|“||It is better to be feared than respected? Bah—fear IS respect.||”|
|— Unofficial Maskirovka motto|
The Maskirovka (the Russian word for "disguise") is the intelligence arm of the Capellan Confederation. It is perhaps the most feared intelligence apparatus in the Inner Sphere. This fear has been one of its greatest weapons and helped prevent many attacks from outside the Confederation or from within it. Despite its utter failure during the 4th Succession War, Chancellors still trust the agency like no other.
The Director of the Maskirovka is responsible for the Maskirovka’s operational focus and for personally reporting its findings to the Chancellor. The Director is almost never more than a single jump away from the Chancellor, often traveling with him on the Pearl of True Wisdom, the Chancellor’s personal DropShip.
The heads of the Maskirovka’s two main branches—the Huang Di Shi Zhe (the Chancellor’s Hand, formerly the Capellan Operations Branch) and the Huang Di Yi Zhi (the Chancellor’s Will, formerly the Special Services Bureau)—report to the Director and on rare occasions to the Chancellor. The various Zang sub-departments of each branch report to their respective heads, in a strict tier of command that repeats down to the staff level.
Even the Maskirovka was touched by the Chancellor’s Xin Sheng reforms. Like the bulk of Capellan society, the agency gained a number of Han-influenced conventions. These are most noticeable in the revised department titles, but also in Maskirovka operations.
Under Maximilian and Romano Liao, the Maskirovka suffered vicious purges to its ranks and serious setbacks in funding. By the time Romano Liao executed Lady Chandra Ling in 3036 and appointed her consort, Lord Tsen Shang, to oversee the agency, the Maskirovka had been reduced to a shadow of itself, forced to use brutality and fear as its main weapons to keep the Confederation’s enemies at bay. Sun-Tzu Liao has attempted to reverse that trend, increasing the agency’s funding and resisting the urge to “shoot the messenger” whenever given bad news. Though both Dina Ferrara and Sasha Wanli attempted to improve the organization, only after the successful reintegration of the St. Ives Commonality was the Maskirovka able to overcome its institutional bad memories and begin to grow.
The Office of the Director is the top of the chain as far as the Maskirovka is concerned. Only the Chancellor has higher authority over the agency than the Director does. It is the Director’s duty to keep the Chancellor and his Strategic Military Director appraised of all concerns or threats, within the Confederation and outside it.
Of all the recent Directors, only Nancy Bao Lee has overcome the inertia of the Maskirovka bureaucracy to get the agency operating on a par with other Successor State intelligence agencies. Her directives have gone a long way toward improving the ability of operatives to fulfill their missions without direct oversight or fear of reprisal, though she has not shirked from the harshest punishments for failure.
The Chancellor’s Hand is the former Capellan Operations Branch, tasked with foreign operations: espionage, intelligence-gathering, sabotage, fomenting rebellions and so on.
Three distinct and separate departments operate under this organization's umbrella:
Chancellor's Ear: It is tasked with information gathering and infiltration. The Chancellor’s Ear maintains a web of informants and turncoats (sleepers) across the Inner Sphere, all ready to provide the Maskirokva with the information it requires.
Chancellor's Cunning: Formerly known as the Department of Misinformation, this branch is responsible for spreading discord among the Confederation’s enemies by feeding false information to known enemy spies inside the Confederation and to enemy news outlets in the other Successor States.
Chancellor's Sword: The covert operations department of the Maskirovka which handles offensive missions outside the Confederation’s borders. These missions range from sabotage to assassination to outright theft. The Maskirovka sometimes recruits hardened criminals to perform small actions and large-scale guerrilla organizations like the Zhangzeng de Guang receive aid from the Sword.
The Chancellor’s Will is the department of the Maskirovka most people think of when they curse the agency’s brutality. Formerly known as the Special Services Branch, the Will is a domestic arm of the Maskirovka, charged with ensuring national security and loyalty among the citizens.
It is split into three departments:
Chancellor’s Shield: It is the Maskirovka’s counterinsurgency arm, responsible for quelling domestic unrest sparked by foreign agents fomenting rebellion or by disloyal citizens. The Shield acts swiftly and often violently. It is this department that gives the Maskirovka its feared reputation.
Chancellor’s Voice: All propaganda in the Confederation is generated by this branch of Maskirovka. Every media outlet in the Confederation includes an operative of this branch on staff, and thus nothing is printed, broadcast or recorded in the whole state without the Voice’s authorization. It was essential to the success of Sun Tzu's Xin Sheng efforts.
Chancellor’s Eyes: The Chancellor’s Eyes are the most visible arm of the Maskirovka. It is tasked with observation and cultural monitoring of the population. Civilian monitors note training methods at Capellan educational facilities and watch for trends in the diverse Capellan art scene. In the military, Eyes operatives are assigned to line and Home Guard units as political officers, charged with maintaining unit loyalty and trying to prevent the "hopeless battle syndrome" the CCAF is known for.
The Maskirovka is headquartered on Sian, where it remains within easy reach of the Chancellor. The Zang shu er trains its operatives away from the capital on a personal basis—no dedicated training facility exists for foreign-service operatives. Most are selected from a target world’s population and turned into “sleeper” agents. The largely bureaucratic staff of the Maskirovka’s nonoperations departments are trained on Sian in small secondary facilities. No centralized training facility has ever been approved, the theory being that the loyalty engendered by such an institution could undermine larger loyalty to the state.
Created in 2396 shortly after the founding of the Confederation itself by the power hungry Kurnath Liao, it is responsible for executing many of the purges of the Capellan people by the successive Chancellors over the many years it has served the Confederation's interests.
The Maskirovka was created using an older organization, the Deimosis, as a base. The Deimosis had been created during the era of the Capellan Hegemony as a government agency responsible for coordinating matters between the internal states of the Hegemony, including conducting internal censuses. As the power of the Hegemony and the influence of its governing Agoropolis grew, so did the power and remit of the Deimosis. By the time the Hegemony came to an end and was replaced with the Capellan Commonality, the Deimosis had evolved into an internal secret police organization responsible for the protection of Hegemony policy against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
The Maskirovka played an important role during the Fourth Succession War, as a deep-cover Federated Suns agent, Justin Allard, infiltrated the agency and eventually rose to become one of its leaders. From this position, he helped to orchestrate the downfall of the Confederation during the Fourth Succession war.
- Hanbook: House Liao, p. 98, "The Maskirovka"
- Handbook:House Liao, p.98, the Maskirovka
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 14, "Seeds Of Destruction"