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Jonathan Littell, "The Security Organs of the Russian Federation. A Brief History 1991-2004". Psan Publishing House 2006.

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The Security Organs of the Russian Federation (Part IV)

4. The Security Organs Under Vladimir Putin
Securing control

The Soviet leadership, historically, had always sought to keep strict political control over the security organs, and had barred security personnel from the highest reaches of power: not until Andropov was the rule broken, and even then with misgivings.  It is thus not by chance that Andropov stands as Putin?s major political reference.  Already in June 1999, while still Director of the FSB, he had solemnly laid flowers before Andropov?s grave at the Kremlin wall and his monument besides the main doors of the Lubyanka.  His basic political formula, from the start, was more Andropov than Pinochet (the comparison most often resorted to by Western journalists): economic development, political control.  And as with Andropov and perestroika, the security organs would be called upon to drive both facets of the process.

Yet Putin, compared with his truculent predecessor, entered the Kremlin with few assets.  His personal power base, given his youth and the narrow scope of his career, was extremely limited: The FSB career leadership, for the most part, considered him an upstart; the other security organs were staffed with Yeltsin-era personnel; the Armed Forces, after his September 1999 Faustian bargain, had been cut loose to run their own show in Chechnya; the Government remained in the hands of the ?Family,? to which he owed his ascension; the Duma was split between Communists and born-again Putinites whose loyalty could not be taken for granted; the all-powerful governors had yet to be brought to heel; the middle bureaucracy, as always, would scrape and bow before the master, but would tear him to pieces the moment he showed weakness.  His close allies, those who owed their careers to him and on whom he could count unconditionally, numbered no more than a handful: Patrushev, whom he needed for the FSB, Sergei Ivanov, whom he initially placed at the head of the powerful Security Council, Viktor Cherkesov, also at the FSB, Viktor Ivanov and Igor Sechin, whom he brought within his Presidential Administration to counter the influence of Voloshin, and a couple of others, far too few to effectively ?seed? the bureaucracies.  Choices thus would have to be made, priorities would have to be set.  And in this, Putin proved fairly effective, or at least acutely conscious of his limitations; he proceeded slowly, cautiously, methodically, building up his system of control joint by joint, lock by lock, gear by gear.  It is even conceivable that he might have succeeded, had the systemic failings of Russia, which he proved unable to remedy, and the ineptness of his close associates not undermined his progress, generating one highly visible catastrophe after another, ruining his edifice from the bottom as he kept on piling up blocks at the top.

Putin did of course come to power with a few cards in his hands.  The first and most important was his broad public legitimacy: after the chaos and misery of the Yeltsin years, the Russian people thirsted above all for order, a strong hand, and predictable rules of the game, and voted massively for Putin in the expectation that he could bring this about.1 Equally crucially, Putin benefited from a broad positive consensus among the country?s elite: there, after all the bitter battles to parcel out the defunct Soviet Union?s resources, the mood tended towards consolidation and thus once again order and predictability.  Under Putin, the entrenched senior bureaucrats could expect limited personnel movement, and at least generous compensatory posts; the middle and lower bureaucracy counted on salaries being paid on time and even on raises; the security organs understood that Putin was one of their own and shared their values; the Armed Forces had been given the free hand they sought in Chechnya and the promise of increased budgets; the regional barons accepted that their wings would be clipped, but the most powerful awaited (and received) extensions on their terms in exchange; liberal economists banked on Putin to advance economic development and reform; big business was interested in fully legalizing their gains and moving towards open market transparency.  Putin could be everybody?s man if he so wished.

The major liabilities were swiftly and brutally disposed of.  Gusinsky, who with his NTV had backed the wrong horse, came first: his arrest in June 2000 signaled the launching of a massive legal offensive that ended with Gusinsky in exile in Spain, his Media-Most in the hands of State-owned Gazprom (now run by another St.-Petersburg Putin ally, Aleksei Miller), and NTV?s independence drastically curtailed.  Putin approached Berezovsky more cautiously: in March, shortly before the Presidential election, he was still telling journalists that he often met Berezovsky, ?who has such a lively intelligence and many propositions?2 (Berezovsky and Abramovich, meanwhile, had brilliantly exploited the chaos generated by the elections and Chechnya to quietly corner the Russian aluminium market, snatching up the country?s best assets in February 2000 from under Deripaska?s nose).  But by the fall of 2000 the Kremlin felt ready to take on its embarrassing former ally: in November, criminal charges were initiated against Berezovsky, and he fled to London where he rapidly sought to reinvent himself as a principled victim of political persecution, accusing Putin of threatening Russian democracy.3  Putin also discretely removed some of the more openly corrupt or criminal governors, such as Primorski Krai?s Nazdratenko; yet, to avoid rattling the elite, whose support he needed, he was consistently careful to find cushy new positions for them.

The first major reforms entailed bringing the restive regional barons in line4 and ensuring full control over all regional security organs.  In May 2000, Putin divided the country into seven Federal Districts (Federalnye okrugi), dismissed the Presidential Representatives (PolPredy) in each oblast or Republic, and replaced them with seven PolPredy at the okrug level, four of whom initially were drawn from the ranks of the FSB (such as Viktor Cherkesov) or the Armed Forces.5  The military okrugs were redrawn to match the new federal ones.  As Nikolai Petrov argues, ?the brain center and, at the same time, the basis of reform [was] the FSB;? the reforms, he adds, were initially coordinated by the Security Council, ?something of a strategic government? in 2000-2001 under the leadership of the FSB?s Sergei Ivanov.6  After the May reform, all power agencies were made to introduce an intermediary body at the okrug level (previously, only the Army, the VV, and MChS had such an intermediary body, at the military okrug level; and the MVD?s GUBOP, as discussed, had its own system of regional HQs).  The only exception to this rule was the FSB, whose regional directorates remained directly subordinated to Moscow.  The FSB did have its own form of intermediary level, Regional Councils created by Putin at the end of 1998, whose territories corresponded to those of the future federal okrugs; but these councils, which included not only the heads of the regional UFSBs but also their military counterintelligence deputies, were purely advisory bodies and had no administrative role.  As Petrov writes, one of the main objective in creating the okrugs was

to seize back the levers of authority and ? control over the security structures, from both regional leaders and federal headquarters. [?] Once President, Putin naturally wanted to turn the security structures into a support for his rule.  It was not enough to simply change ministers.  In the best of cases it would take them a very long time to establish their own control over such enormous bureaucratic pyramids.  By creating an intermediary administrative level between the central authorities and those in the regions it would be possible to break the ties binding the regional and federal levels of siloviki and, at the same time, to create a bridgehead from which to establish supervision over both the one and the other level.  The okrugs thus formed a wedge between the federal hammer and the regional anvil.

The new system thus allowed Putin and his men to tease power away from both the regional level, by chipping away at the local symbiosis between governor and police or other security chiefs, and from Moscow, where the central security apparatuses remained centers of bureaucratic resistance to drastic reform.  The okrugs also, logically, became the core of Putin?s cadre policy (which was probably spearheaded by Viktor Ivanov, Putin?s Deputy Head of Presidential Administration in charge of personnel issues, a veteran KGB official who had also been in charge of personnel at the FSB).  Hundreds of young new officials were hired into the PolPredy?s staff, often from the FSB or other security organs, and after a brief period there were hived off to take up positions in the regions? administrative or security bodies.  This provided Putin with a rapidly growing pool of cadres who, having received a major boost to their careers within a structure he had created from scratch, owed him everything; as they spread throughout Russia?s administrative tissue, their loyalty could be counted on to slowly counter the older elites.  At the same time, as Petrov describes, ?the introduction of the okrugs permitted the reproduction of cadres in its full cycle to be restored (recruitment, training, preparation of reserve cadres) after the nationwide system, formerly exercised by the apparatus of the Communist Party, was destroyed in 1991.?  Putin reintroduced the key principle of horizontal rotation, breaking down the system of local allegiances built up during the Yeltsin era, when a security or an administrative bureaucrat made his entire career in his home region before being ?called? to Moscow (Putin?s own career precisely follows this scheme, and he came to power with the baggage it entails: all his closest associates were St.-Petersburgers, forming a tight-knit, but relatively isolated clan.  Loyalty to Putin among the important ?Moscow siloviki,? for instance, is a far more tenuous proposal). Under this system, up-and-coming siloviki would be sent out to a region to head a local directorate department for a year or two; they would then be brought to Moscow to work in one of the central departments for a year or so, to train them in a specific branch, before being sent back out to another region, often at the next step up the ladder.  Within a year, as Petrov explains, systematic cadre rotation allowed Putin ?to replace the Defense and Interior ministers and begin a ?purge of staff headquarters?;? by 2004, he had achieved a ?wide-ranging renewal of regional management levels of MVD, FSB and Procuratura,? and had completed ?the transfer of the levers of control over the country?s numerous security structures into the hands of [his] close supporters and comrades in arms.?  The system however was not implemented as thoroughly in every agency.  The FSB, in fact, had maintained it to a certain extent during the Yeltsin years, though not as rigourously as during the KGB period, and accelerated it dramatically after Putin?s accession to power.  The MVD had dropped cadre rotation altogether in the 1990s, allowing deeply entrenched ?old boys? networks? to develop in the regions; only in May 2002, under Boris Gryzlov?s leadership, was rotation ?elevated to the rank of a guiding principle in staffing policies.?  As for the nation-wide system of the General Procuratura, it was ?the first to be subjected to large-scale personnel replacement, and yet its reforming has not yet been completed.  It still employs many appointees from the 1990s who made their careers in their native regions.?7

Observers rapidly came to realize, over these first few years,  how siloviki were infiltrating every walk of Russian life, often carrying over with them the peculiar mentality inherited from their profession.8  The phenomenon of course was not new; Yeltsin, as we have already noted, had come increasingly to rely on the siloviki in the last years of his reign.  As Mukhin explains, there had in fact been three major waves of security service staff moving into the political, bureaucratic, financial, and business worlds.  The first wave was comprised of high-level KGB cadres who left or were forced out of the services in 1991-95;9 the second wave were mostly lower-level cadres dismissed in the brutal reforms of 1995-99; the third wave began under Putin in 1999.10  The difference of course between the last wave and the previous ones was that Putin?s strategic placement of siloviki was deliberate, a policy only limited by the numbers of cadres available: the FSB could be a ?donor? for the reforms, but could not be gutted.  Petrov, in his study of the federal reforms, concludes that Putin and his entourage?s objective was ?not so much to build an effective state as to set up an efficient system of supervision and control, to secure a strict governability within the state, and to strengthen the power ministries.?11


The first war in Chechnya had been fought in the name of the restoration of Russian constitutional order.  The second, far more brutal and destructive conflict, however, would be conducted, officially, as an ?anti-terrorist? operation.  That this had been planned for some time before the incursions into Daghestan and the bombings in Russian cities is suggested by a minor but significant modification of the FSB structure, implemented on August 28, 1999, but certainly prepared earlier, while Putin still headed the FSB: the 8. Directorate for the Protection of the Constitution, headed by Gennady Zotov, was merged with the 2. Antiterrorist Department, headed by Col.-Gen. Vladimir Pronichev, to form a colossal departmental complex: all the FSB departments concerned with relations with the regions, kidnapping, terrorism, political extremism, narcotics, and the North Caucasus, as well as the Tsentr Spetsnaz, were unified under Pronichev?s command, preparing the looming war as well as its official pretext (see Fig. 4, above, and Fig. 7, below).  

