To understand the Russian affair with Donald Trump it is important to understand how kompromat works. Kompromat is two Russian words, compromising materials, put together. It is the art of blackmail, using information to force someone to comply to a demand. Kompromat is not uniquely Russian when it comes to politics. In U.S. politics, opposition research is routinely used to derail a political opponent’s campaign. However, the Russians play the blackmail game over the long-term. They gather compromising information, like opposition researchers, but also create situations where compromising situations are encouraged or outright manufactured. Unlike U.S. political operatives, the Russians will go so far as to commit criminal acts or expend vast resources to further their kompromat projects.
For example, the Wikileaks of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) servers, that exposed the Hillary Clinton emails were likely enabled, or encouraged by the Russians, either directly or indirectly. But the art of kompromat did not stop at the hacking of the servers. The Russians used news media outlets, friendly and unfriendly ones, to selectively expose the incriminating information to the public. The Russians have also been known to doctor the documents to make them more useful to their kompromat projects. What many political pundits seem to miss is that it is not about the illegality or immorality of the Clinton emails but rather about exposing information to interfere with her ability to mount her campaign. Follow this line of thought and keep in mind that if Hillary Clinton had prevailed in the election, the Russian kompromat would still have been effective because it discredited Clinton before the electorate. Even if she had won, the discredit upon her would have interfered with her ability to govern. To understand kompromat, it is important to understand that the Russians have no limits when employing kompromat on their targets.
The Russians will use sex to put their targets into compromising videos. They have done this for decades. Even if the target is unwilling to be caught up in a compromising video, leaked grainy videos purporting to feature the target are used. Whether the grainy video is of the target, or not, is immaterial because the video is nonetheless effective for the Russians.
The Russians also have no problem putting vast resources against one target to reach their goal. In the 1960’s, over a period of years, the Soviets used over 100 individuals to lay the trap for Maurice Dejean, a Frenchman expected to assume a prominent role in French politics. Dejean was targeted because of his strong friendship with Charles De Gaulle. The project to compromise Dejean started in 1956. Swallows, as Soviet honey pot women were referred to, were positioned to entice Dejean, the French ambassador in Russia and a military attaché. The Soviets even attempted to compromise Dejean’s wife during the operation.
Eventually, Dejean was caught by the husband of his swallow and beaten enough to scare him. Dejean reached out to a Soviet friend, another player in the scheme, to fix the problem before his superiors became aware of the incident. The Soviet fixer agreed to fix the problem and Dejean understood that he would later be required to pay back the favor to the Russian.
Dejean was put into reserve to be activated by the Russians when it was prudent. However, before Dejean could be activated, in 1963, Yuri Krotkov, a player in the kompromat of Dejean defected to England. Krotkov was haunted by the suicide of the assistant French air attaché who was also compromised during the operation. Col. Louis Guibard had proved difficult to compromise but finally succumbed to one of many swallows that had been put in his path. When confronted, Guibard chose to commit suicide rather than become a Soviet mole or be exposed to his superiors. The Soviets covered up the suicide as the result of severe depression.
When Yuri Krotkov defected, he brought with him the story of Guibard and Dejean, effectively ending the opportunity for the Soviet’s to use Dejean in the future.
Kompromat is about damaging the reputation of the target.
In 2010, stories of a Russian model named “Katya,” or “Mumu” began to be blamed for releasing embarrassing videos of prominent Russian activists that were critical of the Russian government. Ekaterina Gerasimova was accused of being a honey trap working for Vladimir Putin. Her modus operandi, according to various news outlets, was to convince her targets into coming over to her apartment, which was wired for videotaping. She used cocaine, marihuana and sex to create incriminating videos. Then the videos were posted to YouTube.
