Back in October, a British paper reported that UK security sources believe Russian espionage in the UK was "back to Cold War levels".
Now, US officials are saying the same thing about agents in this country. (via Drudge)
Remember, Vladimir Putin himself was a KGB agent during the Cold War. He was a relative unknown when he came to power. He acceded the presidency following the collapse of his country, no longer the superpower it had been. He has steadily made attempts to further the nationalistic spirit of old Russia and concentrate his power. He is attempting to strenghten the perception of Russia in the face of the still-powerful United States and his own dwindling sphere of influence.
Last year, an opponent of Putin's was mysteriously drugged and blackmailed. The head of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorovsky, also a Putin opponent was jailed and his company was virtually confiscated. Victor Yushchenko, pro-Western candidate in Ukraine was poisoned by pro-Kremlin intelligence agents. It seems for Putin that the geopolitical games of the Cold War are preferable to reform and progress. After all, one does what one knows, right? Once KGB, always KGB.
UPDATE: Russian spying has crept to near-Cold War levels in Germany as well.