Putin Tells Oliver Stone About His Days As A KGB Spy

Tyler Durden's picture

Russia's President Putin talked to Oliver Stone not only about politics and international affairs, but also about his family, childhood, and hobbies, as well as the time when he served as an under-cover KGB agent in Dresden in 1980s. These recollections are part of a book of full transcripts that includes material left out of the documentary series The Putin Interviews (which was panned last week by Rolling Stone in its "10 Most WTF Things We Learned From Oliver Stone's Putin Interviews").

Vladimir Putin said he joined the KGB, the Soviet Committee for State Security, in 1975, because he had “always wanted to."

“I entered law school because I wanted to work for the KGB. And still when I was a pupil at school, I went to the KGB office in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) by myself. And I asked them what I had to do in order to work for the KGB. And the workers told me that I had to have a higher education and a better legal education.”

Putin said he did not have “any contact with the KGB” following the visit, so it was “quite unexpected that the KGB found me and offered a job” after he graduated from law school.

When asked by Stone, Putin acknowledged he watched many films about the agency and their intelligence work and was particularly inspired by a Soviet-era espionage thriller called Seventeen Moments of Spring, in which the main character played by famous actor Vyacheslav Tikhonov is a Soviet spy in Nazi Germany. The president admitted to romanticizing about getting a job at the KGB.

Putin served as an under-cover spy in Dresden from 1985 through 1990 and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel when the USSR collapsed. In the late 1990s, he briefly served as the head of the FSB, the KGB’s successor.

* * *

While Putin's walk down memory lane with Stone was rather limited, the BBC recently conducted an extensive look on Putin's days in Dresden. Some excerpts below:

Putin had arrived in Dresden in the mid-1980s for his first foreign posting as a KGB agent. The German Democratic Republic or GDR - a communist state created out of the Soviet-occupied zone of post-Nazi Germany - was a highly significant outpost of Moscow's power, up close to Western Europe, full of Soviet military and spies. Putin had wanted to join the KGB since he was a teenager, inspired by popular Soviet stories of secret service bravado in which, he recalled later, "One man's effort could achieve what whole armies could not. One spy could decide the fate of thousands of people."

Initially, though, much of his work in Dresden was humdrum. Among documents in the Stasi archives in Dresden is a letter from Putin asking for help from the Stasi boss with the installation of an informer's phone.

And there are details too of Soviet-East German social gatherings Putin attended, to celebrate ties between the two countries. But if the spy work wasn't that exciting, Putin and his young family could at least enjoy the East German good life. Putin's then wife, Ludmila, later recalled that life in the GDR was very different from life in the USSR. "The streets were clean. They would wash their windows once a week," she said in an interview published in 2000, as part of First Person, a book of interviews with Russia's new and then little-known acting president.

The Putins lived in a special block of flats with KGB and Stasi families for neighbours, though Ludmila envied the fact that: "The GDR state security people got higher salaries than our guys, judging from how our German neighbours lived. Of course we tried to economise and save up enough to buy a car."

A former KGB colleague, Vladimir Usoltsev, describes Putin spending hours leafing through Western mail-order catalogues, to keep up with fashions and trends. He also enjoyed the beer - securing a special weekly supply of the local brew, Radeberger - which left him looking rather less trim than he does in the bare-chested sporty images issued by Russian presidential PR today.

East Germany differed from the USSR in another way too - it had a number of separate political parties, even though it was still firmly under communist rule, or appeared to be.

"He enjoyed very much this little paradise for him," says Boris Reitschuster. East Germany, he says, "is his model of politics especially. He rebuilt some kind of East Germany in Russia now."

The block of flats nearby, where the Putins lived

But in autumn 1989 this paradise became a kind of KGB hell. On the streets of Dresden, Putin observed people power emerging in extraordinary ways. In early October hundreds of East Germans who had claimed political asylum at the West German embassy in Prague were allowed to travel to the West in sealed trains. As they passed through Dresden, huge crowds tried to break through a security cordon to try to board the trains, and make their own escape.

Wolfgang Berghofer, Dresden's communist mayor at the time, says there was chaos as security forces began taking on almost the entire local population. Many assumed violence was inevitable.

"A Soviet tank army was stationed in our city," he says. "And its generals said to me clearly: 'If we get the order from Moscow, the tanks will roll.'"

After the Berlin Wall opened, on 9 November, the crowds became bolder everywhere - approaching the citadels of Stasi and KGB power in Dresden.

