Welcome to the author page of Paddy Hayes



26th May 2016:
"Cold War London"
Salon for the City Westminster Arts Library London
5th September 2016:
Special Forces Club


Paddy Hayes 2015 Queen of Spies - Daphne Park.
Paddy Hayes 2015 Queen of Spies - Daphne Park.
Paddy Hayes 2015 Queen of Spies - Daphne Park.
Paddy Hayes 2015 Queen of Spies - Daphne Park.
Paddy Hayes 2015 Queen of Spies - Daphne Park.
Paddy Hayes 2015 Queen of Spies - Daphne Park. Paddy Hayes 2015 Queen of Spies - Daphne Park. Paddy Hayes 2015 Queen of Spies - Daphne Park.

Email: woody@iol.ie
Putin's Moscow

The New Cold War 1991-

"Name changes change nothing" refers to the Russian penchant for changing the names of its security services, but rarely the means, methods and purpose.

This might help you understand why. In 1917 the Cheka (All Russia Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage) was established. Its remit was to unleash unremitting terror directed any anyone who might threaten the Bolshevik Revolution. It went about its work with a will. From the word Cheka is derived the term Chekists, a complementary form of address used to this day by insiders in the security and intelligence services in Russia.

1922 Cheka Became NKVD
1923 NKVD Became OGPU
1934 OGPU Became NGVD
1941 (Feb) NGVD Became NKGB
1941 (July) NKGB Became NKVD
1943 NKVD Became NKGB
1946 NKGB Became MGB*
1953 MGB Became MVD*
1954 MVD Became KGB**
1991 Disbanded and reconstituted (see below).

* Full ministry status
** Committee status

Following the death of Stalin the MVD was re-named the KGB with its status reduced from that of a full ministry (M) to that of a 'committee' (K) because of gross abuse of its position during Stalin's era. In effect the Politburo (Cabinet) no longer trusted its own internal security apparatus. It wasn't until the acetic Andropov took over as Chairman of the KGB that the security organ became a fully trusted part of the state and earned its right to its motto becoming once again 'The Sword & Shield' of the Party.

In the first years of the Russian Federation the former security services went through a number of reorganisations. Today the principal organs are:
FSB Federal Security Service, equivalent to KGB 2nd Chief Division (SCD)
FSO Federal Guard Service (VIP Protection)
SBP Presidential Security Service
FAPSI Federal Government Communications Agency (Eavesdropping)
SVR Foreign Intelligence Service- equivalent to KGB 1st Chief Division (FCD)

The general view of observers is that the state security organs in modern Russia retain pretty much all of their traditional powers. It's worth noting that within Russia the end of communist rule (and the subsequent breakup of the Soviet Union) are seen in a radically different light to how they are in the West.

The average Russian sees the present state as a direct continuum and not a very good one. Yes, there is a new political party, a new economic system. And while there have been many dramatic changes (no one contests that) in many respects it's the same old Russia. The bosses still rule from the Kremlin, the secret police still hang out in the Lubyanka, the media (television/radio) is under effective state control and the bo'lshoys (big boils) still get the cream, the masses get screwed.

In the West the end of the Soviet Union is one of the defining moments of recent history, akin almost to creation of post Second World War Europe and the 'new' Germany. But the parallel is misleading. There is, for example, no expression in Russia equivalent to Germany's Die Wende-The Change, the term Germans use to describe what happened after The Wall came down. In Russia it is as if the Gestapo were still alive and working in Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse in Berlin and the current chancellor was working from behind Hitler's desk in the former Reich Chancellery.

Modern Germany repudiated everything that Nazi Germany stood for. A systematic process of de-nazification which the Germans call Geschichtsaufarbeitung, the working through of history in order to cleanse. Modern Russia has not done the equivalent de-bolshevikication, nor does it appear likely to.

Now a different flag flies over the Kremlin.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

Bodyguards waiting for their charges outside a Moscow casino.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

Assassination remains a favoured method of either settling old scores or encouraging the granting of favours. There are about 12 contract killings a month in Moscow alone (and as many outside) so bodyguards are an essential element in the armoury of a modern Russian tycoon. The vehicles of choice for tycoons are S Class Mercedes saloons, M class SUV's for the 'help'. In Russia large companies talk of the 'bribe index', the percentage of annual revenues that has to be paid in bribes. It currently runs at about 2%.

It is the tradition for brides to cross Red Square on Saturday mornings to register their wedding.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

After the wedding they pose beside the honour guard who protect the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Kremlin wall.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

Not all fun is so innocent, streets are crowded with unaccompanied youngsters.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

A good likeness?
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

The Arbat, the city's open-air market, today it rivals any such market in any major city. Just a few years previously all that was for sale were a few knick nacks.

The National Hotel-Moscow.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

Lenin stayed here. It is one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in the capital. Russia is starved of hotels. A city of a million people (there are 14 such in Russia) might have only one or two. International hotel chains are moving in. They provide the expertise and branding, local partners provide the capital. The first rule; never ask where the cash has come from. You might be told and you don't want to know.

