Referencing the New York Times article: Eastern Europe Struggles to Purge Security Services.
Some believe that the Soviet Era Security Services were ended when communism fell in 89, however, judging by recent events, it would seem that it is alive and well. Since, the fall, the security services, intelligence services, and other various forms of government security were supposedly shutdown and reorganized in new forms more conducive to the new political system. However, in the past several months, there have been a number unexplained deaths of people who are, or were against the Russian, and/or soviet governments.
In October, a prominent Russian journalist was killed from gun shot wounds in Moscow, in November a number of people had been killed under mysterious circumstances: Alexander V. Litvinenko, the former K.G.B. agent and Bozhidar Doychev, the man who oversaw Bulgaria’s most sensitive secret service archives. Also, aside from killings, there seems to be an active organization or group that makes verbal threats as well: a friend of Litvinenko had a threat made against his family.
Obviously the organizational apparatus is not dead, so, who is controlling and funding this organization and/or individuals. Might it be the Russian government, or just some officials who use past ties to the former KGB and other security services to threaten and assassinate those individuals who threaten them or there position? This does not seem unlikely, just because the organization was shutdown; the people who it employed are still alive; some with histories that are better left on an undisturbed forgotten file shelf somewhere.
You would not expect some of those Russian officials who have reached a high position of authority and power to relinquish this position by allowing information from their past to crop up. They will act in the most certain of ways to keep their past unknown. Also, employing means against anyone who threatens to disrupt operations or plans that are currently in motion; much like the Russian journalist.
What can be done? In my opinion, there is little that can be done. Those contacts that these officials may have are obviously very secret and have remained a secret for almost two decades. The only thing that could happen, much like the article concludes is to wait for the problem to die off. These former soviet era officials and their connections will soon die, or they will step down from office. After which, their hidden pasts can be revealed with little threat (hopefully), and honest journalism can be practiced with little threat of sever backlash from the government.