The former KGB headquarters in Dresden

Putin and his KGB colleagues frantically burned evidence of their intelligence work. "I personally burned a huge amount of material," Putin recalled in First Person. "We burned so much stuff that the furnace burst."

Two weeks later there was more trauma for Putin as West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl arrived in the city. He made a speech that left German reunification looking inevitable, and East Germany doomed. Kohl praised Gorbachev, the man in Moscow who'd refused to send in the tanks, and he used patriotic language - words like Vaterland, or fatherland - that had been largely taboo in Germany since the war.  Now they prompted an ecstatic response.

It's not known whether Putin was in that crowd - but as a KGB agent in Dresden he'd certainly have known all about it. The implosion of East Germany in the following months marked a huge rupture in his and his family's life.

"We had the horrible feeling that the country that had almost become our home would no longer exist," said his wife Ludmila. "My neighbour, who was my friend, cried for a week. It was the collapse of everything - their lives, their careers."

One of Putin's key Stasi contacts, Maj Gen Horst Boehm - the man who had helped him install that precious telephone line for an informer - was humiliated by the demonstrating crowds, and committed suicide early in 1990. This warning about what can happen when people power becomes dominant was one Putin could now ponder on the long journey home.

"Their German friends give them a 20-year-old washing machine and with this they drive back to Leningrad," says Putin biographer and critic Masha Gessen. "There's a strong sense that he was serving his country and had nothing to show for it."

He arrived back to a country that had been transformed under Mikhail Gorbachev and was itself on the verge of collapse.

"He found himself in a country that had changed in ways that he didn't understand and didn't want to accept," as Gessen puts it.

His home city, Leningrad, was now becoming St Petersburg again. What would Putin do there? There was talk, briefly, of taxi-driving. But soon Putin realised he had acquired a much more valuable asset than a second-hand washing machine.

In Dresden he'd been part of a network of individuals who might have lost their Soviet roles, but were well placed to prosper personally and politically in the new Russia. In the Stasi archives in Dresden a picture survives of Putin during his Dresden years. He's in a group of senior Soviet and East German military and security figures - a relatively junior figure, off to one side, but already networking among the elite.

Vladimir Putin is standing second from the left in the front row

Prof Karen Dawisha of Miami University, author of Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?, says there are people he met in Dresden "who have then gone on… to be part of his inner core".

They include Sergey Chemezov, who for years headed Russia's arms export agency and now runs a state programme supporting technology, and Nikolai Tokarev head of the state pipeline company, Transneft.
And it's not only former Russian colleagues who've stayed close to Putin.

* * *

While Showtime has limited the distribution of "The Putin Interviews", in the interview below Stone speaks to the FT's Matthew Garrahan and explains why western world has Vladimir Putin all wrong.

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The Gray Man's picture

A message to all fathers and future fathers.


Remember your roles, even when the outside world demeans and diminishes them, and pushes you to abdicate. Resist those forces.

rivercity's picture

Well stated encouragement for the day - thanks for taking the time. As a female - I support men in their true role which is currently under seige.

Alt RightGirl's picture

Did he tell him about the j00s left over since the bolshevik/CCCP era?

The tribe is one of the white man's greatest enemy.

The White Greatness and its Enemies 

Art Van Delay's picture

Oliver stone is 50% tribester.

Just a heads up.


MEFOBILLS's picture

Oliver stone is 50% tribester


Yes, but he is following a moral path.  His tribester relatives are in full revolt against him.  

Being an anti-semite is a learned position.  Be learned.  Don't fall into the all Jews are bad category, because that is obviously not true.

People like Henry Makow and Gilad Atzmon, and also Stone, are to be admired.  Judge a person not from where they are at, but how far they have traveled.  

For a Genetic Jew, to then reject his tribe, to then come to a position in opposition, is a far path to travel.  Most people don't have those kind of gigantic testicles.

These types of people are thinkers and fighters , who investigate Jewish doctrine, and come to a position that said doctrine is parasitic and immoral.  They are the friends of moral people everywhere. 

Yes, it is right and proper to have your Jew-Dar on at all times.  But, don't turn up the gain to 100% and get false images.

Implied Violins's picture

In this case, it is justified.

In the movie 'JFK', he NEVER addresses Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion - and their conversations regarding Dimona in the summer before he was killed. The Mossad was a primary instigator in his assassination because of JFK's threat to expose Dimona and the Israeli nuclear program.

His movie is a blatant attempt to bury this part of history. Therefore: Stone is GUILTY as charged. And his recent work with Putin is serving globalist interests, to boot.

