Putin says Russian government was swarming with CIA officers
In the 1990s and the early 2000s, the Russian government was swarming with CIA workers, and they eventually had to be “cleaned out” and sent back to the US, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Thursday.
Speaking to a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Putin used the example of Americans within the Russian government to show how foreign countries attempt to interfere in the country’s internal affairs.
“In the early 2000s, I had already cleaned everyone out, but in the mid-1990s, we had, as it later turned out, cadres of the US Central Intelligence Agency sitting as advisers and even official employees of the Russian government,” Putin explained.
“They were later prosecuted in the United States for violating US law and taking part in privatization while they were CIA employees working for us,” the president claimed.
According to Putin, some American specialists were stationed at Russian nuclear weapons facilities and even sat at a desk with a US flag.
“They lived and worked there. They didn’t need such subtle instruments of interference in our political life because they controlled everything anyway,” he continued.
This isn’t the first time that Putin has accused America of interfering with Russia’s internal affairs, especially in the immediate aftermath following the fall of the Soviet Union and the privatization of government-owned assets. In 2013, the president claimed that CIA officers worked in the entourage of Anatoly Chubais, the deputy prime minister who oversaw the privatization process. He later went on to become Kremlin chief of staff.
Earlier this year, Ruslan Khasbulatov, the former chairman of Russia’s parliament, claimed that the first Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, was surrounded by “hundreds” of CIA agents who told him what to do throughout his tenure as leader. Khasbulatov even claimed that Yeltsin would send security officials and heads of departments to the US so the Americans could “examine them” and “give conclusions.”