Categories
Latest News

World Exclusive.

Gen. Oleg Kalugin displays a prized photo from his huge counter-intelligence library in Maryland. It’s in black-and-white and shows Putin shaking hands with Josef Stalin, the murderous Soviet dictator, with various other Soviet leaders and generals looking on. Gen. Kalugin says: “I love it.” He is planning to enlarge it and then frame it.

Photo copyright Paul Martin

Of course it’s not actually factual; it’s a clever photographic mock-up that Gen. Kalugin says he finds “amusing and very symbolic”.

After all, in his world of Counter-Intelligence, nothing is absolutely as it seems.


Kalugin was one of the Soviet Union’s top ex-KGB officers. These days he spends most of his day listening from the US east coast to Russian broadcasts, making contact with influential sources, mainly in Russia, and trying to predict Putin’s next moves.

He says he expects Russian leader Vladimir Putin to order a series assassinations or poisonings in Europe once it has taken control of Ukraine and  Russia has been made into a pariah state.   

General Kalugin told me that, because NATO had not intervened directly inside Ukraine, Putin had continued to see Britain and European governments as a “soft touch”.

“The Russians wouldn’t dare mount assassinations inside the USA, but because Europe is weak, they assess it’s possible to do it there without serious consequences,” he said.

Gen. Kalugin, who was Putin’s boss when the general was in charge of the KGB in Leningrad,  these days spends most of his time listening to Russian broadcasts, making contact with influential sources, mainly in Russia. He feels he can predict Putin’s next moves.

“You need to understand his psyche.  He is a deeply lonely man, and hates rejection.  His family has fallen out with him.  His wife left him, and both his daughters have cut themselves off from him.”

Kalugin said he believes Putin has some deeper personal secrets that drive him to act aggressively.  “I was reliably informed that he has homosexual relations, and has done so since his training days as a young KGB cadet.  He is really not interested in women, even though he creates a image of being a macho heterosexual and has had two children.  It’s all a façade.”

Kalugin produced no evidence to back these claims of homosexuality, but suggested we talk to his ex-wife.

He agrees with psychological assessments, made by the CIA’s Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior, that Putin has “delusions of grandeur. and massive megalomania.”

The general said: “Putin is a dangerous man in many ways — for the world and for the Russians themselves.”

He attributes Putin’s aggression as stemming from his low-level KGB standing until he was co-opted into President Boris Yeltsin’s office, and then rose to power as Yeltsin’s surprise successor.  That’s what happens to people who jump from nowhere into the sky and look down, and believe that all must obey his orders.  He has spent two decades consolidating his power and control. That’s him.”

The general is sure Putin will “try his best to install a pro-Russian puppet regime.  But that will only whet his appetite for more.”   This, says Kalugin, helps explain why Putin plans to cling on to power indefinitely.   

He rejects the ideas that Putin may faced internal opposition as sanctions bite.  “Putin is in full control of all the Russian security services and the Orthodox Church, the two main pillars of power in Russia,”   

Kalugin told me he world he still has some high-level sources inside the Kremlin.  Years ago, one of these sources had tipped him off about the Russian’s second-last target on British soil – the former Soviet spy Alexander Litvinenko. 

“I called Litvinenko from Moscow and warned him not to make any further public accusations about Putin and his sordid private life – as they were planning to kill him if he kept speaking out.  About six months later, unfortunately, I was proved right.”

Analysts have been puzzled as to why the Russian authorities had allowed a German plane to pick up Alexei Navalny on August 20 2020 from Siberia and fly him to a Berlin hospital. He has just emerged from an induced coma.

“Actually poisoning is a common Russian security tactic, mainly because it’s not easy to uncover – and I should know,” Gen. Kalugin said. “I was present when the KGB leadership agreed to kill Georgi Markov, the Bulgarian dissident based in London and working for the BBC,” he told me.

In an exclusive interview from a hideout in the USA, urged Johnson and other European heads of government to take “tough measures” against Putin – or else the Russian leader will. He accused Western leaders of giving Putin a “free pass” through their many years of weak responses.

“These European leaders are showing him weakness, and Putin is ruthless to any person or country he considers is weak,” said the former head of the KGB’s First Directorate (Counter-Intelligence). “Putin is as ugly now in political actions as he was years ago.”

“Putin should be personally isolated – banned from coming to Europe or anywhere in the West, and any international summits – until he admits his crimes and apologises.  Of course he is too arrogant to do that. 

“That sort of ban would hit him hard personally.

“Breaking diplomatic relations with Russia by Britain, and other European countries would be the next step,” Kalugin suggested.

“When the Russians see Putin has shamed Russia and turned the motherland into a pariah state, this will ruin his reputation inside the country,” Kalugin said.

“Of course he will go on rigging elections, but pressure on him will have an effect.”

Kalugin in front of the Spy Museum (above) in Washington DC, the city where he started his spying career for the KGB, posing as a journalist (below). Photo copyright Paul Martin

Gen. Kalugin, 85, knows a thing or two about Russia’s complex internal security structures, and about the Russian leader himself. Putin used to serve in the KGB under Gen. Kalugin when Kalugin was deputy head of the KGB’s operations in Leningrad, Putin’s home city. 

