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Intelligence at War: The Changing Role of Russian Security Services

This roundtable discussion will examine the functioning of Russian security services in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and their involvement in shaping and executing the Kremlin’s foreign policy.

This event is online only. Register for the Zoom webinar. Watch on YouTube.

Join us for a meeting of the New York-Russia Public Policy Series, co-hosted by the Harriman Institute at Columbia University and the New York University Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia.

This roundtable discussion will examine the functioning of Russian security services in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and their involvement in shaping and executing the Kremlin’s foreign policy. How have the Russian security agencies changed since the invasion of Ukraine? Have they ratcheted up their activities abroad, including attacks on Russian exiles and opposition figures? How does political pressure affect the work of the GRU, FSB, and other agencies? What does the recent failure of the security apparatus to prevent a major terrorist attack in Moscow tell us about the effectiveness of these agencies and their operation after the invasion of Ukraine? Our panel will discuss these questions and the wider role of security agencies in the evolution of Putin’s regime.

This event is supported by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.


Andrei Soldatov, investigative journalist and co-founder of

Domitilla Sagramoso, Senior Lecturer in Security and Development at King’s College London

Kevin Riehle, Lecturer in Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University London

Moderated by:

Joshua Tucker, Director of the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia at New York University

Alexander Cooley, Claire Tow Professor of Political Science & Vice Provost for Research, Libraries and Academic Centers, Barnard College


Andrei Soldatov is a Russian investigative journalist, co-founder, and editor of, a watchdog of the Russian secret services’ activities. He is also a non-resident senior fellow with the Center for European Policy Analysis and a visiting fellow at King’s College London. Andrei has been covering security services and terrorism issues since 1999 and has published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and other major publications. In 2012, he became the head of the project “Russia’s Surveillance State,” launched jointly by Agentura.Ru, Privacy International, and Citizen Lab to study surveillance practices in Russia. Together with Irina Borogan, he wrote several books on Russian security services and the Russian state, including The New Nobility. The Restoration of Russia’s Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB (2010), The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries (2015), and The Compatriots: The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia’s Exiles, Émigrés, and Agents Abroad (2019).

Domitilla Sagramoso is a Senior Lecturer in Security and Development at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. Previously, she was the Principal Researcher at the Caucasus Policy Institute (KCL), which she helped to establish, and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies at KCL. She is a scholar of Russian foreign and security policy, with a particular focus on the post-Soviet space, and an expert on Islamist jihadism in the Russian North Caucasus. Dr. Sagramoso has published extensively on related topics in various academic journals, including Europe-Asia StudiesInternational AffairsPerspectives on Terrorism, and New Perspectives. Her recent book, Russian Imperialism Revisited: From Disengagement to Hegemony (Routledge, 2020), examines Russia’s policies since 1991 toward the states that emerged from the USSR. She is currently working on a book on the complex Russian-Ukrainian relationship since 1991, with a focus on the outbreak of war in 2014. She earned her PhD from the University College London.

Kevin Riehle is a Lecturer in Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University London. Dr. Riehle retired in 2021 from a 30+ year career in the U.S. national security community, with tours in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Counterintelligence Center, U.S. European Command Joint Analysis Center, DoD Counterintelligence Field Activity, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. During his career, he focused on analyzing foreign intelligence services and supporting counterintelligence activities to neutralize the threats they pose. Before moving to Brunel University, Dr. Riehle was an associate professor of strategic intelligence at the National Intelligence University and the department head for the Collection, Analysis, and Counterintelligence Department, as well as an associate professor at the University of Mississippi’s Center for Intelligence and Security Studies. He is a scholar of Soviet and Russian intelligence, having published in many academic journals, including Cold War History, Journal of Strategic Security, Intelligence and National Security, and others. He is the author of several books, including Soviet Defectors: Revelations of Renegade Intelligence Officers, 1924-1954 (2020), Russian Intelligence: A Case-based Study of Russian Services and Missions Past and Present (2022), and The Russian FSB: A Concise History of the Federal Security Service (2024). He earned his PhD in War Studies from King’s College London.

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