Park, Pinochet, Putin


Eric Margolis published an interesting column yesterday on the former KGB's consolidation of power in Vladimir Putin's Russia. Much of the story's been told before, but Margolis adds a bit of unexpected background:

The USSR crumbled in 1991.

That year, I reported from Moscow that the younger generation of KGB—the USSR's best educated and brightest youth, with extensive experience abroad and contempt for communist ideology—were going to ditch the moribund Communist party and attempt to seize power themselves.

Intriguingly, the KGB's Young Turks repeatedly told me their role models for the "new" Russia were two right-wing military strongmen, South Korea's Gen. Park Chung-hee, and Chile's Gen. Augusto Pinochet. "We will make Russians work at bayonet point," were the words of an exasperated KGB colonel.