Russia’s spy operations have a major weakness: Hubris

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War In Ukraine


In a new report on Russia’s unconventional operations during the invasion of Ukraine released Wednesday by Britain’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the authors found that at “a fundamental level the Russian special services lack self-awareness, or at least the honesty to report accurately about their own efforts." "[T]here appears to be a systemic problem of overreporting one’s successes and concealing weaknesses to superiors,” analysts Jack Watling, Oleksandr V. Danylyuk and Nick Reynolds note, describing how Russian spies had told their superiors that an agent network they had set up in Ukraine would proactively support Moscow if Russia invaded.

Jack Watling, Oleksandr V Danylyuk and Nick Reynolds , 'Preliminary Lessons from Russia’s Unconventional Operations During the Russo-Ukrainian War, February 2022–February 2023', Special Resources, 29 March 2023