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Who, us? Kremlin says it doesn't engage in 'kompromat,' but history suggests otherwise

Who, us? Kremlin says it doesn't engage in 'kompromat,' but history suggests otherwise

It’s a Russian word suddenly known to many Americans — kompromat.

A mashup of the Russian-language terms for “compromising” and “materials,” this pithy figure of speech encompasses a whole range of spycraft — entrapment, surreptitious videos, blackmail — that might seem more at home in a Cold War spy novel than as a serious news topic as a U.S. presidential inauguration draws near.

Kompromat is a dark art dating back decades, from the spy-versus-spy days of the old Soviet Union to Vladimir Putin’s newly resurgent Russia. The targets — at least those who are known — have included...

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