The propaganda war had been equally well prepared: as soon as hostilities began, foreign embassies and international organizations received videotapes, compiled by the FSB, showing Chechens mutilating or decapitating dozens of captives; and this evidence of ?Chechen atrocities? certainly provided a convenient excuse for the muted reaction of most Western countries (we will discuss below how the FSB probably helped to generate most of this useful material).  At the same time, Putin? February 7, 2000 decree reinforcing the powers of the FSB?s military counterintelligence branches within the Armed Forces (see below) also made it much easier legally for the FSB to control journalists? access to Chechnya.12  Overall coordination of Russia?s ?information war,? specifically designed as a response to Movladi Udugov?s brilliant 1995-96 propaganda campaign, was entrusted to Putin aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky; on the military side, it was enthusiastically sustained by Kvashnin?s deputy at the GenShtab, Col.-Gen. Valery Manilov, a career Army politruk (political affairs officer) and leading military ideologue.  While combat operations were initially entrusted to the overall coordination of the Ministry of Defense and especially Kvashnin?s GenShtab, the security organs played a significant role from the very start of the war.  

In the fall of 1999 the FSB formed a number of structures to manage its operational work in the North Caucasus.  Probably the most important is the OKU SK (Operative-Coordination Directorate for the North Caucasus) within the revamped 2. Department, whose HQ is dislocated in Piatigorsk (Stavropol Krai).  The FSB also formed a Temporary Operational Group of the 3. Department for Military Counterintelligence (VOG UVKR FSB), which was and remains subordinated to the HQ of the Joint Group of Federal Forces (OGFS).  During the active combat phase of operations, subunits of the VOG entered Chechnya within each Group of Forces; while it is unclear to what extent their responsibilities were partly subsumed by ROSh, UFSB ChR or OKU SK (see below for more on these structures), they were until at least 2001 charged not only with military counterintelligence work but also with ?filtering? Chechen refugees, freeing Russian prisoners and hostages, and preventing terrorist acts.13  (The GRU?s exact relationship to the VOG, as well as its sharing of roles with the FSB in the field of military counterintelligence, remains unclear.)  Once the ?combat phase? was over, and the Russians had set up a temporary administration for the Chechen Republic ? initially, under Nikolai Koshman, a Major-General in the Railway Forces who had already served as Prime Minister of Chechnya within Doku Zavgaev?s puppet government in 1995-96 ?, the FSB set up a Chechnya FSB Directorate (UFSB ChR), which reports directly to OKU (and thus does not follow the normal chain of command for regional FSB directorates); its first head was Mikhail Khripkov, followed by Maj.-Gen. Vyacheslav Kadyaev.  The Ingushetia UFSB, whose long-time head Sergei Koryakov was publicly accused of torture and murder by several of his subordinates before he was discreetly transferred in the wake of Basaev?s June 2004 Ingushetia raid, is also reportedly subordinated to OKU.

On January 22, 2001, Vladimir Putin transferred responsibility for operations in Chechnya from the Ministry of Defense to the FSB.  This was a first not just in Russian but even in Soviet history: ?Never before ? even during Stalin?s time, have the security services been given the control of a military operation,? writes Konstantin Preobrazhensky, a well-known former KGB officer and commentator.  ?The transfer of control ? is clearly a political, rather than a strategic move.?14  The FSB set up a Regional Operational HQ for the Command and Control of Counterterrorist Operations in the North Caucasus (ROSh or Regionalny Operativny Shtab for short) in the military base at Khankala (Groznyi); ROSh, to which all other power structures were to be subordinated, was initially placed under the command of the Deputy Director of FSB in charge of the 2. Department, Rear-Admiral German Ugryumov, a career naval counterintelligence officer notorious for overseeing the prosecution of Grigory Pasko in 1997.  ROSh and OKU are often confused, but they are in fact two distinct structures, though their responsibilities, characteristically for a bureaucracy mostly shaped in function of ongoing internal conflicts, overlap in many places.  ROSh, it should be noted, is not an FSB department or structure but rather a coordination center at the level of the OGFS; every other service is represented within ROSh, the MO by its First Deputy Minister and Head of GRU, General of the Army Valentin Korabelnikov.  Under Ugryumov, OKU was headed by Lt.-Gen. Anatoly Yezhov; the head of UFSB ChR was also replaced by a career military counterintelligence officer, General Sergei Babkin, who in 2000 had headed the VOG under the ?Western? Group of Forces commanded by General Vladimir Shamanov.  Upon Ugryumov?s death in May 2001, his dual responsibilities were separated: his deputy Yezhov took over ROSh, while Maj.-Gen. Aleksandr Zhdankov became the Deputy Director of FSB responsible for 2. Department (See Fig. 7).  In 2003, Putin, as part of his ?Chechenization? policy, ordered the FSB to hand over responsibility for operations to the MVD.  The FSB strongly resisted this new arrangement, with some success apparently: when ROSh was finally handed over to MVD, on July 29, 2003, its new head was not the MVD general who had been named a month earlier, Lt.-Gen. Mikhail Pankov, but an FSB officer transferred the same day to MVD and made a Deputy Interior Minister, Rear-Admiral Yuri Maltsev.15

The FSB has proven unable to recruit agents and develop reliable networks in Chechnya, and is, according to most sources, incapable of effectively carrying out any form of ?agent work? (or human intelligence) against Maskhadov?s rebel forces.  Its only serious means of operation are its ?special groups,? considered death squads by most independent observers.  The January 2001 transfer of responsibility from the MO to FSB had indeed followed a certain logic: now that major combat operations were officially over, and most of the large-scale enemy armed formations had been wiped out, the emphasis had to shift to more targeted operations against remaining ?terrorist groups,? a task the FSB was considered more adapted to than the Army or the VV.  On the ground, this signaled a shift, over the course of 2001, from wide-scale zachistki (cleansing operations), during which the Army or the VV randomly and indiscriminately swept up young men, tortured them, and resold them to their families (or resold their bodies if they did not survived), to what has come to be called imeny or adressny zachistki: targeted disappearances, or outright extra-judicial executions, of current or former rebels, their relatives, and numerous innocents.  The FSB?s SSGs (svodnye spetsialnye gruppy, ?Mixed? or ?Ad-hoc Special Groups?), which number at least ten since April 2002, are deployed under the control of VOGOiP (Temporary Joint Grouping of Organs and Units), which in turn reports to ROSh; they are composed of operatives detached from various regional UFSBs as well as VV Spetsnaz (SOBR officers prior to fall 2002); according to available information, they operate on a basis of three months in the field followed by three months? rest.  The Chechnya UFSB can also deploy a local ?Alfa? unit, which probably conducts tasks similar to the SSGs.16  It should be said that the imeny zachistki are conducted, often at night, by masked men who carefully conceal their exact affiliation: in addition to members of the SSGs, they most probably include so-called Kadyrovtsi ? Chechen troops loyal to the late Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov and his son Ramzan ? and GRU Spetsnaz (some of whom are Chechen).  OKU SK has also been accused of deploying its own ?death squads:? an Ingush online journal has blamed OKU for the disappearance (and probable murder) of the Senior Assistant Procurator of Ingushetia Rashid Ozdoev, who himself was investigating disappearances.17  An MVD ?mobile unit? dislocated in Karabulak, and implicated in numerous disappearances and extrajudicial executions, has also been reported as subordinated to OKU SK.