As for my claims on Putin: this is a long, comprehensive, unbiased, VERY informative study on him - and you won't see ANY of this in Stone's movie: https://deusnexus.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/the-russian-phoenix-2/

MEFOBILLS's picture

Fair enough.  That is why we debate.  

But, there are Jews like Makow that we cannot impugn.

Implied Violins's picture

I agree. This is not a 'Jewish' issue. It is a globalist, Zionist issue - and such people will use ANY nationality that serves their interest.

To be honest, I fear that the Jewish people are being set up to be destroyed, and that the state of Israel was created to that purpose. They may end up taking the brunt of the blame for all the sorrows of the globalist designs over the last century, when the banksters of all stripes are the ones that need to face the music.

Edit: a discussion of the JFK/Dimona issue is here:


Frederico's picture

In Stone's defence in 1991 there wasn't THAT MUCH INFORMATION as we have today. I believe the DEFINITE book on the Kennedy assassination was released last year (2016) and was called "The Devil's Chessboard" by David Talbot - and it proves that Kennedy was shot by a combination of military/intelligence/ and west coast big oil and east coast big banking elites.

Back then Jim Garrison's book was considered the closest to the truth we had, and if I recall correctly it was on his book that Oliver Stone decided to base his movie. I'm sure a lot of info has come out in the last 26 years, which would make Stone change his mind. I'm almost positive he has read the Devil's Chessboard by now.

Unknown User's picture

Stone should have asked Putin about the dead hand (the perimiter).

rivercity's picture

Your comment has NOTHING to do with my post. Are you not able to post in a thread relevant to your comment?!

nmewn's picture

Of course not, the comment is meant to derail the thread along with "her bot" followers...lol.

mary mary's picture

See?  The DailyKos *ssholes are still here, downvoting any post of actual information.  I feel sorry for them.  They could be reading and learning, but they're too lazy.

AlexCharting's picture

Seen them all, nice to listen to a politican fluent in common sense. 

order66's picture

"There is an interest in the United States of making money, making instruments of war and selling them to other countries and militarizing regions such as the middle east, that's the end result."

Pretty much sums it up right there. Trump is now chief puppet in that process.

nmewn's picture

Me thinks Vlad doth protest too much ;-)

TeethVillage88s's picture

Jim Rickards describes Gasprom as conglomerate, media, bank, and security force at level of army for Gazprom Assets.

Russian Troop levels need to include Gazprom Security Forces and readiness to include their weapons & training

nmewn's picture

Yeah, the whole thing is a cross between feudalism and socialism as far as I can tell. 

Nobody touches the oligarchs, the serfs get all kinds of free shit to keep the noise down outside the oligarchs dachas down by the lake, while the oligarchs and their cronies get stinkin rich. 

Much the same as everywhere else I guess but the people overall seem satisified with this arrangement so who am I to judge?

We've got our hands full with that kind of shit right here ;-)

TeethVillage88s's picture

Hudson Bay Company? Corporate Charter by the Queen.

- Politically it looks like empire
- Power-wise it looks like feudalism
- Usury, Taxes, Social Programs, Welfare looks like Socialism or Fascism or Globalism

But I agree with you. It is Leftist stuff.

The Founders of the USA could have wanted to establish Dynasties of their own... may not have been entirely altruistic since many were land owners (Wealthy or connected)... so were they Liberals to Declare Independence... or were they Neoliberals?

Who the hell is really Right Wing... unless you are a Nationalist who wants all people military strong without any Welfare, without EBT, without SS, Without Medicare... I don't think we really have many 'true' Right Wing... rather I think we have something of Fascism or Communism or Globalism. Ya, Military families might be 'Right Wing', but this is kind of minority of like 10 Million.

07564111's picture

Somewhat true nmewn ;)

Yes,,It also does make for good opportunities for sale of Russian equipment, but, as in the US, that's also good for Russian people with the jobs that come with those sales. It also makes for good opportunities for advancement in scientific fields both directly and indirectly connected with our MIC.

The down side, as ever, is that in the current situations, we spend too much time and treasure to guard the fence instead of using that treasure repairing our internal problems. This is making the house look less attractive to those outside.

I hope, for all of us, that will change in a future time.

nmewn's picture

Well, at least we're being honest with each other.

Thats a start ;-)

aloha_snakbar's picture

I think we need a special prostitutor and several hundred layers of lawyers to investigate Putin for Russian collusion... oh, wait....

max_leering's picture

we already have plenty of special needs prostitutors (haha), who all simultaneously arrive on the same short bus

LetThemEatRand's picture

My impression of Putin is that he loves his country and loves power/prestige.  The second part pretty much defines all politicians and oligarchs.  The first part is fairly rare among Western politicians.  The Russians like Putin because he has convinced them that he is looking out for Russia first.  

