Estonian Spies Understand the Russian Threat (Op-ed) - Moscow Times
Eestlased Eestis 13 Feb 2018  EWR
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(Bloomberg) — Tiny Estonia’s intelligence service would never pay $100,000 to a random Russian for some open-source data, which is what the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency apparently did, according to the New York Times. It’s one of the Western world’s few spy services with real Russia expertise, owed to its widespread fluency in the language; a deep understanding of the culture; and a relentless focus on its giant, dangerous neighbor.

That makes the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service’s latest annual report required reading for anyone interested in Russia, even if it contains too much wishful thinking on where the nation is headed.

The report is the third such document since 2016. Though the first two reports often simply stated the obvious, they also contained some valuable insights at the time. They explained Russia’s extensive use of propaganda and hacking as a sign of its conventional military weakness, not strength. And it keenly doubted President Vladimir Putin’s ability to overhaul the economy given that he remains obliged to maintain the corrupt system that sustains his dominance.

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