The Federal Forces, in Chechnya, have partially compensated for their lack of HumInt by drastically boosting their SigInt and ElInt capacity.  In 1999, they successfully closed the technology gap that had enabled the Chechen forces to secure their communications during the first war.  The OGFS has set up a regional Radio Electronic Combat Grouping for surveillance and interception of Chechen radio communications. FAPSI, in turn, has set up a large-scale operation to monitor all radio airwaves in the North Caucasus, code-named ?Experiment 99.?  Furthermore, FAPSI?s ?Terek? mobile communications system (installed in a BTR) assists efficient communications between the various service branches, largely overcoming a problem that had plagued them during the first conflict.  Key Russian assets in this electronic war are a number of satellites launched prior to the conflict, which FAPSI shares with GRU: the GRU?s ?Tselina-2? satellite is ?the main player when it comes to interception of international electronic traffic, communications between the Russian power structures operating in Chechnya, and tracking, monitoring, decrypting and occasionally jamming Chechen communications.?18

The GRU has received much publicity over its role during the second Chechen conflict, deploying over 2000 officers and boasting to journalists about their exploits in eliminating Chechen field commanders.  A widely commented legal case, however, has shed light on the carelessness and vicious brutality of these operations: the prosecution of GRU Captain Eduard Ulman and three of his subordinates for the murder of six innocent Chechen civilians in January 2002.  Captain Ulman had set up a concealed roadblock in a mountainous region of Chechnya to intercept rebel fighters; seeing a mini-van approach, he and his men opened fire without warning, killing the driver and wounding two passengers.  After approaching the vehicle and realizing that it contained only local residents, Captain Ulman radioed his command for orders: ?Ubrat?,? was the response, ?Get rid of them.?  Captain Ulman and his men carried out the order, executing the civilians, including a pregnant woman, in cold blood, and setting fire to the vehicle and the corpses to make it seem they had exploded on a land mine.  The trial of the four officers, conducted in Rostov, was one of the first Russian trials by jury and showed the limitations of the introduction of this system into Russian law courts: in April 2004, the jury acquitted all the defendants, who had admitted conducting the killings, on the grounds that they had been ?following orders.?  Ulman and his men testified that the orders had been ?issued by Colonel Vladimir Plotnikov and relayed by Major Alexei Perevelevsky. Although Perevelevsky testified that Plotnikov issued the order, the colonel told investigators he had not issued it and he was not summoned to testify at the trial.?  After relatives of the victims appealed the verdict, the Supreme Court overturned it and ordered a retrial; in May 2005, Ulman and his men were acquitted for a second time in the North Caucasus Military District Court by another jury, on the same grounds.19

Ever since the first Chechen war, the GRU had actively recruited Chechen operatives; in 2000-2001, it formed two Chechen-led and staffed search-&-destroy units: the Spetsnaz mountain battalions ?Zapad,? commanded by Said-Magomed Kakiev, a long-time personal enemy of Dudaev and Gelaev, and ?Vostok,? commanded by Sulim Yamadaev, a former rebel field commander who went over to the Federals with Kadyrov in November 1999.  GRU special units have been responsible for the elimination of some of the more notorious Chechen commanders, such as Abu Movsaev, Arbi Baraev, and Baudi Bakuev.  Particular circumstances have allowed a wealth of details to surface about these operations: in 2000, frustrated at the FSB?s deliberate obstruction of its efforts, GRU officers took the highly unusual step of leaking information about the FSB?s provision of krysha to criminal Chechen commanders to a number of selected journalists.20

The second Chechen war, just like the first, occasioned a bitter and even murderous rivalry between the different services and organs of the Federal Forces.  This rivalry took root at the lowest field level, where it was mostly a question of money and survival,21 and grew to the highest, where it became a question of politics and also of money.  Politics: once the active combat phase was over, the different services took broadly divergent views of Chechnya?s future.  The Army, roughly speaking, sought to impose direct occupation, with the Republic being administered by a form of military governorship in the hands of a Russian official.  The Kremlin, on the other hand, decided within six months to place at the head of the Republic a former rebel leader, Akhmad Kadyrov.  Kadyrov, who had been named Mufti of Chechnya in 1995 by Dudaev so that he could call for jihad against the Russians, had turned against Maskhadov over his handling of the Wahhabi problem and had gone over to the Federal side, surrendering Gudermes without a fight in November 1999, together with the Yamadaev brothers.  While Kadyrov was initially little more than a puppet in the hands of various bodies, he cleverly bided his time and lobbied the Kremlin to adopt a plan known as ?Chechenization,? which entailed a broad transfer of powers and of law-enforcement responsibilities to Kadyrov and his Chechen government.  Kadyrov used every opportunity to gain more ground from the Federal center, firing Moscow appointees from his administration whenever he could and naming in their place his own men, many of whom had also fought the Russians; in addition, he was allowed to build up his own considerable armed force, the infamous Kadyrovtsi, made up mostly of former rallied and amnestied fighters.  This policy obviously gave the rebels much leeway for infiltrating the Chechen government; and it is clear that Kadyrov broadly tolerated this, as a form of ?insurance policy? and also as a tool for negotiating further surrenders.  The Army, which under this plan was confined to barracks in a handful of bases, and which was to play less and less of a role in Chechnya policy or (with the exception of its GRU special units) operations, violently opposed it, pushing forward its own, more pliable candidates ? such as Bislan Gantemirov or even Malik Saidullaev ? and often resorting to treacherous means (a number of well-informed sources believe for instance that the Army, and not the rebels, engineered Kadyrov?s murder on May 9, 2004).  

Money: the war in Chechnya was swiftly commercialized and privatized by the ground-level commanders of the various Federal service branches.  The opportunities the war provided for personal enrichment were innumerable: systematic and organized looting of villages; sales of arms and ammunitions to rebel forces; a brisk trade in scrap metal from destroyed factories; a lucrative illegal oil business, aimed at neighboring regions; the systematic racketeering at checkpoints; and, as already mentioned, a generalization of the practice of ransoming arrested men and women, whether guilty or not (rebels were in fact resold much faster, to their comrades-in-arms, than civilians, though at a higher cost), as well as of corpses.  These various resources generated stiff ?competition? between services and units, who in effect combined gangland practices with politicking in seeking to corner specific markets or territories.  In 2001, for instance, a number of Army oil tankers were destroyed on the Northern Garagorsk road out of Groznyi, officially of course due to rebel activity; in reality, these trucks were illegal exporting embezzled oil out of Chechnya to Stavropol on behalf of members of the Army command, and were destroyed by FSB operatives who wished to break the Army?s monopoly and take a cut of the trade.22  Here too the Kremlin?s ?Chechenization? policy threatened important vested interests, as Kadyrov increasingly sought to exploit his position to take over the illegal oil trade and control the reconstruction money budgeted by Moscow.  It should be noted that these conflicts are far too complex and fluid simply to reduce to an ?FSB vs. Army? or ?FSB vs. MVD? scenario; interests and alliances shift unrelentingly, and the various processes at work, political and commercial, all constantly interfere with each other, rendering any interpretation of the latest events in the Republic tenuous and hypothetical at best.

It was in this context that the leaks from GRU (and other sources) detailed the FSB?s actions in protecting ? providing krysha ? for some of the most notoriously criminal Chechen field commanders, thus providing, as during the earlier FSB vs. FAPSI conflict, a glimpse of some of the hidden workings of the spetssluzhby.  In October 2000, a GRU unit encircled the village of Sharo-Argun to capture Baudi Bakuev, a commander involved in several high-profile kidnappings, including those of Valentin Vlasov and MVD General Vladimir Shpigun (a close personnal friend of Stepashin who reportedly died in captivity after the war started).  The FSB sought to provide Bakuev with a ?corridor? to escape, but he refused to trust the man they sent to warn him and chose to flee through the forest instead, only to be shot when he ran into the GRU ring (the military demanded $40,000 from his family for the return of his body; his wife Luisa, in despair, joined the Chechen commando that stormed the Dubrovka theater in October 2002 and died there).  Yet the most famous case is that of Arbi Baraev.  Baraev, a Wahhabi field commander born in 1973, had gotten his start as a bodyguard in the DGB under Geliskhanov.  At the end of the first war, in August 1996, he became linked with the mysterious Fattakh, the most important Arab radical and Islamist financier in Chechnya at the time, and grew close to Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, who had succeeded Dudaev upon his death as President of ChRI.  Yandarbiev set up Baraev with his own unit, the IPON (Islamic Special Purposes Brigade).  Baraev, over the following year, developed a reputation as a major kidnapper, and also became known as a psychopath, violating the most basic Chechen societal norms by murdering women and elders; his ?unit? was said to be composed mostly of hardened criminals and narcotics addicts.  Baraev and his close associates the Akhmadov brothers are held responsible for some of the most brutal killings and kidnappings of the period (as well as for twice attempting to assassinate Maskhadov): the murder of six ICRC nurses in December 1996, the on-camera mutilation of numerous hostages, and the gruesome decapitation of the four Granger Telecom engineers in December 1998.  The video and photographic material conveniently generated by Baraev and his partners went straight to feed the FSB?s propaganda efforts at the start of the second war.  When the Federal Forces began their siege of Groznyi, the Wahhabi commanders retreated to the mountains, promising to prepare bases for their comrades which however never materialized.  Baraev is even said to have betrayed Gelaev to the Federals after the retreat from Groznyi in February 2000, leading to the March disaster in Komsomolskoe.  As early as April, Baraev was consistently reported by locals to be living in his house in Alkhan-Kala and to be passing through Russian checkpoints without obstruction; the Akhmadov brothers, living in Urus-Martan, were doing the same.  In May, GRU officers passed copies of Baraev?s FSB accreditation, listing him as a Colonel, and other similar compromising material to a young Chechen journalist.  Several days later, before they could transmit to him further material concerning Baraev?s associate Ramzan Akhmadov, the journalist along with his GRU escort was arrested by FSB and GUIN officers, taken to the Russian base at Khankala, and severely beaten.  He probably would have been killed had not his escorts? commander, who had been seeking them after they failed to return, found them in a pit in Khankala and rescued him at the same time.  Articles he and his colleagues subsequently published claimed among other details that the FSB, in 1998, had outbid by $2 million the employers of the kidnapped telecom engineers in order to secure their death and decapitation.23  Baraev meanwhile was also maintaining close contacts with the rebels, participating in Basaev and Khattab?s war councils and occasionally ordering mine attacks against Russian military convoys: many Chechens at the time felt he was playing one side off the other, telling each he was just using the other, and meanwhile trying to enrich himself and survive as long as possible.  Ramzan Akhmadov died in a GRU operation in February 2001.  In May 2001, Vladimir Putin flew to Khankala and publicly berated the seniormost officers in charge of the operation in Chechnya; his chief of ROSh, FSB Vice-Admiral German Ugryumov, died shortly thereafter, officially of a heart attack provoked by Putin?s diatribe.  Various sources however reported that he had either been arrested by the GRU and died, possibly indeed of heart failure, under interrogation, or that he had committed suicide after a conversation in his office with a ?mystery man.?  With his main krysha out of the way, the GRU moved in on Baraev.  The operation was thoroughly prepared: the GRU recruited a number of Chechens who had a blood feud either with Baraev himself or with his associates, to help track them down and identify them.  Baraev was cornered on June 23, 2001 after a six-day zachistka in Alkhan-Kala; according to several well-informed sources, he sought refuge in a nearby FSB base which the GRU then stormed, killing an FSB official.  Baraev was taken to Khankala where he died after lengthy torture; eighteen of his men died with him, hunted down by the GRU?s Chechen krovniki.24  By the end of 2001, the GRU had ?rolled up? all the major commanders reported to have been directly protected by FSB; this however has little affected the course of the war, as a new generation of field commanders, far more discrete, less compromised, and more genuinely radical has arisen to take their place.  The GRU, of course, has itself also been accused of providing krysha for Chechen rebels, most notoriously in the case of Shamil Basaev, who after nearly seven years still eludes all Russian attempts to catch or kill him.