I don't really understand why so many self-proclaimed libertarians think Putin is a hero.  Likewise, I don't understand why so-called liberals think he's Satan incarnate.   I do understand why neo-cons hate him, because he doesn't want Russia to be a puppet state of the US.  

TeethVillage88s's picture

You are just an inch away.

"I don't really understand why so many self-proclaimed libertarians think Putin is a hero."

- Leadership is built into all Military Service, Training, Advancement, examples imprinted in your memory by bosses and other leaders
- Even fake Leadership succeeds (I have no dog in the fight, Putin is a leader)

LetThemEatRand's picture

"Putin is a leader"

That's why I say "self-proclaimed libertarians."  Real libertarians don't really want a leader.    

nmewn's picture

Libertarians aren't anarchists Rand. But I will say this, its a lot easier to become one when the rule of law that binds the libertarians hands is broken ;-)

LetThemEatRand's picture

That's a valid point.  The thing about Putin is that he's a strong leader.  What I understand of the libertarian philosophy is that they recognize the need for organization and political leaders, but they want a light touch when it comes to everything but enforcing the rule of law (not far from my own philosophy, except that I think the government needs to keep private monopoly/oligarch power in check, whereas libertarians think the market will itself prevent monopoly/oligarch formation).  From what I know, Putin is not a light touch.



TeethVillage88s's picture

With Yukos Oil and the taking from that guy they put in jail... yeah I can see why you could see as hard touch... and the handling of Terrorists, Gassing the Auditorium, campaign on whole city/country.

"...Putin is not a light touch."

But still as a new leader, you make examples, you change policy, you make sure people see your stamp.

But I get what you said above about Libertarians. I think we agree.

nmewn's picture

Yes Putin does not have a light touch...lol...in my view, the people & the culture is different, what is "normal" to them is extreme to us.

As far as Libertarians and rule of law, I'm not sure what you mean. In a normal market the short side isn't viewed as a negative and exerts a controlling influence (a check) on rampant long side speculation and I don't know any Libertarian that is monopolist, so I'm not sure what you mean.

This market isn't normal, its held up in total by the state and its Fed. 

TeethVillage88s's picture

Yes, I think this is a perception: That Libertarians tolerate Oligopoly & Monopoly.

"... I don't know any Libertarian that is monopolist,..."

- But I'm not really that political that I would talk it over with hard core political people

nmewn's picture


I'm not sure the perception is true generally as all ideologies and/or philosophies have individual branches so not so monolithic but my observation is they all want less government intrusion, less law.

In a "perfect market setting" interested parties and competitors do move against oligopolies & monopolies naturally, out of self defense, self interest, spite or even to be a monopoly...there are many reasons for people doing what they do.

That is the basis though, that natural competitors "for the prize" are there and will always be there but this is hardly a perfect market (or political) setting and hasn't been for some time ;-)

the French bitch's picture

You are wrong.  Without a leader there is chaos.  A good leader understands when to lead and when to stand back.  Even a tree has a leader, the top most branch where one hangs the Christmas star.  All sentient beings on this planet are organized on a leadership configuration, and the strongest individual in the group understands, whether that individual is its leader or not, that in order for the group to survive, to thrive, a form of leadership is imperative.

dltff-ya's picture

Why  the libertarians - buchanan , lew Rockwell etc. like Putin? Well the curture war in Russia under Putin  has taken a national religion of sociaism and switched to Orthodox Christianity. Putin kneeling and Praying with Kirlil --. Us is now a milliantly anti ciristian state- at least the deep state fraction for 20 years. + media + democrate + acedemia +hollywood...  The same forces that drew the left to the

USSR, a kinship of - well religion is too strong-  but maybe not. maybe curture war issues, explains the affinity for the USSR for the left in the past and the affinity for Putin by many

christians and people opposed to the US culture war victories of the left.  This even applies to people like anti-war.com people like Justin Ramando, gay but likes Buchanan and dislikes the left and

the tyranny and bullying they represent.

