Zarina Zabrisky
Feb 14, 2018 · 9 min read


Learn how the KGB/FSB used sex scandal, sexpionage* and honey trap as a political tool:

  1. Putin’s rise to presidency
  2. Destruction of opposition leaders
  3. How it was done: Recruiting and Blackmail
  4. Important Conclusion

*Sexpionage is the involvement of sexual activity, or the possibility of sexual activity, intimacy, romance, or seduction to conduct espionage. Sex or possibility of sex can function as a distraction, incentive, cover story, or unintended part of any intelligence operation.


Vladimir Putin rose to power in 1999 due to the scandal with a sex videotape.

Screenshots from Aleksey Navalny’s video, published on February 8, 2018 (see the story below.) A 1999 interview with Putin, an FSB Director at the time.

Boris Yeltsin, the first President of the Russian Federation, discovered Putin and chose him as successor during the scandal with a recording of what press called “a naked man resembling the Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov in an orgy with two prostitutes, wrote Boris Nemtsov, a slain leader of the Russian opposition, in his book The Confession of a Rebel (2007).


  1. Skuratov was investigating corruption in Yeltsin’s government.
  2. The video, discovered in the President’s administration office, aired nationwide on TV.
Screenshots from a TV show: Skuratov’s video tape, 1999.

3. The scandal shook the country.

4. Yeltsin ordered Putin to get rid of “immoral” General Prosecutor.

5. Putin dealt with the dirty case “without blinking an eye,” wrote Nemtsov.

6. Yeltsin nominated Putin, a provincial bureaucrat, a presidential candidate.

Left: Putin and Sergei Stepashin at a press-conference on April 2, 1999. (see below.) Center: Yeltsin and Putin. Right: Wow!

Kompromat scandal brought Putin his presidential nomination, believes Sergey Parkhomenko, a well-known journalist, publisher and political commentator, who described the press-conference in ITOGI magazine, 2000:

Vladimir Putin and Sergei Stepashin, co-chairmen of the Security Council’s Interdepartmental Commission (set up for the purpose of verifying “the reliability of information on misconduct damaging the honor and dignity” of the General Prosecutor), looked very different. Stepashin was red as a lobster, gloomy and silent, his eyes set on the desk, and his whole appearance showed how despondent and disgusted he was… Putin felt completely at home: he spoke a lot, easily and confidently, and with the calm determination to complete the operation to the full demise of the enemy, with confidence and even some jolly bravado.”

Kompromat changed Putin’s life and the fate of Russia. Unknown in the West, this episode is saved in the collective memory of Russian people and, most likely, plays an important role in domestic and foreign policies of its current leader.


September, 2017. Navalny’s Headquarters. Internet Archives.

On February 8, 2018, Alexey Navalny, the opposition leader, reported a visit of provocatively dressed young women to his office in September 2017. Navalny’s crew investigated the incident and found out that in 2016 Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch and Putin’s ally, hired one of these women as an escort to entertain the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia aboard his yacht. Navalny claimed that Deripaska’s close and secret ties with Kremlin explain why in summer 2016, Paul Manafort, Deripaska’s former business partner, offered him briefings of Trump’s campaign: Deripaska served as a messenger.

On February 9, 2018, Deripaska threatened to sue media outlets for reporting accusations. On the same day, a Russian court required several media outlets to remove the photos and videos from the public domain. In two days, Russia threatened to shut down Youtube and Instagram to block the video and Navalny’s aide released an email from YouTube, which appears to encourage Navalny to delete the video. If he opts not to remove it, “Google may be forced to block the content.”


In 2016, Kasyanov leak showed the unlimited capabilities of the FSB (Federal Security Bureau.)

Left: Kasyanov and Putin, 1999. Right: Kasyanov, 2016.


  1. Mikhail Kasyanov, “a former Putin crony, was flagged as a possible competitor to Putin in next year’s presidential election.”

2. In the spring of 2016, a video was broadcast on a state-controlled, pro-Putin television channel NTV showing Kasyanov and a female opposition activist having sex and speaking contemptuously about other opposition figures.

Left: A screenshot from the video. Right: PERFECTION!

Here is saying hello to whataboutists: Yes, it’s been done. No, this is not specific to Russia or the KGB/FSB. I am, however, talking about Russia HERE. Have a good day and see you in the next article :D

Left: A book cover of Peggy Caravantes’ “Petticoat Spies.” Center: A memoir of Marita Lorenz, a spy woman who never killed Fidel Castro. Right: Margaretha Geertruida “Margreet” MacLeod better known by the stage name Mata Hari, was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I and executed by firing squad in France.
Left: WWI poster, 1915. Center: Octopussy, James Bond saga. Right: Samson and Delilah. Look it up.



I had personal experience with the KGB recruiting local agents and Intourist surveillance. When I was a freshman at Leningrad State University two KGB officers tried to recruit me as a hard currency prostitute-spy. I met one of them at the bus stop next to the linguistic department as I was waiting for a bus on a cold day.