Information about the involvement of the security services in terrorist and criminal acts linked to Chechnya ? whether out of corrupt local interests or as a matter of policy, so as to generate provocations ? continued to surface after the 2000 GRU leaks.  In January 2001, the Head of Mission of the Médecins sans frontières aid group, Kenny Gluck, was kidnapped in Stari Atagi by an Islamist rebel unit; he was released less than a month later after a direct intervention by Shamil Basaev, who claimed in a letter he posted on a website that the FSB had tricked a small Wahhabi group into kidnapping a foreigner in exchange for the liberation of ten of their men.  Gluck?s kidnapping, it should be noted, corresponded with a number of important international diplomatic events, including a visit to Chechnya by the PACE rapporteur Lord Judd.  MSF has also publicly alleged official Russian involvement in the kidnapping of another of their volunteers in Daghestan in August 2002, though the interplay between the central and the local, the commercial and the political levels is even more obscure in this case.  An American scholar, John Dunlop, has extensively detailed the evidence concerning special service complicity in the dramatic October 2002 Moscow ?Nord-Ost? hostage-taking.25  The Russian authorities themselves have admitted low- and mid-level complicities in the series of attacks led by Shamil Basaev over the summer of 2004, beginning with his raid in Ingushetia and culminating with the catastrophic hostage crisis in Beslan; most of these accomplices, however, work for MVD and not FSB, and some may have helped Basaev for ideological rather than purely financial reasons.

Leaks about the September 2004 Beslan hostage crisis vividly illustrate the FSB?s propensity for operational camouflage and the creation of ad-hoc parallel structures in response to emergencies.  In each of the North Caucasus republics, the government had set up a Republican Antiterrorist Commission, responsible for crisis management in case of an attack.  The Commission was chaired by the Republican president; his deputy was the Head of the local FSB directorate.  Accordingly, when a number of terrorists took over a thousand adults and children hostage in Beslan?s School no. 1 on September 1, 2004, the North Ossetian President, Alexandr Dzasokhov, assumed command of the operational headquarters.  On noon of the second day of the crisis, FSB First Deputy Director Col.-Gen. Vladimir Pronichev ? the former head of the merged 2. Department, since then promoted and placed in charge of the Federal Border Guards Service, after its incorporation in FSB in 2003 ? ?showed Dzasokhov a decree signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov appointing [North Ossetian UFSB Head Maj.-Gen. Valery] Andreyev head of the operational headquarters.?  In April 2005, however, a Moscow News journalist received photocopies of the interview protocols of Dzasokhov and Andreyev by investigators from the North Caucausus branch of the General Procuratura; these protocols revealed that ?there had been formed in Beslan two headquarters: a formal one, upon which was lain all responsibility, and a secret one, which took the real decisions.?  The secret headquarters, set up in a third-floor office of Beslan?s town hall, was commanded by unidentified senior Moscow FSB officers and Kremlin officials, who arrived on September 1 with their own equipment.  Dzasokhov was one of the few members of the ?formal? operational HQ granted access to this shadow center; even then, it seems, information was concealed from him.  Neither Pronichev nor Vladimir Anisimov, another FSB Deputy Director known to have been present, figure on the list of members of the official HQ provided in his protocol by Andreyev; it is quite possible that Pronichev, a man generally considered the FSB?s leading antiterrorist expert (he commanded the operational HQ during the Dubrovka hostage crisis in Moscow, in October 2002), actually ran the botched rescue operation.  Russian media has speculated that both Dzasokhov and Andreyev were put forward as figureheads, to channel public frustration and anger if things went wrong (as they dramatically did), and to shield the reputations of other, more important officials.  Andreyev was removed from his position shortly after the crisis, though he was named Deputy Head of the FSB Academy, a prestigious position; Dzasokhov resigned after months of public protests on May 31, 2005.26

The Chechen attacks of summer 2004 led to yet another restructuring of the antiterrorist apparatus in the North Caucasus.  Up to the June 22 Ingushetia raid, the lead agency in case of a terrorist attack or a hostage-taking was automatically the FSB.  Immediately after, however, a new structure was set up in each of the North Caucasus republics called GrOU (gruppy operativnogo upravleniya or ?Operational Direction Groups?), which in case of an attack would be composed of armed units of FSB, MVD, VV and MChS.  Command of these GrOUs was entrusted to twelve VV MVD colonels, whose identity remains secret, and who were named deputy chairmen of their respective Republican Antiterrorist Commission, thus making them second only to the republican president in the struggle against terrorism.  In case of a terrorist attack, the affected republic?s GrOU now automatically takes charge of the operational staff for the duration of the crisis (it should be noted that during the Beslan crisis, in September, this arrangement was not implemented; the Colonel heading the North Ossetia GrOU was simply made a member of the ?formal? operational HQ).  Observers understood this change to signal a shift of emphasis, in the struggle against terrorism, towards MVD and away from FSB; MVD, it seemed, would now direct any operational action, while FSB would limit itself to information collection and analysis and counterintelligence. The MVD, in 2003, had already formed its own anti-terrorist unit: Tsentr ?T,? which is subordinated to GUBOP, and headed by First Deputy Head of GUBOP Colonel Yuri Demidov (in December 2004 GUBOP was reformed as DBOPT or ?Department for the Struggle against Organized Crime and Terrorism?).  This Tsentr ?T? in turn controls a number of regional units, and possibly to some extent the GrOUs.  It seems however that since then a new top-secret service has been formed specifically for the North Caucasus, out of elements of FSB, MVD and GRU.  No information about this service, even its name, is available, other than the fact that it is headed by a senior officer of the OGFS, therefore a VV MVD officer.  In general, and in spite of the FSB?s struggle to retain control of ROSh, the specialized Russian press tends to argue that the FSB is distancing itself from an unwinable war and unpreventable terrorist attacks, and is slowly trying to shift the burden and thus the blame on to MVD.27

Spetssluzhby: reorganization and reform

Putin?s constant reorganizations have affected the security services as much as the rest of the government, and with as little success.  The stated objective, of course, has been improving efficiency and meeting new and growing threats.  The reality of the reforms, however, appears mostly to reflect brutal bureaucratic infighting, as well as the difficulties faced by Putin and his team in gaining control over often refractory bodies.  

Before 2003, Putin took no drastic measures in regard to the security organs, limiting himself to administrative tinkering while moving his close allies into key positions and consolidating his grip over the services.  The FSB?s powers were rapidly reinforced in certain key fields.  For Putin, especially given his September 1999 ?pact? with the Army and Kvashnin?s iron hold over the GenShtab, relations between the FSB and the Armed Forces were a priority.  His February 2000 decree, already mentioned, confirmed the Statute of the FSB directorates in the Armed Forces, other troops, military formations and organs, including the VV MVD, and gave FSB military counterintelligence additional powers in relation to the military bodies it supervised, thus strengthening, unifying and centralizing the system of the osoby otdely.  The new statute tasked the FSB with ?preventing, within the limit of [its] powers, unauthorized actions with weapons of mass destruction? and ?combating illegal associations aiming at forcible seizure of power;? it obliged commanders, who in the past, when faced with a security threat, had only to inform their hierarchy, now to take action to eliminate such threats directly; finally, it gave the FSB the power ?to investigate the finances of other power structures.?  The FSB?s 3. Department remained under the control of Deputy Director Lt.-Gen. Vladimir Petrishchev, a veteran KGB military counterintelligence officer who had previously headed the VV MVD?s  Military Counterintelligence Directorate.

In 1999, the FSB began providing counterintelligence to major strategic firms such as Gazprom or Lukoil, a move reflecting the FSB?s expanding focus on economic questions.  In August 2001, the FSB Deputy Director in charge of the 4. Department for Economic Security (DEB), Maj.-Gen. Yuri Zaostrovtsev, was made a member of a Security Council commission charged with drafting an ?Economic security concept.?  Zaostrovtsev, who had been named Deputy Director in the spring of 2000, and who has been called ?the economics brain of the Petersburg Chekists,? had originally headed the Directorate for Counterintelligence Provision to the Banking and Financial Sphere; in this capacity, he is reported to have coordinated the legal assault against Gusinsky and Media-Most.  He then took over the DEB, whose resources had been significantly boosted in 2000; in September 2001, he was also made a board member of ?Aeroflot? (the naming of security officials to the boards of major companies at least partly controlled by the state was fast becoming a common practice of Putin?s presidency).  The relations between the FSB and big business ? formalized through the Consultative Council ? are multifaceted:

Like all other power structures, the FSB has ?interest groups? in the largest Russian companies.  Alfa-Group [controlled by Mikhail Fridman, the owner of ?Vympelcom?] and Sibneft [controlled by Roman Abramovich] have very good contacts with the FSB, Lukoil and Gazprom with the SVR.  Gazprom has also close links with FAPSI.  The contacts are either at the top level, between the special services? top managers and the owners and directors of large companies, or there is a medium-level ?operational? manager and rank-and-file connection.  They result in commercial links and the not always legal transfer of information.  The companies provide undercover positions, jobs for special services personnel and ex-security associates; the special services on the other hand offer access to commercial secrets, provide security warning and protection of specific companies, and so on.28

