Some will speak of a simple paradox, others of a total contradiction. To harm Benjamin Griveaux, Russian artist and activist Piotr Pavlenski, who became famous in the 2010s for his performances against the regime of Vladimir Putin, did not hesitate to use the methods popularized by the USSR during the Cold War .
"Kompromat". Here is the name of this technique which consists in mounting compromising files against a political or economic adversary. During the Cold War, the KGB services produced mountains of sulfurous documents on an almost industrial scale.
Real or false files? Whatever. It is a question of blackmailing one's enemy and / or of precipitating their fall by directly broadcasting elements. Most often, these are sexual files. By posting on a blog the videos of a man's masturbations - which one cannot identify as being Benjamin Griveaux -, Piotr Pavlenski opted for the same strategy as the supporters of a system which he claims to fight.
These dangerous "honey traps"
“This story totally reminds me of the methods of the KGB, which moreover continued after the Cold War, is astonished with the Parisian former journalist and specialist in Russia, Galia Ackerman. “At the time, we recruited young girls with advantageous physique to go and trap foreign leaders. This may still be what happened with Benjamin Griveaux, ”says the one who translated a work by Piotr Pavlenski.
Among the first victims of these "honey traps", we also count a Frenchman. In 1964, Ambassador to Russia Maurice Dejean was filmed in a compromising situation with a young Russian actress by KGB agents. He will rush back to Paris on the orders of President De Gaulle.
VIDEO. Piotr Pavlenski: "I opened the site" which caused Benjamin Griveaux to withdraw
The fall of the Soviet Union will not put an end to these practices, far from it. Prosecutor Yuri Skuratov, enemy of then Russian President Boris Yeltsin, resigned in 1998 after a video of a man resembling him with two prostitutes was released.
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Vladimir Putin is not to be outdone in this little game. The LifeNews media, fond of these sex-tapes affecting opponents of the Kremlin, is regularly accused of collaborating with the FSB, the Russian secret services. In 2010, a certain “Katia” also charmed several deputies, before publishing their antics online… then falling back into anonymity thanks to a surgical operation.
Recently, it was US President Donald Trump who himself was confronted with a “Kompromat” affair. A note to the unproven authenticity, and revealed by Buzz Feed, reports a sex-tape. Recorded in 2013, it would show the billionaire practicing a "golden-shower" (the fact of urinating on his partner, editor's note) on a prostitute. The information was denied by Vladimir Putin himself.
A Frenchman worried in 2016
Note that the "Kompromat" technique does not only consist of sex-tape singing. Proof of this is the gloomy case of Yoann Barbereau, director of the Alliance française in Siberia. In 2015, photos belonging to him were allegedly pirated before ending on child pornography forums. Justice then files a case against him and also accuses him of touching his daughter.
Barbereau will flee in 2016. A story he tells in a book just released in bookstores. Contacted by the Parisian, he refuses to comment on the Griveaux affair. "In any event, what happened to me, that is, accusations based on fabricated documents and police manipulations, has no bearing," he said.
Finally, it should be noted that the “Kompromat” is not the prerogative of the Russian secret services. "Obviously, blackmail is one of the great classics of turning over a person or forcing them to cooperate," said Guy-Philip Goldstein, cyber-conflict expert and teacher at the School of Economic Warfare. But its use for an operation of political provocation, that is to say to make a blow of public brilliance, is not in the traditions of Western services.