Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC)
Russian Federation


Linus Lim

Cite as

Russian Federation Disarmament & International Security Committee (DISEC)

Topic A: The Question of Contemporary Espionage

Espionage entails covertly acquiring information pertaining to another party, potentially in the interest of providing a significant advantage, be it political, economic, or otherwise, to the party partaking in espionage. [1] Espionage has taken on new faces in recent years as espionage services become more accessible due to the rise of the Internet and other technologies, with heightened technological expertise enabling for the emergence of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Cyber Intelligence (CYBINT), Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT), as well as Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT). With the unprecedented advent of technology in this contemporary day and age, the ubiquity of espionage is inadvertent by virtue of the augmentation of espionage capabilities of many nations.

The question of espionage has been a perennial one for the Russian Federation. Russia has always viewed espionage as imperative in enhancing national security, safeguarding Russia from threats within and beyond its borders. Russia’s long-standing history of espionage dates back to the Okhrana, a secret police force of the Russian Empire in the late 1800s, to the NKVD, which was replaced by the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB) following Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953. [2] In light of Russia’s historical estrangement from the international community, Russia has relied heavily on espionage in order to establish and maintain a foothold as a superpower on the world stage. Prior to the Cold War, Russia was barred from joining the League of Nations during its founding in 1920 due to having a Communist government during that point in time. [3] More notably, the formation of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in 1949 was a clear reflection of the policy of containment with regard to the Soviet Union that the United States pursued at the time, and heavi...