Economic security however was not to be the province of the FSB alone.  In December 2000, Putin approved a plan to create a new Financial Intelligence Service under the FSNP (Federal Tax Police Service).  However, though he publicly announced the formation of the new service in October 2001, it never did come into existence, defeated by numerous forces aligned against it: not only big business, worried that it would ?become a political tool of the leadership,? but also the MVD and Prime Minister Kasyanov, who both wanted control of the new agency for themselves.  In its place Putin finally created a Financial Monitoring Committee under the Ministry of Finance, at whose head he placed in November 2001 one of his old colleagues from St.-Petersburg, former Deputy Minister for Taxes and Levies Viktor Zubkov (who, in his capacity as head of the St.-Petersburg branch of ?Unity,? has reportedly published a children?s alphabet decorated with the face of young Vova Putin).  This Committee was mainly tasked with investigating money laundering and capital flight; at the start, it employed 200 people in its central apparatus, and another 100 in its regional subsections, one of which was set up in each Federal okrug.29


The FSB also renewed its attempts to monitor the internet in Russia.  The initial attempt to set up a SORM in the servers of internet providers had not proved much of a success; in 1999, the FSB unveiled a SORM-2 and once again insisted it be installed on every server, at the provider?s expense.  This provoked some complaints, but only one case of outright resistance: Nail Murzakhanov, a Volgograd provider, refused to install the system, and actually won a court case when the FSB revoked his license, though he continued to suffer constant legal harassment. Critics feared that the system would give the FSB a broad capacity for abuse and violation of privacy.  As a Washington Post article notes, ?Both the Russian constitution and a 1995 law prohibit law enforcement agencies from monitoring phone calls, pager messages, radio transmissions, e-mails or Internet traffic without a court order.  But ? an obscure set of technical regulations issued in the late 1990s permits total access without ever approaching a judge.?30  In the end, after some public squirming and a good deal of bad press, every Russian provider quietly complied and installed the system.  Specialists however note that the FSB?s technical capacity to filter and analyze the mass of data it has thus gained access to remains highly limited.  SORM is run out of the FSB?s UKIB (?Computer & Information Security Directorate?), headed in 2000 by B. N. Miroshnikov, and subordinated to the 1. Department for Counterintelligence supervised by Deputy Director Col.-Gen. Oleg Syromolotov (see Fig. 7 above).  

By 2000, the FSB?s total personnel was assessed at 92,000.31  Applicant levels however had fallen from 10 per opening at the FSB Academy in 1997 to 6 per opening in 2001.  ?Because of personnel shortages,? writes Bennett, ?the FSB began to accept back some of its former officers who left the services in the 1990s to work for commercial companies or other government organizations.?  Pay remains low: at the end of 2000, a lieutenant entering FSB received 2,000 rubles ($70) a month; in 2001, this rarely rose over 3,000 rubles ($100), though officers could supplement their pay both legally, through bonuses for tasks and perks, and illegally, through moonlighting, providing krysha services, or selling classified information (including to foreign governments, as was acknowledged in June 2000 by the head of the FSB?s Internal Security Directorate, Maj.-Gen. Smirnov, as well as by Patrushev himself).  The FSB?s budget has however been rising.  In 2002, the FSB was reportedly to receive roughly $600 million, though this figure, as Bennett notes, was set before September 11, 2001, and must have been subsequently adjusted to meet renewed priorities.  According to former FSB director Nikolai Kovalev (in a September 2001 interview), ?the FSB has been receiving enough funds to pay personnel but not enough to develop the technical equipment required or to conduct scientific research to produce equipment necessary for combating terrorism.?  In 2005, in the wake of the Beslan attack, the FSB budget (whose amount is classified) was increased by 25%, though Prime Minister Fradkov publicly noted that ?some parts of the FSB budget have grown so much the agency is already having trouble spending all the money.?32

The Russian spetssluzhby and the rest of the world

Russia, all through the 1990s, worked closely on the relations between its secret services and those of the former Soviet Republics.33  Relations were occasionally strained, as the new nations often had widely divergent interests, and naturally sought to gather intelligence on each other.  But Russia, which had inherited the cream of the former KGB?s assets, was clearly in the dominant position and thus could set the terms of the relationship.  The first joint meeting of the heads of all CIS security services took place in March 1995 near Moscow; a coordination secretariat was set up, the Council of the Heads of Security Services and Special Forces of the CIS.    Over the following years, a number of treaties were signed formulating cooperation between the twelve countries34 in the struggle against drugs, weapons smuggling, organized crime and terrorism.  Beginning in 1997, a CIS Special Services Databank was set up, with a mechanism regulating access to confidential operational information; the first part of the data bank was completed in July 1998.  Russia also in the latter half of the 1990s increased its bilateral cooperation with its close neighbors.  In May 1997, in the framework of the plan to unite Russia and Byelorussia, the two countries set up a Russian-Byelorussian Union Security Committee, which was originally chaired by a First Deputy Director of FSB, Anatoly Safonov (see Fig. 4, above).

Cooperation continued and expanded under Vladimir Putin.  In October 1999, FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev was elected chairman of the CIS spetssluzhby Council.  In April 2000, the participants agreed to the creation of a CIS Antiterrorist Center (ATTs SNG), to be headed by FSB General Mylnikov.35  Russia pays 50% of its budget (approximately $1 million for 2002).  The Center opened in June 2000, with its operational HQ located in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and has been involved in the struggle against Central Asian radical Islamic groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).  But Russia?s relations with the different CIS states vary widely: Georgia, though officially supporting the CIS?s antiterrorist efforts, and in spite of Moscow?s pressure, has refused to allow Russian services to operate on its territory to root out Chechen rebel groups.  In February 2000 the FSB?s foremost antiterrorist expert, Vladimir Pronichev, led a delegation to Tbilisi to discuss joint actions against ?terrorists,? Chechnya border problems, and the security within Russian bases in Georgia.  Pronichev?s visit accomplished little, however, as Georgian President Shevardnadze continued to tolerate the Chechen presence in the Pankisi Valley, appearing in the company of former Chechen Vice-President Vakha Arsanov and even publicly complimenting Chechen field commander Ruslan Gelaev after his failed August 2001 raid on Abkhazia.  The US, which has backed Georgia?s resistance to Russian demands, set up in April 2002 a $65 million Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP), officially designed to boost Georgian military capacity to root out ?terrorist? and radical elements on its territory.  Neither this pretext nor a highly publicized ?cleansing operation? in the Pankisi Valley, launched by Georgian forces in August 2002 (and in fact directly coordinated between the Georgian MO and Gelaev?s aides), fooled Russia, but it could do little to interfere.  Russia was also obliged to accept an OSCE monitoring mission tasked with patrolling the Chechen-Georgian border, which made it more difficult for Moscow to invoke massive Chechen infiltrations from Georgian soil.36

Russian relations with Western and other foreign special services also follow a double dynamic of cooperation and rivalry.  Russia remains deeply suspicious of the secret services of its former enemies or of countries such as China, and the FSB is constantly discussing the activities of foreign spies on Russian soil.37  In the first year of Putin?s presidency, Russia launched two highly publicized espionage cases against Americans, both of which resulted in a prison sentence: in the first, a businessman called Edmund Pope was arrested by the FSB and accused of attempting to obtain confidential torpedo designs; in the second, John Tobbin, a young exchange student, was arrested on minor drug charges, but was rapidly accused by the FSB of conducting undercover intelligence work against Russia.  Russia itself, of course, has attempted and still attempts to conduct intelligence work abroad, both through the SVR and its rival the GRU.  Russia?s main interests in this field are economic and technological intelligence, though the usefulness of the information it may acquire is limited by Russian industry?s low capacity to absorb and develop technological innovation.  Under Putin, the SVR acquired additional means, such as the Balashikha communications station, which was transferred from FAPSI in mid-2000.  Russia?s foreign intelligence assets however have suffered from economic restrictions and, under Putin, from a realistic calculation of their relative cost and usefulness.  Thus, in 2001, Putin took the decision ? bitterly contested in Russian intelligence and military circles ? to shut down the Lourdes radioelectronic center in Cuba, once the pride of the USSR?s intelligence capabilities against its glavni protivnik, its ?main enemy.?  Lourdes? equipment, by 2000, must have been at least partly obsolete, and it was felt that economic intelligence alone could not justify the cost of maintaining the base; it officially closed in December 2001.  Putin also ordered the closure of the Russian naval base at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam, which was completed by May 2002.38  

Deeply entrenched Cold War reflexes, however, do not prevent the Russian security organs from cooperating and exchanging information with their Western counterparts.  Beyond the fields of organized crime, drug and weapon trafficking, and nuclear proliferation, Russia had already in the 1990s been cooperating with the West on the question of terrorism.39  In 2000, when Putin came to power, the FSB and other services had developed close contacts with their US counterparts: both George Tenet, the Director of CIA, and Louis Freeh, the Director of FBI, visited Moscow that year for high-level meetings.  FBI officials based in Moscow also worked closely with GUBOP and other structures to help solve the kidnapping of several Americans in the North Caucasus.  In October 2000, a Russia-US working group on countering terrorist threats in Afghanistan met in Moscow; as a follow-up, Russia organized an anti-terrorist group composed of FSB, SVR, FPS and MO personnel, which continued to work with the Americans.  September 11 of course came as a blessing for Putin, whose international position had been damaged by the ongoing Chechen conflict: Putin immediately recast Chechnya as a ?haven of international terrorists? and pledged Russia?s full support for the US-led ?War against Terror.?  The Russian services, though sometimes reluctantly, were obliged to follow Putin?s lead, and provided the US with a great deal of hard intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Afghanistan (Russia also acquiesced to American use of air bases in Central Asia, in spite of the risk that a US military presence there could well become permanent; as of this writing, the US military has been made to leave Uzbekistan, but retains a base in Kyrgyzstan).  In return, the US effectively gave Russia a blank check to solve its Chechnya problem, and most of Europe followed suit.  Cooperation, however, has again grown strained since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, which Russia strongly opposed.


