[FoRK] Repression

Frank Bergman (fraber) fraber at fraber.de
Tue Jul 2 05:29:17 PDT 2013


Good ol' marxists apparently still have an interesting
story to tell (please consider the possible effects before 
clicking on a link to a marxist Web site! :-)
This document describes the methods of the Russion secret
service in 1913 for identifying and tracking communist
revolutionaries. It's particularly fun because during the
lecture my brain constantly imagines how the secret services
would apply similar techniques today.

The link came up in a Tech Republic posting:

After the victory of the October Revolution, tzar's spy 
agency Okhrana (Defensive) fell into the hands of the 
revolutionaries. The abovementioned book is the result of 
the quick study of Okhrana's archives and MO.

Okhrana's cryptographers were able to decode pretty much 
everything. Their snitches and provocateurs were everywhere. 
Thanks to so called "diagram method" (which strongly 
resembles of Facebook), they had better overview of 
revolutionary organizations than their own leaderships. 
Yet, all Okhrana's efforts were in vain, all the information 
was gathered for nothing, because there was nobody to act 
on it in a sensible manner. Snooping and especially 
provocateuring one's own population is a double edge sword. 
It's a sign of weakness, a last resort of regime in serious 

The fall of the regime is not something we should hope for, 
though. It does not solve the problem of surveillance and 
repression. If anything, it makes it worse. Once the 
domestic surveilance apparatus is in place, it WILL be put 
to use in the nastiest way possible, regardless of who's 
formally in power. Okhrana's cryptographic department and 
most of the snitch handlers continued to serve under new 
government. They formed the foundation of all the Soviet 
spy agencies that followed, KGB being the most (in)famous.



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