Among those that Katya trapped was Viktor Shenderovich, who was married and had a daughter at the time he fell for her trap. When the video emerged, Shenderovich admitted it was him, blaming the whole escapade on Vladimir Putin for setting him up. Shenderovich said it was a government sponsored setup. Shenderovich was one of six people who came forth about the Katya trap. Mikhail Fishman, the editor of the Russian version of Newsweek was also caught up in a Katya videos. The Russian Newsweek ran stories critical of Putin. Putin and the Russian government denied their involvement in the traps. Although embarrassed by the videos, neither Shenderovich nor Fishman have backed down from criticizing Putin.
Homey pots are nothing new as the Russians were very adept about using them during the Cold War. But as morals in Russia and to a lesser extent, in the western world, have declined, kompromat has evolved into drugs and other damaging information. Donald Trump is embroiled in a Russian scandal but it is not about a honey trap or because of compromising videos, so far, but rather just another aspect of kompromat.
The Trump Kompromat
There is much discussion about whether Donald Trump wittingly colluded with the Russians to win the presidential election. It is too early to know and it is likely that the facts may never come out. But the discussion about Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia misses the point of kompromat.
Kompromat is, by its evolved design, the process of creating an outcome through subterfuge. To understand the Trump-Russia conflagration a question needs to be asked. Would Russia benefit from discrediting governments across the world? Consider this, would a discredited United States government be able to hold Vladimir Putin to account for invading another former Soviet satellite, i.e. the Ukraine? How about a discredited British government holding Russia accountable for human rights violations? Or any other discredited western democracy demanding that Putin hold democratic elections in Russia?
There is not enough information to know if Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to have him elected. However, understanding what kompromat is and how it works allows us to understand why it is the underlining and most important issue in the Trump-Russia affair, and why it is already effective.
Russian kompromat is about manipulating people to do Putin’s bidding. This can be through honey traps, through compromised materials or just by using useful idiots to play their part to fulfill the Russian goal. Let’s look at the recent events surrounding Donald Trump and Russia to see how they fit the kompromat mold.
Trump supporters rightfully argue that there is no proof that Donald Trump was compromised by the Russians. There is much innuendo but no proof. Those against Donald Trump see many details that demonstrate a pattern of collusion. These two viewpoints miss the point of kompromat entirely. It doesn’t matter if Donald Trump is wittingly working with the Russians, or not, but rather that Trump is enable to govern effectively.
The Trump-Russia affair has discredited the presidency of Donald Trump.
That, there is the most important thing to note about the ongoing Trump-Russian debacle. Donald Trump is wrapped around the mantle of an illegitimate presidency. Whether he deserves the mantle or not is immaterial because the ongoing investigations into Trump and Russia have distracted the U.S. political machine.
Look closely at the most recent events. The firing of James Coney played into the discrediting of U.S. law enforcement agencies. Michael Flynn’s ongoing saga supports the notion that the Russians tried to infiltrate the White House. The Russian pictures of its ambassador at the White House, released only by the Russians, furthers the illusion that Trump is subordinate to Putin. The Russian White House pictures along with Putin’s offer to share Kremlin’s transcript of the White House meetings not only creates the illusion that the White House is bugged by the Russians, but also that the Russians are omnipotent by having better information then the U.S.
Even Donald Trump’s calls for prosecuting White House leakers undermines the White House because it lowers the staffs’ moral and creates animosity among them. All of it, Flynn, the investigations, the drama and the myriad of Trump-Russia intrigue undermines the respect and the authority of the United States presidency.
The kompromat has been so successful that not only has Donald Trump been sidelined in Russian foreign affairs, but his domestic issues, like the wall, has been hampered by the scandals. Republicans have begun to distance themselves from Trump and a such Trump has lost control of his agenda.
That is kompromat to perfection.
The worst part is the U.S. voters, on both sides of the Trump scandal, are so caught up in the saga that they haven’t understood, nor realized that it doesn’t matter whether Donald Trump colluded with the Russians or not because the damage has been done.
Donald Trump has been delegitimized as the president of the United States and as such, his power has been neutered and the Russians have fulfilled their goal to sideline the U.S government.