Left: Philological Department, LGU. A bus stop. Right: Black Volga.

Gypsy-cabs were a part of life. I was late for work so I took a ride. A man in a sports suit chatted with me, asking if I spoke English fluently, offering Marlboro cigarettes. He did not charge money but invited me out.

Sin Gwamanda performs my short story “Honey-Hued Eyes” at Hong Kong Liars League, in support of the Gay and Straight Alliance in Hong Kong, 2013. The story was inspired by this encounter but is obviously fiction. The protagonist is NOT me. I did not move to Finland, etc. I do not write memoirs (no one would believe me, anyway.) My novel, “We, Monsters,” was also partially inspired by this episode.

For the “date,” he brought a friend in a long black leather jacket — an expensive and rare item at the time, also a signature coat of the ‘ch-k-ist’, (a KGB agent) — and told me that they worked for the KGB. His friend introduced himself as an officer higher in rank. I noticed that the car had government numbers (mostly zeroes).

They offered me a job: talking to clients, ask simple questions about weather and traveling plans and going to events as needed — museums, theater, ballet. The conversations would be recorded in bugged hotel rooms. They promised $3,000 a month (the average monthly salary was 70 rubles at the time), a rented apartment and a marriage to a Finn or s Swede in three to five years — basically, a ticket out of the USSR. I jumped out of their car and never saw the men again. Later, I found out that it was a common practice in both Leningrad and Moscow.

Left: A shot from a film “Interdevochka” about Russian hard currency prostitutes in Leningrad. 1989. Right: The Secret KGB Sex Files. 2001 TV Movie.


Later, my three classmates and I went to Moscow for a winter break. We met a young, beautiful woman in an expensive white fur coat. She invited us to come visit with her. We went with her in a limousine to what turned out to be National Hotel, next to the Red Square. At this time the Russians were not allowed to come inside the Intourist hotels but the security guards knew her and allowed us to come in.

Left: Presidential suite in National Hotel, Moscow. “The Trumps stayed in Lenin’s suite at the National Hotel, at the bottom of Tverskaya Street, near Red Square. Seventy years earlier, in October 1917, Lenin and his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, had spent a week in room 107. The hotel was linked to the glass-and-concrete Intourist complex next door and was — in effect — under KGB control. The Lenin suite would have been bugged.” (POLITICO) Right: Newsweek. In 1987, a year later, Trump stayed in the same National Hotel in Moscow. In his memoirs, he said that he stayed in “Lenin’s room.” Trump was invited for his first visit by Intourist. )

We went to the most luxurious suite: the marble bathroom was the size of our living rooms. There, a bodyguard in waiting, she kept drinking expensive cognac and telling us stories about her boyfriend, the president of Mitsubishi company. In a couple of hours, an older Japanese businessman arrived, hit the girl and ordered us out. We were escorted out into the lobby where our bags were searched and we were kicked out into the street. We thought the young woman was an expensive hard currency prostitute serving the businessman during his trip. Since it was after my account with the KGB recruiter, we knew she was also spying on him.

My short story “Transfigured Night,” inspired by this encounter, read by me and danced by Cybele Zufolo Siegel at the launch of my short story collection book “Explosion.” Again, the story is fiction. I am a novelist and short story author.


In 1991, I got my first job as a personal assistant/secretary to the General Manager. It was the first five-star hotel in the USSR, a Swedish-Russian joint venture.

Grand Hotel Europe. St. Petersburg.

The KGB monitored the entrance, lobby, and restaurants. Sex workers assigned to the hotel were allowed to enter as opposed to other Russian citizens, especially women, who were denied the entrance.

Left: Comics. Right: Gilbert Bedcaud. Nathalie.

My knowledge is confirmed by the University of Pennsylvania Workshop report:

“Intourist “served as a cover for intelligence operations.” “…disciplinary functions were filled by doormen in Intourist hotels (widely rumored to be former KGB officers), charged with not letting “a-social elements” enter hotels, and the renowned dezhurnye, hall monitors who made sure that no inappropriate activity would take place inside hotel rooms. Furthermore, it was a common assumption held by both many Soviet people and travelers that all, or the vast majority, of Intourist employees were reporting on guests and their Soviet contacts in exchange for their continued employment.”

“Hotel rooms themselves were a prime site of surveillance. In Tallinn’s hotel Viru, for instance, over sixty rooms were bugged, according to its post-Soviet management. According to KGB defector Victor Sheymov, the same was true in restaurants receiving foreigners, where the latter were shunted to tables containing hidden microphones. Another major component of the KGB’s surveillance network were agents and trustees who were, as mentioned above, tasked with surrounding foreigners as tightly as possible.”

Left: Sean Connery and Daniela Bianchi starring in ‘From Russia With Love’ (1963) Right: KGB Swallows: Russian Intelligence and the Honey Trap.


What conclusion? I think now is the time to exercise critical thinking, study history and make your own conclusions. Then act accordingly. If we fail to do this we will be…

*All facts and photos are in public domain and available through Google. Links to the original sources are included.

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