Getting control over the MVD, whose central apparatus was a bastion of support for the Yeltsin ?Family,? and whose regional structures were for the most part infeodated to the local governors, was another priority for Putin.  Once again he moved slowly, waiting over a year to dismiss Rushaïlo.  The man he selected to replace him, in March 2001, was not a member of his inner circle, nor even a silovik, but rather a proeminent St.-Petersburg politician who had played a key role in creating the pro-Putin party Edinstvo and who now headed the ?United Russia? fraction in the Duma, Boris Gryzlov.  Gryzlov, in his quest to reform the MVD, built on the work of his predecessors, especially on the plans drawn up but never implemented by Stepashin in 1998; at the same time, the changes drew on the new structures created by Putin, especially the Federal okrugs.  In June 2001, Putin decreed the creation of an okrug-level police administration, a GUVD to be headed by an MVD Colonel-General, most of whom were recruited in the following months from various regional internal affairs department.40  The heads of the oblast UVDs or republican MVDs now report directly to the okrug GUVDs, which has weakened their transversal links to the governors; in addition, the President together with the central ministry took full control of all senior appointments down to the regional level.  Regional police chiefs, as Petrov writes, were henceforth ?to give up their horizontal coordination with the governors in favor of vertical subordination to the Ministry in Moscow.?  Local governors maintained responsibilities in regard to street crime and public order, but lost all control over the ?crime-fighting? bloc, united by Gryzlov into the SKM (Criminal Police Service) Stepashin had dreamed of, to which are now subordinated GUUR, GUBEP and GUBOP (i.e. regular, economic and organized crime police ? see Fig. 6 above).  This system was further strengthened by the introduction within the okrug GUVDs of RUURs and RUBEPs to mirror the existing RUBOPs.  It should be noted that Gryzlov, upon discovering the extent of corruption at GUBOP, made several public announcements about dissolving this ?unreformable? structure altogether; GUBOP and the RUBOPs, however, survived, even though Gryzlov formally ordered them disbanded in August 2001.  It seems that the twelve existing RUBOPs were indeed broken up and that their assets and staff were used as a basis for the formation of the GUVDs; Petrov explains that in their place, seven ?operative-investigative bureaus attached to GUVD? were set up.  However, there are now still seven RUBOPs functioning within the GUVDs, proving, if nothing else, the profound resilience of bureaucratic structures in Russia.

Beginning in 2001, plans for a drastic overall reform of MVD were put forward.  The MVD, at this point composed of thirty-seven main directorates and directorates, would be divided into three agencies respectively in charge of criminal police, order police, and internal order (the VV).  Public order police functions would be taken over by municipal police forces, under the administrative and budgetary responsibility of the regional authorities.  The central ministry would retain control over a Federal Police which would include the ?criminal bloc? as well as the formerly autonomous Federal Migration Service, placed under MVD in 2002.  Finally, the VV MVD, also under central control, would be renamed the Federal Guard; while their troop levels would be reduced, their special purpose units would be strengthened and their functions would include suppressing riots, fighting illegal armed formations, and law enforcement activities.41  It seems however that strong resistance to this plan has been hindering its implementation.  As of this writing, the MVD has indeed been once again restructured, on November 18, 2004, but into fifteen departments, four byuro, and a Sledtsvennie kommitet in charge of the pretrial investigation of criminal cases (instruction in French).  Both GUUR and GUOOP (the public order police) have become Departments bearing the same name; GUBOP has become, as described above, the DBOPT, with the struggle against terrorism being added to its anti-organized crime functions.  Finally, GUBEP, which after the dissolution of the FSNP in March 2003 (see below) became GUBENP (Main Directorate for the Struggle against Economic and Tax Crimes), was rebaptized DEB (Department for Economic Security, just like its FSB counterpart ? which however in turn became a Service, SEB).  While the move from thirty-seven to twenty administrative subdivisions can be considered a form of progress, it remains far in both letter and spirit from the ?Western-style, modernizing? reforms so loudly touted by Gryzlov and his colleagues.

Another very public topic under Gryzlov?s leadership was corruption within the MVD, and upon taking over the ministry he rapidly launched a number of highly advertised campaigns against what soon became known as the ?werewolves in epaulets,? resulting in some cases in the purge of entire departments.  To lead his anticorruption efforts, Gryzlov brought into the MVD a number of senior FSB officials, including Maj.-Gen. Konstantin Romodanovsky, a career KGB 5. Directorate officer, who took over the MVD?s Department of Internal Security; he also promoted his Deputy Minister Col.-Gen. Rashid Nurgaliev, another FSB transfer overseeing the MVD?s Inspection Directorate since 2000, to First Deputy Interior Minister in charge of SKM.  As of this writing, however, and in spite of numerous dismissals and arrests, Gryzlov?s efforts in the struggle against MVD corruption seem to have borne as little success as Kulikov?s or Stepashin?s.  It has however allowed Putin and the FSB to secure their hold over the MVD, by removing a great many stubborn officials.  Putin?s nomination of the FSB?s Nurgaliev to succeed Gryzlov, in March 2004, can be seen as the logical continuation of this process.

The 2003 reforms and after

The major reforms of the security organs initiated in March 2003 were the culmination of several years of bureaucratic infighting.  In 1999 already, a document produced by a Duma commission on national security mostly staffed by Rushaïlo protégés had proposed ?... to unify the Russian security services on the basis of the MVD, which has been subject to the least amount of ?reform? in recent years and as a result not only preserved but substantially raised its operational capabilities.?42  In 2000-2001, FSB director Patrushev reportedly proposed to bring the SVR and the FSO (Federal Guards Service) under the FSB, a project that was sharply opposed by Sergei Ivanov, then still Secretary of the Security Council.  At the same time, some media speculated that Putin, backed by Ivanov, would move to merge the GRU and the SVR, in order to create a ?super-intelligence service? that would serve as a counterweight to the FSB (the rumors partly arose, after Ivanov?s nomination as Defense Minister, from his having named several SVR generals to the GRU collegium, as well as from his own SVR background).  The decision made public by Putin in March 2003 adopted none of these ideas or proposals.  According to Putin?s decree (see Fig. 8 below), the FSP (Federal Border Guards Service) was incorporated into the FSB; FAPSI was abolished and its resources shared out between the FSB, FSO and GRU; the samostoyatelnyi FSNP (Federal Tax Police Service) was also abolished, with its functions being taken over by a new vedomstvennyi FSENP (Federal Service for Economic & Tax Crimes) within MVD, while its personnel and physical assets (buildings, vehicles, etc.) went to form a new samostoyatelnyi special service, the GKKN (State Committee for Controlling the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Trade), to be headed by Putin?s close ally Viktor Cherkesov.

Image2The final form of the reforms was obviously the result of a great deal of horse-trading.43  The most bitterly contested assets were FAPSI?s.  In the original plan, reportedly, the former KGB 8. & 16. Directories (for radioelectronic intelligence and counterintelligence) were to be given to the MO (Ministry of Defense), coming under GRU though as support to SVR.  The FSB, on its side, would get the fundamental basis of FAPSI: all its telephone, mobile telephone and internet assets, and all the secure government communications assets, including the GAS ?Vybory.?  The strategic importance of the computerized ?Vybory? system for transmitting election results had been publicly made clear back in 2000 when the outgoing governor of Kursk oblast, Aleksandr Rutskoi, whose re-election bid was strongly opposed by the Kremlin, openly accused FAPSI of orchestrating his defeat.  The FSB was also to inherit from FAPSI its cryptography and deciphering departments, and the legal right to conduct foreign intelligence.  However the FSO and its powerful chief, the ?Petersburger? Maj.-Gen. Yevgeny Murov, backed by his deputy and head of SBP Viktor Zolotov, weighed in and were able to secure a renegotiation of the division of spoils that took the FSO?s interests into account.  In the end, the FSO got a cut from both the MO and FSB, taking over one of FAPSI?s main functions: ?to ensure the exploitation, security, development and improvement of the system for special information for the government organs.?44  The FSO?s new SSSI (Service for Special Communications and Information), placed under a Deputy Director, includes a directorate in charge of managing government communications, another one for government military communications, a Main Directorate for Information Resources, a Main Directorate for Information Systems (which includes pre-electoral monitoring and the GAS ?Vybory?), and also inherited some FAPSI infrastructure, the Orlov Academy, and the Voronezh Institute.  Simultaneously, the FSO was beginning to play an active role in the budding campaign to secure Putin?s March 2004 re-election, role which may explain the final attribution of the ?Vybory? system.  At the time Murov secured this victory over his rivals, the FSO was slowly regaining its once-powerful position.  Under Murov, FSO officials had again become very active in business projects, and the FSO had been involved in a number of shady customs deals.  Furthermore, the FSO was not only serving the interests of Vladimir Putin and the Presidential Administration: in August 2005, Izvestia reported that the FSO had played a role in the controversial privatization of two multi-million-dollar state-owned villas by former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and oligarch Mikhail Fridman.  An FSO Deputy Director, Anatoly Protsenko, who had signed one of the key agreements in the dubious transaction, was hired after his retirement in 2004 by Fridman?s Alfa Group, to head its subsidiary Alfa Telecom.45.

The absorption of the FSP by the FSB, as a samostoyatelnyi (within FSB) service under the control of First Deputy Director Vladimir Pronichev (see Fig. 7 above), made the FSB into the second largest armed formation in the country after the Army.  It also increased the FSB?s role in antiterrorism, as the pogranvoïska were granted additional prerogatives in this field.  The merger also gave the FSB additional intelligence capacity when it took over the FSP?s intelligence department.  

The dissolution of the FSNP and the subordination of tax enforcement functions to MVD appears as a logical move, all the more so as the FSNP had developed a powerful reputation for corruption and inefficiency.  The MVD?s new FSENP was placed under the control of yet another FSB ?Petersburger,? Lt.-Gen. Sergei Verevkin-Rokhalskiy, a career regional KGB/FSB head who like Ugryumov had been involved in the Pasko case; in April 2000, Putin had named him Deputy Minister for Taxes and Levies, and a year later Deputy (later First Deputy) Head of the FSNP.  The outgoing and little-known head of the FSNP, Mikhail Fradkov, did not entirely disappear from public view: after a year as Russia?s Plenipotentiary Representative to the EU, he was named in February 2004, to considerable public astonishment, Prime Minister of Russia in place of Mikhail Kasyanov.