 “Putin was part of what we called the political police..  

“Putin would come in plain clothes to my secretary and she would usher him in.  He would stand there respectfully and address me like this:  ‘General, please could you sign this?’

” He would never use the term Comrade Kalugin – that was for people who would speak to me who were not from the KGB.

“I must say I did not see him as being particularly talented – just one of the many junior officers.  It was the mayor of Leningrad who was a friend of Yeltsin who singled out Putin as a good reliable lackey for Boris Yeltsin, so Putin got transferred to the Kremlin in Moscow in Yeltsin’s office.”

Putin’s elevation took place at around the same time as pressures mounted on Gen. Kalugin.

“I could easily be in jail right now. I was charged in our military court with treason.  But just then I stood for parliament and candidates for parliament were exempt from prosecution until they failed to get elected. 

“I spoke out against the old system and, to my amazement, got one million two hundred thousand votes in my constituency.  So as a member of the new parliament they could not lock me up.  Later I went to the USA and never came back.”

After he retired Yeltsin said in a Russian newspaper that General Kalugin takes out of a thick file of clippings. “Yeltsin says that he (Yeltsin) had made two big mistakes in his career: One was invading Chechnya, the other was grooming Putin as his successor.  I agree with Yeltsin on that.”

Putin and Gen. Kalugin are now bitter enemies.

 “Putin is becoming more and more dangerous because he is literally getting away with murder or attempted murder,” Gen. Kalugin said from a location on America’s east coast.

“To appreciate why a ban on him would have a strong effect, you need to understand his psyche.  He is a deeply lonely man, and hates rejection.  His family has fallen out with him.  His wife left him, and both his daughters have cut themselves off from him.”

This, says Kalugin, helps explain why Putin plans to cling on to power for at least ten more years.   

“Putin is in full control of all the Russian security services and the order to kill Navalny must have come directly from him.”

Kalugin told correspondent.world he still has some high-level sources inside the Kremlin.  One of these sources had tipped him off about the Russian’s second-last target on British soil – the former Soviet spy Alexander Litvinenko. 

“I called Litvinenko from Moscow and warned him not to make any further public accusations about Putin and his sordid private life – as they were planning to kill him if he kept speaking out.  About six months later, unfortunately, I was proved right.”

Analysts have been puzzled as to why the Russian authorities had allowed a German plane to pick up Alexei Navalny on August 20 2020 from Siberia and fly him to a Berlin hospital. He has just emerged from an induced coma.

German scientists say they have conclusively showed that Navalny had been infected with novichok – the same deadly poison used in Salisbury (southern England) on Sergei Skripal, who, many years earlier, had defected to the UK from the Soviet military intelligence, the GRU.

Gen Kalugin rejected suggestions that Putin actually wanted the world to discover the poisoning of Navalny as a sort of grim warning to all who oppose him.

“No, it’s clear that these poisonings were all intended to kill — but without leaving any incriminating evidence. The operations against Navalny and earlier against Skripal just went wrong.

“Actually poisoning is a common Russian security tactic, mainly because it’s not easy to uncover – and I should know,” Gen. Kalugin said. “I was present when the KGB leadership agreed to kill Georgi Markov, the Bulgarian dissident based in London and working for the BBC,” he told correspondent.world.

“A poisoned dart from an umbrella killed him on London Bridge.  And no-one would have suspected anything more than a heart attack – except one doctor saw a strange small mark on his skin.” 

General Kalugin was arrested in connection with the Markov murder years later when he flew in to London. But the Russian ambassador intervened and he was set free after a night in a police cell.

“Our embassy got me out of a police cell the next day and I flew back to Moscow. I was not the killer of Georgi Markov.”A replica of the umbrella used to kill Markov.

“All I had done was to sit at KGB headquarters in 1978 with our chief Yuri Andropov [later Soviet Union President] and his deputy. It was his decision – at the Bulgarian president’s request.”

[“The Bulgarian secret service, which was anyway under our control, did not have the expertise to do the job. We did.]

“My department, counter-intelligence, never carried out killings. Our job was to get secret information.”

He went on: “Our science and technology directorate had the weapon designed and constructed in Japan. It was an umbrella that fired a small dart into Markov’s leg. I believe that department still exists.”

He said British security services should have learned lessons after failing to protect defector Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with highly-radioactive polonium in London in 2006. Kalugin said: “He met with his killers more than once without MI5 intervening or giving him close protection.

“It didn’t take a genius to work out Litvinenko’s life was deeply in danger.”

Putin has called Gen. Kalugin an American stooge. The ex-KGB official told correspondent.world: “I publicly accused Putin of being a mass murderer for waging war in Chechnya.

“I’ve also had the guts to attack Putin in a book. If I had been living in Britain instead of the US, I would have been dead long ago.”

Kalugin believes Putin could order more assassinations or poisonings against opponents  – whether in Europe or inside his own country – unless European governments hit back against Russia’s latest assassination attempt with tough measures.

General Kalugin told Correspondent.world that the president saw Britain and European governments as a “soft touch”.

He said: “The Russians wouldn’t dare mount assassinations inside the USA, but because Europe is weak, they assess it’s possible to do it there without serious consequences.”