- In this context, the security services regard themselves as already at war, and operate accordingly. Three basic premises apply. The first is that any reverses for the West are to Russia’s implicit advantage. The second is that their role is concrete: they do not just gather information, they advocate policies and carry out active measures routinely. Finally, they seem to believe it is better to seize an opportunity than avoid a mistake. Western, peacetime agencies are rightly risk averse, well aware of the potential dangers, political or otherwise, in badly judged actions. Their Russian counterparts are far more adventurous; it is more dangerous for an officer’s career to be regarded as unwilling to take a chance than to trigger international opprobrium.
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