I feel it too. The sight of Putin praying with the patriarch makes him seem like one of us overiding nationality which  now in the US fractured as it is, is less of a force to draw loyalty.

dltff-ya's picture

Another dimension to the Putin  libertarian affinity , other than the culture war/religion Christianity issue, is the desire to strike back  at  the leech  that has commanded US foreign policy since Eisenhower, and that particular  leech hates Iran,  Syria, and Russia like  poison, so as a  gesture of  defiance  against  the bloodsucking leech, one tends to be friendly  to a force that is the arch foe  of said leech which has the potential to drag us  into endless war to serve it's strategic interests. And to hear that one sided endless harange/propaganda about Iran  and  Russia  and  Assad make be all the more  angry  at the lapdog US media which  has not a  bone  of objectivity left. 

mary mary's picture

I think many Libertarians are also Nationalists.  All Empires are evil, and anyone who stands up against The Empire is a hero, whether he's a common American campaigning against a new City ordinance banning political signs, or the President of Russia.

nmewn's picture

Thats pretty much the same for me on Putin.

I think I understand him, he's a nationalist first which is fine, at least he believes in and loves something. Born into circumstances he had no control over and took advantage of what was offered by those circumstances. I don't have to like him working for the KGB, FSB & interfacing with the Stasi, that was part of it but I understand it.

And yes, he has one helluva an ego but it ain't braggin if you can back it up, that engenders respect, not necessarily admiration just respect.

Endgame Napoleon's picture

Bush II is a neo-con. He made a statement indicating that liked Putin, saying he "saw his soul" or some such. He must be kind of charismatic.

Tyler's article explained the background well, showing how Putin might have thought that some order needed to be restored in the chaos after the old Soviet Union fell.

He had been over there in East Germany, and the Germans are known for an orderliness. Putin seems to have been influenced by that, but also made doubly cognizant of the importance of borders and a sense of nationalism after the Berlin Wall fell.

When the wall fell, Putin and his family had to confront the reality that their homeland was really Russia, not East Germany, even though their economic situation was **relatively** good while in Germany.

All of these globalists think borders are symbolic and artificial, but when the chips are down, it might be a different thing. When you are in a country where you are not a citizen during an upheaval, you find out that, ultimately, no matter how successful you are there, your home is your own country.

jaxville's picture

  Putin is a practicing Christian.  That is the main reason the Western media hates him.

TeethVillage88s's picture

Telephone Key Needed...

Really gets the juices flowing... like Mozart, but he is a little heavy for this work. That is why I like Beethoven.

- Ah, to relive the cold war and be somehow important like a spy, language specialist, intelligence analyst
- But that time seems to have passed
- much better to be a Librarian or Researcher

mary mary's picture

I saw Charlie Rose interviewing Oliver Stone about all this.  Charlie Rose wore his best "Purple Hillary Empire" tie and called Oliver Stone a liar to his face.  Charlie Rose is a DeepState Jew Spokesmodel who will attack anyone Satan tells him to attack.

TeethVillage88s's picture

Yes, Charlie Rose is king of soft-ball talking head murmuring

- If they are important, and favored by deep state, he loves what they say, total soft-ball

mary mary's picture

Yes, Charlie Rose murmurs, mumbles, and interrupts incessantly.  Not a role model for me at all.

Stud Duck's picture

I used to like his style, but now have notice the same thing and despise the queer old bastard and his aloof demeanor now while he is running that CBS anchor deal. Those smooth lips just spook me out!

Arrest Hillary's picture

Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, Charlie Rose, John Kerry .... Puke City .... accross the street from Spatula City ?

Endgame Napoleon's picture

Hmmm, that was interesting. The Russians have their own perspective, based on their experience of events. I can't imagine being determined enough to march into a government policing agency as a kid, telling them I wanted to work there. The West sees the KGB as an oppressive force that limited individual liberties in its day, but he seems to see it more like the FBI or something.

Their literature is great, definitely right up there at the pinnacle of word smithing, along with their ballet and ice skating. You remember all the characters in Tolstoy decades after reading it. Their society is far more dictatorial than ours, but then, the same is true of many other countries that the US has good relations with. I do not see why they apply double standards to them.

TeethVillage88s's picture

Thanks for interesting posts today.

"Their society is far more dictatorial than ours, but then, the same is true of many other countries that the US has good relations with."

- good capture here
- Empires, Kingdoms, grants by the Popes/Rome for Royalty claims,... power seems to look the same in the end... we are not 'more modern' peoples, NOR are we 'more civilized or more progressive'... we still live in the set of human behavior, corruption, greed, fraud, power seeking, status seeking, wealth seeking
- Titles, status, lands, power, wealth, crowns, position, networks, access to networks or power like reporters on fox, cnn, cnbc, msnbc

Maybe we are returning to feudalism.

Maybe we will embrace tyrants/dictators/kings/emperors to bring discipline or solves national divides... I'm sure that is the goal of Communists/fascists/globalists/corporatists