During the Cold War years, there was a lot of “cloak-and-dagger” activity, where spies would kill each other for information or as a part of the conflict between the US and USSR. This was part of the inspiration behind the “Spy vs. Spy” sketches and cartoons of Mad Magazine.
This significantly decreased after the fall of the USSR, but it never went away and is now returning as Russia makes clear she wants to return to her “glory days” of the USSR and the US is not going to let this happen without a fight. A recent incident showed this and the elevated state of tension between the nations after a Russian man was identified as a high-ranking spy and military officer who murdered a Bulgarian arms dealer in 2015 according to a report from Bellingcat and reported by Radio Free Europe.
A Russian man who had diplomatic credentials in Geneva was in fact a military intelligence officer linked to a secret hit squad accused of a spate of poisonings in Europe, according to a new report by the open-source investigative organization Bellingcat.
The report, released on February 25, was the latest to examine the operations of Russian security agencies, highlighting what experts warn are aggressive and far-reaching efforts by Moscow to conduct surveillance, sabotage, and even assassinations abroad. (source)
Some have said that the Cold War never ended, and this arguably true, since the conflict for control of world power is as old as the struggle between the British Empire and Russian Empire going back to the 19th century.
But no matter who the actors are, there are periods of rest and action. There was a lot of “rest” in the decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, it appears the conflict is heating up again.