Vladimir Putin's old Stasi ID card discovered

Also, can someone make an entire set of these, trading-card style? Like a Cohen one, a Flynn one, etc? k-thx-bye


What? No. Much was destroyed or scattered by the outgoing Stasi, but what is left, or could be recovered, forensically and otherwise, is kept by the BSTU and curated for researchers and courts.

Both of which have by the way, even 30 years after the end of the GDR, which was without doubt an authoritarian system without any significant democratic choice for its population, failed to produce compelling evidence that Stasi was in fact

A bunch of Saudi Princes getting together on a rainy weekend can kill more people than Stasi did in a decade.

Citation badly needed, what would Scandinavian countries want with German documents, or why would they want to destroy them?

18 persons who are suspected to have been in contact

Emphasis mine. Yeah, that’s exactly how that works. You can take that piece of fake news and shove it up your austerity.


I’m actually surprised – not because I’m a Putin defender, but the guy was an agent of the actual KGB. Why would he need an ID card from the secret police of the puppet state he was stationed in? The KGB openly ran their own offices in the GDR – there was no need to pretend to be local (not that Putin, even though he had a reasonable grasp of the German language, really could convincingly blend in anyway).

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I am always amused by the idea of a secret service/secret police operative, whose job requires a false identity, being issued a photo ID. Especially in another country, even if in GDR. If this document is genuine, he must have been strictly administrative, desk-jockey. I presume later any stray photo ID was confiscated as his career progressed… kind of “funny” that this is available to us now.

The Tiitinen list remains a curiosity, but generally speaking Seppo seems to be peddling right-wing misinformation here.

The stereotype of Germans, and especially East Germans, being obsessed with bureaucracy is not entirely baseless. Ordnung muss sein!


It was apparently quite common for the two secret services to issue IDs to each other’s operatives.

I would imagine it makes it a lot easier for access (no need to check which bits of the agency this guy’s allowed to enter on this weird foreign ID card, he’s got one of ours), plus, despite the external image, the Soviet Union did play lip service to the idea of the various constituent countries having their own rules and institutions (all of course consistent with true Soviet communism) so you might want to be able to have the KGB guy along on something but not have to admit he’s KGB.

So much easier if you and your Stasi colleagues have one more Stasi colleague with you.

I think you fundamentally misunderstand what most secret police/secret service operatives do all day.

That’s what happens when your meticulously kept archives fall into the hands of people who were never supposed to get access and who spend the next 30 years patiently sifting through every document.

Nach der Erstürmung der Bezirksverwaltung der Stasi in Dresden im Dezember 1989 hatten die MfS-Leute noch Zeit, in ihren Büros „aufzuräumen“. So wanderten die Ausweise in kleine Säckchen. Anfang 1990 kam das endgültige Aus für den DDR-Geheimdienst. Akten und Ausweise lagerten zunächst bis 1993 noch in den Zellen der Untersuchungshaftanstalt in der ehemaligen Bezirksverwaltung.

Beim Umzug des Aktenarchivs auf die Riesaer Straße in Dresden sichteten die Behördenmitarbeiter die kleineren Säcke kurz. Da es sich bei dem Material der Abteilung „Kader und Schulung“, der bürokratischen Mitarbeiterverwaltung des MfS, aber weder um Opfer- noch um Täterakten handelte, hatte das Material bei der Erschließung durch die Archiv-Experten zunächst keine Priorität. Bei 8,5 Kilometer Aktenmaterial und 1100 großen Säcken mit zerrissenem Aktenmaterial mussten Schwerpunkte gesetzt werden.

Heute sind 95 Prozent des Aktenbestandes erschlossen und die Archivare können sich auch dem zunächst zurückgestellten Material widmen. Dabei kamen die Ausweise zum Vorschein.


TL-DR and for those who don’t read German:

The IDs were ‘tidied’ into little sacks by the Stasi when the wall came down. The archivists who came to look through the staggeringly ginormous trove of Stasi documents gave the collection of IDs a brief once over in 1993, decided that since the IDs were from the training section of the Stasi they wouldn’t provide much, if any, evidence of what the Stasi was up to/help to clear up alleged crimes, etc. and as there was a lot of other material (8.5km of files and 1100 large sacks full of shredded documents) to go through, the bags of IDs could go on the back burner.

They’ve now worked their way through most of the other materials and have now been able to turn to these bags of IDs which have been patiently sitting in storage since 1990.


From the article you posted:

One major argument in keeping the list classified has been that it only specifies individuals who have allegedly been in contact with Stasi, but not the nature of the contact. Therefore being on the list would not constitute proof of or even indicate breaking any Finnish laws. Consequently it was chosen not to shame potentially innocent persons in the media.

So, no, it’s not good evidence for what you imply. Although the article mentions (without citation) that those on the list " are popularly described as having been suspected of spying for the Eastern Bloc" it doesn’t specify that they’re affiliated with Finland’s leftist or social-democratic parties.


I’m sure that KSA’s secret police are as brutal and nasty as the Stasi, but the East Germans really set the standard (in some cases literally – a lot of the visitors to the HQ were coming there to learn) in creating a police state during the 20th century. Only the Gestapo exceeded them in terms of brutal efficiency and creating a sense of pervasive paranoia and mutual mistrust amongst the citizenry.

The movie “The Lives of Others” gives a very accurate picture (according to those who lived under the regime) of the atmosphere of everyday fear and dread that the Stasi created in the country.


Speaking of the Stasi, are you familiar with Zersetzung?

Zersetzung (German; variously translated as decomposition, corrosion, undermining, biodegradation or dissolution) is a psychological warfare technique that was first used by Nazi Germany as part of the accusation Wehrkraftzersetzung against political opponents … Decades later, during the Honecker era, the Stasi, the East German secret police used … Zersetzung to silence political opponents by repression.

