Auction: Lipstick gun, poison-tipped umbrella, hotel room "bug," and other KGB spy gear

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Ooooo - lipstick gun would be a neat curio.

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I read somewhere that modern-day spies rarely have the cool James Bond-esque gizmos anymore because it’s a lot harder to plausibly deny you’re a spy if the authorities catch you with a wrist-mounted dart gun or whatever.


It’s alright, I guess, but I was picturing a variation of Homer’s “makeup gun” invention, for the spy who needs to alter her appearance extremely quickly.



I’d be a great spy gadget maker. It’s obvious that people will search lipstick and umbrellas, which is why I’d build a single shot gun into hemorrhoid cream. And athlete’s foot spray doubles as invisible ink revealer. And a neti pot is really a camera.


I’m guessing that also they are just really not very necessary these days. Every day all of us carry around a device that James Bond would have killed (even more people) for and don’t think anything of it.

I mean, honestly, based on what I saw at the spy museum in DC, most spy devices involve hiding stuff in your butt.


I mean, I saw on TV they are selling airbrushes for people to start coating their whole body with make up if needed… its more or less shooting makeup on your face.

Plus it’s really, really unnecessary for the KGB folks when spying in a country where most people have a high-resolution globally-connected camera with them at all times and you can openly carry all manner of guns including assault rifles without raising any suspicion.*

*(if you’re a white male, which the KGB apparently has plenty of. I was going to bring up Maria Butina and her infiltration of the NRA too but I guess since she got caught I technically can’t claim that she didn’t raise suspicions.)


NOLF was such a good game. The writing was on point, especially for the time.

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Too bad the museum went out of business and all these objects are going to end up on the desks of Wall Street Quant Bros.


Masha Gesson was quite critical of the museum

It also features items that remind the visitor how the Soviet secret police functioned as an organ of repression, including four different prison doors and a restraining chair, ostensibly used in a Soviet psychiatric hospital where dissidents were interned. The caption, and the museum’s own guides, identify the exhibit as a “tramp chair.”

Our guide, a young man named Daniil, who moved to New York from the southern Russian city of Krasnodar, six months ago, invited visitors to get themselves strapped into the chair and pose for a photo. This, in short, is the problem with the K.G.B. Museum, whose flyer promises visitors a “journey back to socialism”: it is blithely morally neutral. As any contemporary museum must, it offers visitors opportunities to interact and Instagram. You can look through a tiny window in a prison door and see video footage of inmates—one hopes that they are reënactors, but Daniil declined to confirm this—frantically moving inside a cell.

Imagine if the tyrant in question were not Joseph Stalin but Adolf Hitler. Imagine seeing a giant likeness of his head on a Manhattan sidewalk. Imagine a museum that offered people the option of dialling in to hear a speech by Hitler or Himmler, or invited them to be photographed in an S.S. uniform. It’s hard to imagine the Times giving such a museum an amused review, complete with a picture of the co-curators wearing Nazi uniforms.


When your gun is roughly the size and mass of a bullet, watch out for the kickback. In Soviet Russia your gun shoots you.

This is why private museums make me uncomfortable, especially when it comes to topics that need a bit of sensitivity and an ethical approach to present them to the public (I’m fine with someone’s roadside tea cosy museum).


[quote=“Otherbrother, post:9, topic:184255”]
Plus it’s really, really unnecessary for the KGB folks when spying in a country where most people have a high-resolution globally-connected camera with them at all times [/quote]

Not only that, but an absolute shit-ton of high resolution CCTV cameras everywhere, so flying into the U.K. from Moscow, traveling to the city of Salisbury claiming to want to visit the cathedral, then claiming the snow was too bad to walk to a place that’s right in the centre of the city, and instead walked two miles to the housing estate where a former spy lived, when cameras filmed them walking streets completely free of snow shows how incompetent they actually were.
Let’s face it, Russians complaining about snow being a hindrance in a country that famously grinds to a halt with a centimetre of snow on the ground is just laughable.

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