets and the Russians have always preferred poison to bullets and almost all the known assassinations involved such methods.
•  Could any non-governmental organization have produced such a poison? It had to be a government. According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, “Chemical weapons experts said it was almost impossible to make nerve agents without training and dismissed the theory that an amateur could have assembled the substance using materials obtained from the internet.”
In summary, we have an assassination attempt that involves the targeting of a Russian who is hated by the leadership in his former homeland for his past cooperation with western intelligence, using a modus operandi and a poison that have been used in the past almost exclusively by the Soviets/Russians.
This attempt almost certainly would not have taken place if Russia today were not being run by an unrepentant former KGB officer who carries with him all of his old anger at the demise of the USSR, nor would it have happened if the USSR had evolved into a less hostile, even vaguely democratic country. Nothing like it has happened anywhere else in the former Soviet Bloc of Eastern Europe.
What is its significance? It shows how hostile and aggressive Russia is today. The operation has already cost them the expulsion of 23 of their “diplomats” in Great Britain and probably will cost them more in the future.
But look at that in terms of Russia’s needs. They lost 23 totally replaceable “diplomats” from an Embassy where they probably calculated that such a loss would be tolerable. In fact, it is very likely the low impact of such a loss that persuaded them to go ahead. If it had been in a country where serious damage could have been inflicted on the Russians, they might well have reconsidered.
No, the Russians clearly calculated that whatever total damage is to be meted out by the British government and in the arena of world public opinion, the message that the assassination operation sent to the Russian people was far more important.
They wanted to show their own people how strong they are and at the same time, send a message to the Russian official establishment that despite the passing of the USSR, it is still deadly dangerous to turn against Mother Russia.
Haviland Smith, of Williston, a retired CIA station chief whose focus was the Soviet Union. He was also the CIA’s first chief of counterterrorism.

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