24 October 2012

RUSSIA / UK : Journalist Luke Harding On 4 Years In Moscow...Then Suddenly Expelled.


     The UK Guardian's Luke Harding was Moscow Bureau chief from 2007-2011...when he was suddenly expelled.
     In this New Eastern Europe interview...he tells about his and his family's experiences there....some of them very chilling.

     "...the FSB bugged us, surveilled us, they read my emails, and listened to our phone calls, which is all pretty standard for any American or British correspondent.
     Where they went slightly further with me were the repeated house break-ins and moving stuff around in our apartment. I have subsequently met a few ex-KGB guys who talked me through the process, explaining exactly what they do. The idea is to violate your personal space to make you feel unhappy, under pressure and to induce feelings of paranoia. It’s an extremely successful tactic, especially with women or people who live on their own, for example.
       What I resented and still resent most of all, however, was the implied threat that something might happen to my children. We knew from the British embassy that the FSB actually wouldn’t do anything to kids and that it was all just a scare tactic, but there was an incident in which I returned home with my very small son to our flat on the tenth floor of this tower block in Voykovskaya in north-west Moscow, and discovered a window, which was always locked because it was a very low window right next to my son’s bed, wide open.    It was a strange detail. Clearly someone had been in the flat and opened the window. My son and I peered down at the 30-meter drop. If you fell out of the window you would die.    The message was clear: “Watch out or something might happen to your kids.”