In one of the more fun articles I've read in ages, BusinessWeek's Eamon Javers explores the world of ex-KGB and ex-GRU spies for rent at a Virginia company called Trident Group (not to be confused with my literary agency, Trident Media Group, although publishing insiders will know there are some obvious similarities between the two beyond the company name...) Trident, which is staffed mainly by former GRU officers and some former KGB, assists Western firms navigate the treacherous free-for-all of Born Again capitalism in Russia and the other former Soviet states where business "ethics" are usually spoken of in finger quotes. Special activities that have to happen for a company to succeed there are best left to silent professionals who are hired by companies that don't like to ask a lot of questions.
Now this brings up the interesting issue of when a Fortune 500 company would be better advised to use the services (though a cutout, of course) of Cofer Black's Total Intelligence or Yuri Koshkin's Trident, a mini-CIA vs. mini-KGB. In the end the choice probably comes down to style preferences, how big your Russian troubles are and whether you like your ethics in finger quotes.
BusinessWeek's Javers is quickly distinguishing himself for shedding light upon some of the more interesting and unique corners of the private intelligence industry.
Addendum: Companies seeking assistance with business dealings in Russia/CIS might also want to consider the services of iJet. And remind Alex to send my customary referral fee...