By Paul Goble
Because Donald Trump was an important US businessman, the KGB and FSB collected information on him in order to assess his personality and his attitudes toward Russia, and because Trump behaved quite freely with women when he visited Moscow, some of it undoubtedly could be compromising, former KGB General Oleg Kalugin says.
But whether Moscow ever used it to try to recruit Trump or blackmail him is something Kalugin tells Russian-American historian Yury Felshtinsky he simply doesn’t know having defected long ago and not having access to the files (gordonua.com/publications/kalugin-na-trampa-kgb-imel-materialy-tochno-na-kakom-to-etape-mogli-vspomnit-ob-etom-kgb-vsegda-otlichalsya-horoshey-pamyatyu-1231157.html).
That Moscow has compromising information on Trump, the former KGB general says specifically, “I know for certain. But where it has been used is unknown to me.” One point Kalugin hints at but is not explicit about is that what may be effective kompromat in one case won’t be in another, if the target doesn’t view it as such.
Because he felt Kalugin was not being fully forthcoming on this point, Felshtinsky turned to former Vladimir Popov, a former KGB lieutenant colonel who has written a book with Felshtinsky about the Soviet organs.
Any unusual or important American who visited the USSR or Russia would have come within Trump “the field of view of the Soviet-Russian special services,” Popov says; and if he behaved in any way unusually, these organs would have collected information on him. That is how a file on would have arisen – but there are hundreds if not thousands of such files.
Such attention to Americans occurred regardless of whether the KGB or FSB thought they might recruit one of them, Popov says. “For the special services, it is important to clarify the psychological portrait of the individual, his political orientation, his attitude toward the country to which he has come with some goal.”
In Trump’s case, Popov says, there is “a high probability that Trump in the USSR or in Russia was recruited since at the time of his visits there he conducted himself remarkably freely. But a final answer as to whether that occurred requires access to his dossier something neither Kalugin nor Popov has.
Popov adds, however, that Trump’s efforts to meet with Vladimir Putin one-on-one “possibly” can be explained “by Trump’s desire to tell him that his anti-Russian position is for him a condition of survival in the post of US president.”