Viktor Kalashnikov is a Russian freelance journalist and a former KGB colonel. In the autumn of 2010, he and his wife Marina, a historian, were treated in a hospital in Germany for mercury poisoning in what they said had been an attempt on their lives by Russia’s FSB, the successor to the KGB. He is a distant relative of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the AK-47.
Kalashnikov and his wife have been publishing articles critical of the Kremlin since the 1990s. After living in Europe for several years they are now back in Moscow.
A few days ago I received a call from Victor Kalashnikov in Moscow, a former KGB officer who now works as an investigative journalist. He was eager to share his analysis of recent global events. This was also an opportunity to ask his opinion about the global economy and the crisis in Syria. “Your side is losing,” he complained. “Did you read Barack Obama’s speech at National Defense University? What was this reference to the Twilight Struggle of the Cold War in his speech? What is this?”
Obama had spoken of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, saying that “a new dawn of democracy” had taken hold abroad. It was the sort of thing American presidents liked to repeat.
“I’m sorry to say,” Kalashnikov continued, “the president’s statement is at variance with my own perception. He says that your homeland is more secure today and there have been no more big attacks. Usually supreme commanders refrain from saying things like that. Undoubtedly you know what Hezbollah is. It’s not a loose group of fighters. It is a large organization. They use satellite TV programs to spread their radical Islamic ideas. So you may dismantle a bomb or destroy a terrorist network or base, but it would be premature to feel somehow relaxed. Moreover, Hezbollah’s program of indoctrination is going on worldwide. That’s the point. You Americans, whether you like it or not, are confronting an aggressive Islam, and Islam is a huge thing. It is very flexible, very motivated.”
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