The Lubyanka-the tallest building in Moscow?
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

People still do not linger as they pass what Muscovites refer to the as the 'tallest building in Moscow', the headquarters of the FSB (Russia's internal security service). This was because it goes down as far as it goes up. The four stories of cellars contain the Lubyanka's infamous prison, and if rumour is to be believed the prison is once more open to take prisoners. The statue of Iron Feliks is gone, replaced by a rather tasteful flowerbed. The name of the square has been changed too from Dzerzhinsky Square to Lubyanka Square, the name of the FSB's special forces unit has not, it remains 'The Dzerzhinsky'.

A parade by Communist Party supporters observed by FSB 'goons'
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

Goons in close-up
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

These FSB goons have a better dress sense than their SCD predecessors, could probably pass for plain clothes 'flics' in any European capital. The car's the same though, a Volga saloon, its telltale aerials sending a clear message as to its purpose.

The new British Embassy Chancery.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

The 'mushroom' on its roof concealing exact details of the aerials used to listen in on the communications of their Russian hosts (supplementing those in the roof of the ambassador's residence-see below). Behind can be seen one of Stalin's 'Seven Sisters', which even today dominate the Moscow skyline

The former British Embassy seen from inside the Kremlin.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

It is now the ambassador's residence. Sites within eavesdropping distance of the Kremlin aren't given up lightly.

Yaroslavskiy Train Station
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

It was from here that prisoners embarked on their 1,400-kilometre journey to the prison camps in Perm part of the appalling Gulag system of forced labour camps. The journey took about twelve days. Prisoners undertook it in prison cars attached to the regular passenger trains. There were many stops, for food and water they were dependent on the 'kindness' of their guards.

Prisoners would have needed all their resources to survive. The prison population, the 'zeks', was made up of 'political' offenders, ordinary criminals, economic criminals, even a residue of collaborators there since the Second World War. These included two Lithuanian priests convicted of helping the Germans. The regime was tough, deliberately so. Rations were pitiful, 50 grammes of tea per month, fried rye bread with margarine for breakfast, blanada thin soup for dinner. Prisoners who were sick received reduced rations because 'they were not contributing'.

Everything was done to make life miserable. The bushlats, the warm padded jackets prisoners wore against the biting cold (Perm was on the edge of Siberia) have only one pocket, that way prisoners cannot walk around both hands warm in their pockets. No parcels for five years, no visitors for five years, one letter a month for the lucky ones. No one can say with any certainty how many were imprisoned in the Gulags. According to Anne Applebaum writing in her book 'GULAG' it could be as high as 25 million. Of that number over 2.5 million might have perished.

Camp humour.
'A prison guard asks a zek; "How long is your sentence?"
"Fifteen years." The zek says.
"What did you do?" The guard then asks.
"Nothing." Replies the zek.
"You are lying." The guard says. "The sentence for nothing is ten years."
(Source; a former zek (prisoner) Paddy Hayes spoke to who had been incarcerated in Perm.)

Dom na Naberezzhnoi the House on the Embankment.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

Situated on Bersenevskaya Embankment, across from the Kremlin where the Moskva River divides in two. It was built in Stalin's time to house senior officials, scientists, members of the nomenklatura. But living there could be a mixed blessing. Some six hundred of its residents were reputed to have been taken to the Lubyanka in the bread vans during his purges.

The White House.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

The White House, a Brezhnev era pretentious columned pile seen from the Kutuzovsky Bridge. This is famous as the location for Boris Yeltsin's speech denouncing the plotters in the August coup. It was then the Duma, the parliament of the Russian Socialist Federation. Prior to that it was home to the Moscow Soviet of People's Deputies, a nominal assembly even by the standards of the Soviet Union. The Duma no longer sits there.

Storaya Ploschad
Photo © Paddy Hayes.

Storaya Ploshad, Old Square, a nondescript building half a mile from the Lubyanka in one direction and a bit more from the Kremlin in another. It was the location of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union-CPSU was the real organ of power in Russia. Not the Supreme Soviet, or the Council of Ministers or the parliament, which were talk-shops and rubber-stamping mechanisms in the main. The Central Committee was the business and sitting on top of it was the Politburo, in effect the Executive. It was served by a Secretariat and the Apparat.

The apparatchiks made up the Apparat. It was originally a small body of technicians, dating back to 1917, whose role was to advise on certain matters of importance to the Party leadership. Over time it grew into this vast body of bureaucrats, apparatchiks, who wielded enormous power and influence. It was Old Square not the Kremlin that was the powerhouse. That building in Stayara Ploschad was so important that they built a secret underground metro line connecting it with a government bunker complex they had constructed in Ramenki in the university district of Moscow; a spur went to Vnukovo-2 the government-only airport in the city. As an added convenience the line ran under Kutuzovsky Prospekt, where most of the leadership had apartments. Andropov's had a secret staircase leading down to the line, which is still operational and still closed to the public.

Today the building serves as the operational centre for the Administration of the President. A study of the official government website seems to indicate its functions remain unchanged.

An early 'selfie'…..Paddy Hayes re-visits Moscow twelve years after the coup.
Photo © Paddy Hayes.