The creation of the GKKN was the biggest surprise of all.  Both the MVD and the FSB already had anti-narcotics department, though the 7,000 staff of the MVD?s GUBNON were transferred to the GKKN to supplement the 30,000 employees acquired from the FSNP.  While Putin officially justified the new agency by Russia?s pressing need to intensify its struggle against the drug trade, observers speculated that its creation might have had as much to do with boosting Cherkesov?s personal position.  Cherkesov, who studied law with Putin and gained much notoriety persecuting dissidents as an official of the Leningrad UKGB?s 5. Directorate, is one of Putin?s closest and most reliable allies.  After eight years as the head of the St-Petersburg UFSB (during which he orchestrated the prosecution of the environmentalist Aleksandr Nikitin), Cherkesov worked at the start of 2000 within Putin?s presidential campaign staff; after the election, he was named PolPred for the North-West Federal okrug, one of two ?chekists? appointed to this position.  Petrov interprets Cherkesov?s 2003 GKKN appointment as ?the first signal of a return of the siloviki from the federal reform to the security reform.  It may be taken as evidence that the main part of the federal reform, linked to the reconnection of the power ministries, has been successfully accomplished and the regrouping of the ?old guard? has begun, with its transfer to the new major area of development.?46  Mukhin notes that the appointment allows Cherkesov to report directly to Putin, bringing him to the same level as Patrushev and Gryzlov (the PolPredy report to the Presidential Administration, though this does not mean that Cherkesov did not have personal contact with the President), and suggests that Cherkesov may be gunning for either of their jobs, at which point the GKKN, having served its purpose, would be dissolved.  Be as it may Putin has created with the GKKN (since renamed FSKN, Federal Service for Controlling the Narcotics Trade) ?a powerful new special service with broad powers of intelligence and counterintelligence,? a ?superdepartment? comparable, according to Itogi, to the American FBI.47  The FSKN is not only tasked with chasing drug smugglers and dealers but has also been given control over the highly lucrative legal pharmaceutical trade in narcotics (whose main players include Roman Abramovich, the AFK Sistema and a number of foreign companies), as it has the power to dissolve, through the court system, any firm found dealing in the illegal drug trade.  To date, though, the FSKN?s only publicized actions have involved arresting veterinarians who were using the drug Ketamin to operate on pets, and ?chasing ? dacha poppy-growers to pad its arrest statistics.?48  In one major incident, a FSKN office was attacked by Islamic militants in Nalchik in December 2004, and four employees were killed, the office?s arsenal was looted, and the building was set on fire; it is not known however if the FSKN was targeted because of its specific responsibilities, or was just caught up in the militants? general struggle against the authorities.  In September 2005, an independent study conducted by the Moscow Helsinki Group, a human rights organization, and Indem, an anti-corruption think tank, concluded that ?The [FSKN] is opaque and prone to corruption, while its rank-and-file staff lack any clear-cut mission and often commit abuses.?49 ?One of the main conclusions we arrived at is that the [FSKN]?s focus is not on undermining the financial foundation of the illegal market, as the president instructed it to be, or on preventing drug use from spreading, rehabilitating drug users or coordinating all of these efforts,? stated one of the report?s co-authors, Lev Levinson.  ?It is focusing on cracking down on so-called drug crimes.?  The FSKN responded to the criticism by forcing Interfax to remove an article about the report from its web site, and by threatening to take the two groups to court.

The persistent reports that Putin would move to create a unified security bloc were thus not realized.  The chief result of the reforms was essentially further conflict between the special services: the FSB and FSO were at odds over FAPSI, and the MVD and the GKKN/FSKN over the FSNP; as for the GRU?s interests, they had hardly been taken into account, and the assets it obtained from FAPSI were minor.50  (Sergei Ivanov?s position however was substantially reinforced by a parallel reform thanks to which he gained full control over all Russian arms sales.  He granted an important position in this field to the outgoing director of FAPSI, Col.-Gen. Vladimir Matyukhin, whom he made a First Deputy Defense Minister in charge of a new State Committee for State Defense Orders under the MO.)  The reforms also demonstrated what Petrov describes as Putin?s preference for restructuring or creating new bodies ?from the materials at hand? (as had already been done when GKU cadres were used to form the staff of the PolPredy, or when RUBOP?s assets were used to set up the GUVDs):

It proved quicker and more effective when such restructuring was carried out not from within but from without.  Such tactics are wholly compatible with the logic of the security services.  There is no room here for a lengthy coordination of interests, a complex balance of forces or for nuances ? there is either something that is ?ours? and fully under control or something that is ?not ours.?51

A further round of reforms was undertaken over the summer of 2004 (see Fig. 8 above, and for the FSB in particular, Fig. 9, below).  The command structure of the central apparatuses of the FSB and the MChS, and a week later of the MVD, were considerably reworked and streamlined.  In all cases, the number of Deputy Directors or Deputy Ministers supervising various departments was dramatically slashed.  The central staffs were restructured and, in the case of MVD, reduced by 20%; salaries were raised.  The organization of departments and directorates was also overhauled once again, with a number of departments being made into ?services,? a transformation that either brought little more than a change in leadership or proved entirely cosmetic.  A September 2004 analysis of the implementation of Putin?s decree within the FSB concludes that most of the reforms amount to a ?facelift.?52  Serious changes have only touched a few branches.  The 2. Department for the Protection of the Constitution and the Struggle against Terrorism (now the Service for the Protection etc.), in addition to having its leadership reshuffled, received a new subdivision, the Directorate for the Struggle against International Terrorism, in Soldatov?s words an ?innovation [that] comes in response to the ongoing search for an external enemy.?  The Military Counterintelligence Department has lost its samostoyatelnyi status to become a Directorate subordinated, under its new chief Col.-Gen. Aleksandr Bezverkhny, to the new Counterintelligence Service; this Service, still headed by Col.-Gen. Oleg Syromolotov, has in return lost the Computer & Information Security Directorate (UKIB), which has become a samostoyatelnyi Center for Information Security.  The FPS, finally, still under the control of First Deputy Director Vladimir Pronichev, is continuing to undergo reform of its regional structure, ?moving from the linear principle of border protection to point/area protection.?  The FPS?s ten regional directorates will be reduced to seven, one in each Federal okrug, and each further subdivided into two or three territorial directorates.  In addition to these changes, a new Science and Technical Service was created, and the former Inspection Directorate has now become an even more powerful Control Service, taking under its umbrella a number of directorates from the former 7. Department for Operational Support Services; it is headed by the former chief of the 2. Department, Ugryumov?s successor Aleksandr Zhdankov, who in turn has been replaced at the helm of the antiterrorism service by Aleksandr Bragin.  Another rising star of the FSB is its new First Deputy Director Lt.-Gen Sergei Smirnov, former head of the Internal Security Directorate and of the St.-Petersburg & Leningrad oblast UFSB, who is widely rumored to be first in line to replace Patrushev if this latter is promoted to a deputy minister position.

The overall impression left by these changes, especially the reduction in the number of deputy directors, is that the services are grappling with serious command-and-control issues, and are seeking to tighten central control by narrowing a broad horizontal organizational scheme into a smaller number of vertical lines.  There is evidence to suggest that the problem of internal insubordination is a serious one: in the case of the FSB at least, the central apparatus?s control over some of its regional directorates has proved markedly tenuous.  It remains unclear however whether this problem mainly concerns the North Caucasus UFSBs, or other ?Russian? directorates as well.  Though in the Southern ?ethnic republics,? like everywhere else, the UFSB chief is, if not an ethnic Russian, at least a native of a different region than the one where he serves, these particular directorates (and probably those in Tatarstan and Bachkortostan as well) are heavily staffed by native personnel.  While it is impossible to argue that native officials? degree of corruption and collusion with local criminal structures is any worse than that of their Russian colleagues, they are certainly enmeshed within family or clanic networks that generate a powerful set of alternative pressures, pressures over which the FSB has little hold and which produce a high level of individual initiative, whether in the best interests of the service or not.  Whether, in turn, the occasional blatant obstruction of Moscow?s directives by the UFSB chiefs is due to their own involvement in illegal activity, or to a bureaucratic urge to protect themselves by covering up the errors of their wayward subordinates, is impossible to assess.  The problem is even worse within the ethnic republics? MVDs, where Moscow in spite of all the reforms is still struggling to overcome the principle of ?ethnic appointment;? there, it has proved far more difficult to extricate police chiefs profoundly imbedded in the local social fabric from the influence of regional political players, making these ?ethnic? republics some of the last bastions of resistance to the security reforms.53  