The “measures of Zersetzung”, defined in the framework of a directive on police procedures in 1976, were used in the context of so-called “operational procedures” (in German Operative Vorgänge or OV). They replaced the overt terror of the Ulbricht era.

The practice of repression in Zersetzung comprised extensive and secret methods of control and psychological manipulation, including personal relationships of the target, for which the Stasi relied on its network of informal collaborators, (in German inoffizielle Mitarbeiter or IM), the State’s power over institutions, and on operational psychology. Using targeted psychological attacks the Stasi tried to deprive a dissident of any chance of a “hostile action”.

In other words, State-sponsored gaslighting of political enemies.


Why would anyone be skeptical that the Stasi/KGB cultivated contacts in left-leaning political groups during the Cold War? That was their job.


The skepticism is toward the rumour he’s trying to spread that “almost every member of the ruling leftist or social-democrat parties [in Scandinavia] were associated with Stasi.”


Well, I had big plans for all the things I was going to get done this morning, but instead I’ve spent the whole morning reading about who was and wasn’t spying for Stasi/KGB. The Stasi files held by PST, Sapo and Supo seem to have come from the CIA, not Germany. And as noted above, they seem only to allege contact without specifying the nature of the contact. But I guess we don’t know, because, as also noted above, these agencies still will not release the files to the public. Possibly because former heads of state like Paavo Lipponen are implicated.

Man! That face. Doesn’t it just say “Sean Connery is going to be killing him before the end of the movie”?


Sure, they were pretty much the same, only gradual differences - once you have convinced yourself that the first being instrumental in a few million cases of murder, give or take a few, and the second having in their ranks quite a few former inmates of Nazi concentration camps, is a minor point that can be readily abstracted away. But I guess that comes rather easy when you feel pressed to support the popular narrative that we are living in the best of all possible worlds now, and every step to the left or to the right of that will plunge you in the same bottomless pit of totalitarianism.

It’s a movie. Fear and dread, sure. I don’t say the Stasi were nice people, democrats, or whatever. They were authoritarian spooks in a society with plenty of totalitarian elements, no question about it.

What I don’t buy is that we allegedly have it so much better now. The difference between a one party system and a two party system is a gradual one.

What happened on the GDRs borders is often cited as their most violent human rights abuse. Of course it is deplorable to set death traps for citizens who want to leave your country, because you need their skilled labor to prevent your economy from collapsing. What are the EU member states doing these days? Conspiring to chain boats that try to keep people from drowning in the Mediterranean. They prefer to have them drown. The Iron Curtain has just moved, and is a body of water these days, or a Mexican desert. Because they are afraid their integration would over-stress their economic system. It’s the same fucking thing. Only in the case were emigration is suppressed, your citizens are the target, and they will finally rise up. In the case of suppressed immigration, it’s foreigners, and who gives a flying fuck about them in the next election.

Treatment of political dissidents? Spying? Pressure to conform with societal standards and economic demands? All gradual differences. I have seen the museum of Stasi prison cells. Every day they cart bus loads of pupils through there, to indoctrinate them with the ideology that socialism equals Satan. I saw that cell and thought, hey, that looks familiar. When I was, in the West, a few decades ago, imprisoned for taking part in a left wing demonstration, including police brutality, false statements by the police leading to a conviction, a judge who openly admitted he was biased and as far as he was concerned I could go fuck myself, an anti left wing media frenzy fueling that whole sharade, and actual fucking spooks knocking on my mother’s door to have a little talk - I had my own Stasi moment right there, in the fucking West.

Fuck the Stasi, I’m glad they’re gone. But I know for a fact that we have the same fucking things they did going on right here and now, and if you don’t know that, or are not impacted by it, you’re just lucky.

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No one is making that argument in this thread.


I’m not selling that, so I’m not sure who you’re talking to. I always thought that Fukayama’s “End of History” premise was just another instance of Whig History, and that the cyclic nature of history ensures that we will always have unfettered and brutal secret police organisations in one form or another somewhere in the world as long as the modern nation-state exists.

Regardless of ideology, these organisations tend to attract the same types of sociopathic “employees”: sadists, criminals, ambitious bureaucrats with zero scruples. Sometimes one of those individuals can amass so much power that he becomes the ruler of a country; Putin, former KGB/FSB man and former associate of the Stasi, is today’s textbook example.

I’d disagree here, but I understand how your personal experience might cause one to blur together all instances of state oppression – regardless of degree or quality or breadth of targetting or the presence of independent oversight bodies or government term limits – into one large amorphous lump where Obama is as bad as Putin (with the understanding that Obama did plenty of awful things).

It’s a movie.
Actually the movie was criticized by a number of former GDR dissidents as unrealistic -- not because of any of the bad things the Stasi was depicted as doing but because there was no evidence that even a single Stasi officer showed the remorse and restraint of the main character -- such actions would have gotten the officer punished himself of course.
What happened on the GDRs borders is often cited as their most violent human rights abuse. Of course it is deplorable to set death traps for citizens who want to leave your country, because you need their skilled labor to prevent your economy from collapsing. What are the EU member states doing these days? Conspiring to chain boats that try to keep people from drowning in the Mediterranean. They prefer to have them drown. The Iron Curtain has just moved, and is a body of water these days, or a Mexican desert.

That analogy is broken. One was an attempt by states to keep their own people from leaving, essentially slavery, and other is an attempt by states to prevent others from entering, which may be uncharitable and/or motivated by xenophobia, but entirely different from the first case.


Given that Reagan went to the Soviet Union in 88, and Putin would have been in his 30s in the 80s, I don’t think that kid is him… Unless you mean the guy in the stripped shirt behind the kid?


They say it’s supposed to be the guy with the camera.


Ah! thanks!