A day after bombs ravaged the Boston Marathon, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his country’s assistance in investigating this latest Islamic outrage.
Putin said in a condolences note published on the Kremlin’s website that the international community should unite to fight terrorism.
Putin said Russia “would be ready to provide assistance” to U.S. authorities with the probe into the bombings at the Boston marathon.
Fortunately, the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and Boston police were able, within a week, to identify and kill/arrest the two brothers responsible for killing three people and injuring about 180 more.
But suppose President Obama had taken Putin up on his offer?
Officially, the KGB (“Committee for State Security”) no longer exists. It was abolished by then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev following the agency’s unsuccessful coup against him in August, 1991.
But its legacy lives on in the renamed FSB (Federal Security Service).
The KGB was formed in 1954, the year after the death of Joseph Stalin, Russia’s 20th century version of Ivan the Terrible. (Previously, the state secret police had been known, first, as the Cheka–“Extraordinary Commission”– and then as the NKVD.)
Regardless of its name, the agency relentlessly pursued its twin goals: Brutally repressing political oppression at home and spying on its enemies abroad.
Through the reins of Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhniev, Yuri Andropov, Constitin Chernenko and Mikhail Gorbachev, the KGB acted as “the sword and shield of Russia.” Among its tens of thousands of members was Vladimir Putin.
Even the worst abuses of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI pale in comparison to those of the KGB, which ran its own prisons, routinely tortured and murdered men and women, and conducted espionage abroad.
The agency remained impervious to control except by its Kremlin masters–who were the ones directing its worst atrocities.
So it’s intriguing to imagine how the KGB would have reacted to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Perhaps the best way to do this is to see the KGB–oops, FSB–through the eyes of its former victims: The ussians themselves.
Unable to protest the abuses of the all-powerful police, Russians–in secret, and only among their most-trusted friends and family members–struck back with humor of the blackest sort
- Q. Why do the KGB operate in groups of three? A. One who can read, one who can write and one to keep an eye on the two intellectuals.
- A KGB officer tells the next-of-kin that her father committed suicide. Woman: How did he die? KGB: Skull fracture. Woman: How did it happen? KGB: He wouldn’t drink the poison.
- A Russian teacher asks her class, “Who wrote ‘The Communist Manifesto’?” A boy says, “I don’t know, but it wasn’t me.” The teacher thinks he’s being flippant, so she sends him home. The boy tells his father, who complains to a friend who’s a KGB agent. “Don’t worry,” says the KGB man, “I’ll find out who really wrote it.” The KGB agent drives to the home of the teacher’s apartment. The teacher asks, “Why have you woken me up?” The KGB officer says: “It wasn’t the boy. His father has confessed.”
- A man owns a parrot–until one day it disappears. The owner rushes to the nearest KGB office. “Why come to us? It’s none of our affair,” says the KGB official. “I just wanted you to know,” says the man, “that if it turns up, I don’t happen to share its opinions.”
- A KGB agent spots an old man reading a book and asks what it’s about. “I’m learning Hebrew,” says the man, “because it’s the language of Heaven. When I die, I want to talk to God.” The KGB man says, “But suppose when you die you go to Hell?” The old man says: “I already know Russian.”
- The Egyptian government announces that an unidentified mummy has been found, and asks the world’s best archaeologists to help solve the mystery. In response, the Soviet Union sends its top archaeologist–accompanied by two KGB guards to ensure he doesn’t defect. The three men enter the tomb and, three days later, emerge. “It’s Ramses III,” says the archaeologist. “How did you figure it out?” asks a reporter. And one of the KGB guards says, “The bastard finally confessed.”
- A man knocks at the door of his neighbor’s apartment, yelling: “Quick, get up, get dressed!” From inside he can hear screams of fear. “Don’t worry,” he says, “it’s nothing serious. I’m not from the KGB. I just wanted to tell you your flat is on fire.”
- A Russian boy asks his father, “Will there still be a KGB when we achieve Full Communism?” And his father replies: “No, by then people will have learned how to arrest themselves.”
- A delegation comes to the Kremlin to visit Leonid Brezhniev. When they leave, Brezhniev can’t find his cigarette case. He telephones the head of the KGB and says, “Find out of one of the delegates took my case.” Later, Brezhniev finds it under a table. He calls the KGB director and says, “I found my case. You can let the delegates go.” “It’s too late for that,” says the KGB director, adding: “Half the delegates admitted they took your case, and the other half died under questioning.”