My Life as of April 19, 2016. 12:27 EST

Back in the USSR

Proving old comrades never die, I walk into a Georgetown bar and see someone across the lunchtime crowd. The both of us look at each other and say, “Hey, I know you.” He’s Oleg Kalugin, ex-spy (and general) of the Soviet KGB. (I met him in Moscow a few times. He once popped into the ITN bureau near Taganskya Metro Station for lunch.) Twenty-five years later we talk about writing, America, Putin and Russia today. I mention working the wars in Sukhumi, Abkhazia, and Grozny back in the ’90s, and me getting arrested and interrogated by the KGB in Ingushetia in 1995 — saying it seemed Putin’s fingerprints were all over the destabilization of ex-Soviet republics from those days until now, because he wants the USSR back — and as part of that destabilization plot, Putin now has his greedy, beady little eyes on the Baltic States. Kalugin smiles and says, “Putin was my subordinate, so I know him well. And you are absolutely right.”

One of my fave cartoon series from Mad Magazine

Jon Steele is an American writer living in Europe and the USA

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