26/10/11 – In 2007 Luke Harding arrived in Moscow to take up a new job as a correspondent for The Guardian. Not long after, mysterious agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB, broke into his flat. He was followed, bugged, and even summoned to Lefortovo, the FSB’s notorious prison.
The break-in was the beginning of a psychological war against the journalist and his family that burst into the open in 2011 when he was expelled from Moscow for reporting allegations that under Vladimir Putin the country had become a “virtual mafia state”.
The first western reporter to be deported from Russia since the days of the Cold War, Luke Harding has written about his run-in with the new Russia in his recently published book, Mafia State. It includes unpublished material from confidential US diplomatic cables, published by WikiLeaks last year, that described Russia as a “virtual mafia state”.