The problems just evoked are part of a much broader pattern.  It is probably fair to state that the massive corruption of state officials, or more precisely the extraordinary degree of privatization of bureaucratic powers and of governmental decision-making processes, is the greatest problem now facing Russia and those who seek to rule it.  Lennart Dalgren, the Russia director of the Swedish firm ?IKEA,? provoked a major scandal in December 2004 by stating out loud what everybody knows: ?The problem is that the entire system is based on corruption.?  And the Yukos affair, as a major French daily writes, seems to have only intensified the problem, ?inciting numerous civil servants, in the depths of Russia?s regions, to adopt an even more predatory behavior.?54  No matter how well intentioned any of the government?s reforms, they are systematically undermined by the private interests of those tasked with executing them; and the refusal to allow any form of external supervision, be it parliamentary oversight, journalistic freedom or a strong civil society, only compounds the crisis.  It is a basic axiom of institutional sociology that no bureaucracy can reform itself; but Putin and his close entourage seem, in their drive for the establishment of a ?vertical of power,? to have forgotten this fundamental principle.  It is not that the Kremlin is unaware of the problem, or does not perceive the danger it poses.  The seniormost officials of the government regularly castigate official corruption, and the major administrative reforms spearheaded by Putin?s aide Dmitri Kozak have been presented as a step towards a solution.  However, as Elena Panfilova, the head of the Russian branch of Transparency International, argues in a recent interview, ?the regime, by emphasizing the restoration of the State and by increasing the number of civil servants and of federal agencies, has worsened corruption. [?] The days of valises full of bills is [indeed] more or less over.  Now, corruption is organized by firms of ?consultants? who work completely openly.?55  Having failed to answer the old question shto dyelat? (?What is to be done??), the Kremlin, typically, turned to kto vinovat? (?Who?s to blame??).  It seems inevitable that the security elite currently holding power would seek to shift the blame away from a purportedly ?clean and professional FSB, staffed by the cream of modern Russia,? onto the shoulders of its traditional rival, the ?corrupt MVD? haunted by ?werewolves in epaulets.?  This was all the easier as hardly a single adult Russian has not been a victim of police corruption, if only at the hands of the traffic police or the ID office, whereas the FSB benefits from its invisibility: few ordinary citizens have ever had direct contact with the institution, and thus have any personal experience of its current practices.  And ordinary Russians are not the only ones to buy into the FSB?s self-image; Zbigniew Brzezinski, no friend of the current regime, was not afraid to declare in a recent interview: ?The political elite ? has its roots in the finest flower of the KGB, the best selected, educated, trained and the most privileged.?56  The special services and especially the FSB are thus presented as the solution to Russia?s woes rather than a part of them, an image that goes back to Andropov ? probably Putin?s greatest ideological influence.  Yet this image of course is a pure fiction.  Several cases leaked to the press over the past few years have hinted at the degree of high-level corruption within the FSB.  In the fall of 2001, for instance, the General Procuratura initiated a criminal case against senior customs officials accused of demanding a $5 million bribe from the owner of two furniture importing companies, ?Tri Kita? and ?Grand.?  The Customs service, in retaliation, charged the companies with fraud and non-payment of import duties; and the case then snowballed when the press revealed that the companies involved in the scam were managed and partly owned by the FSB?s senior-most economist, Deputy Director Yuri Zaostrovtsev.  No action of course was taken against Zaostrovtsev, who continued to run the FSB?s DEB until the spring of 2004 when he retired to become Vice-President of ?Vneshekonombank.?  Mikhail Fradkov, the Prime Minister, has also recently alluded publicly to problems with the FSB?s practices in the economic realm.  In a January 2005 speech in which he urged senior FSB officials to help improve the country?s investment climate, he ?discouraged the FSB from favoring certain companies, saying that some intelligence officers do so to give their private businesses an edge. ?We are going to fight this just like we fight corruption,? he said.?  Following this speech, a former senior FSB official elaborated on the problem in an interview with Izvestia: ??The problem is that both the Interior Ministry and the FSB provide turnkey services, since both have investigative and operational branches and thus can ?close? a rival and seize his business.? [?] Such broad powers have been used by corrupt officers to open investigations into businesses to extract bribes or to help one business seize another in exchange for a large payoff.?57  

It is of course conceivable that Vladimir Putin actually believes the rhetoric deployed by his FSB cronies; possible that he is ill-informed about the true state of things.  This would not be so surprising in a man who, in his first major interviews as President, admitted that from his earliest childhood he dreamed of joining the KGB: ?I went to work for the agencies with a romantic image of what they did,? an image developed by reading Soviet spy novels and watching films such as The Sword and the Shield.58  The late Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, in his last interview, publicly tried to warn him: concerning Chechnya at least, ?Putin has been profoundly misinformed? by the Russian security services, top Russian generals, and his aides.  ?There is a well-established practice in the army of reporting what your superior wants to hear from you,? Maskhadov said, suggesting ?that Russian intelligence probably operates according to a similar practice.?59  Putin, of course, had no interest in such a message; a few days later, Maskhadov was dead, killed either by the FSB or the Kadyrovtsi.

Maskhadov, in his statement, was probably being deliberately naïve; for it seems far more likely that Putin is fully aware of the extent of the problems rotting away his cherished services.  He openly admitted so during his painful and awkward September 2005 meeting with the mothers of several children killed at Beslan: ??I must say immediately: I agree with those who believe that the state is not in a condition to provide for the security of its citizens to the extent necessary,? Putin said. [?]  He added that the military and intelligence services had been ?knocked out? and were ?in a state of partial paralysis? after the Soviet collapse and the first war in Chechnya.?60  But Putin is also aware that there is little he can do to remedy this.  The dynamics he has set in motion force him more and more to rely on the security organs to guarantee his power, a power that in the past year has shown itself far more fragile than most observers suspected.  Yet it is not by tolerating the services? corruption and abuses, and by fatally weakening every element of society or state not under his direct control that might serve as a check on them, that Putin will achieve his stated ambitions, as limited as these might appear to some.  

Secret services, by nature, are a tool, considered necessary by the modern State, and they directly reflects the level of that State?s development.  The problem of Russia?s security organs are the problems of the development of the Russian State as a whole, problems that have never found an adequate solution, not under tsarism, not under communism, and not under the present ?democratic? arrangements.  Unless Putin can solve the overall and pressing question of the relations between the Russian State and the Russian people ? and there is little indication that he will or even wishes to ? he will never have at his disposal special services capable of more than persecuting ecologists, journalists and academics in the name of protecting state secrets, looting the country?s wealth and crippling its potential for economic development in the name of fighting organized crime and corruption, and resorting to death squads and assassinations in order to solve grave and complex social, political and economic problems.

Footnotes :

1 See on this topic Favarel-Garrigues & Rousselet, La société russe en quête d?ordre.
2 Duparc, ?La place des oligarques au centre des interrogations sur le pouvoir Poutine,? Le Monde, 28.03.00 
3 Russia sought Berezovsky?s extradition in 2003, but he convinced a British court he would never be allowed a fair trial ? a reasonable argument ? and was granted political asylum in the U.K.  There is reason to believe that Berezovsky had long been planning his back-door in case things went sour, and leveraged his 1998 liberation of two British hostages held for 15 months in Chechnya, for whom he paid one and a half million dollars out of his pocket, to secure guarantees from the British government, in effect buying himself an expensive but secure permanent visa.  Berezovsky, in exile, helped found an anti-Putin political party, ?Liberal Russia;? publicly accused the FSB of organizing the Moscow terrorist bombings; provides financial support for a number of other exiles such as Litvinenko and Akhmad Zakaev; and in general keeps up his sniping at the Kremlin, while quietly working to secure, protect and even expand the remains of his business empire.
4 The governors were swiftly weakened by losing their place on the Federation Council; in 2004, Putin finally gained full control over them by abolishing gubernatorial elections and granting himself the power to name governors directly.  But this question, and the even broader one of Russian federalism, lies beyond the scope of this study.  See for ex. Mendras, Comment fonctionne la Russie ?
5 Cf. Petrov, ?The Security Dimension of Federal Reforms.?  Over 50% of the new Chief Federal Inspectors come from the KGB/FSB complex; ibid., pp. 14-16.
6 These and following citations, until noted, from Petrov, ibid., pp. 1-3.  Petrov?s illuminating article provide extensive data and examples concerning cadre replacement and rotations within the security organs.
7 Petrov, ?The Federation Reform and the Staffing of the Government Service.?
8 The Russian sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya has systematically studied this process, building up an extensive data base as part of her research.
9 As an example, Viktor Ivanenko, Director of the AFB in 1991, became Vice-President of NK ?Yukos? between 1993 and 1998.
10 Mukhin, op.cit., pp. 17 and passim for lists of names.
11 Petrov, ?The Security Dimension of Federal Reforms,? p. 23.
12 Bennett, ?Vladimir Putin & Russia?s Special Services,? p. 14.
14 Preobrazhensky, ?FSB in charge,? The Moscow Times, 20.03.01.
15 ?Who's really running Russia's Chechnya operation?,?, 31.07.03.
16 See, in Russian, the article ?UFSB po Chechenskoï Respublike,? available at, as well as Soldatov, ?FSB Reform.?  Zachistki, disappearances, illegal executions, and resale of prisoners and of corpses by the Federal Forces in Chechnya and neighboring republics are extensively documented by human rights organizations such as HRW or Memorial, whose reports have been partially corroborated by the Chechen administration of A. Kadyrov and A. Alkhanov.
17 Cf. 31.03.04, available at
18 See Bennett, ?Vladimir Putin & Russia?s Special Services,? p. 18 and p. 30, and his ?FAPSI,? pp. 20-21.
19 ?Court Issues Free Pass to Kill Civilians,? The Moscow Times editorial, 24.05.05.
20 Most of these journalists worked for either Moskovskie Novosti or Novaya Gazeta.  See in the bibliography the articles by Izmailov, Kaliyev, Khadikov, and Shermatova & Nikitinsky.
21 As an example, we could cite the following incident which occurred in the spring of 2000 near Alkhan-Kala: an MO checkpoint sold weapons and ammunition to Chechen rebels, on condition that they only attack the MVD checkpoint down the road; when the hapless MVD soldiers, under fire, radioed for reinforcements, the Army troops failed to respond (personal communication to the author).
22 Personal communication to the author.
23 Cf. the articles referred to above.  Such a vast sum of money, $12 million vs. the $10 million offered by the hapless engineers? employers, was of course not spent only for propaganda purposes.  Baraev was closely linked to Salavdi Abdurzakov, the owner of the Chechen mobile phone company BiTel, whose lucrative monopoly the Granger engineers were threatening.  Abdurzakov?s system, as discussed earlier, worked through a FAPSI satellite, and while some FAPSI generals certainly had a personal stake in the matter, the special services also had a genuine security interest in being able to easily monitor Chechen mobile phone communications.  It should also be noted that some sources hold that two of the murdered engineers were in fact undercover British agents.  If indeed the FSB, on its own or together with other services, ?bid? for the engineers? deaths, the decision-making process must have been influenced as much by private, commercial considerations as by operational and political ones, illustrating the inextricable mingling of all these levels in the Chechen kidnapping business.
24 This account has been compiled from numerous media reports as well as personal information of the author.
25 Dunlop, ?The October 2002 Moscow Hostage-Taking Incident.?
26 Milashina, ?Kto I kak prinimal resheniya v Beslane,? Novaya Gazeta, 15.04.05, as well as ?Report: Beslan HQ was Run by Others,? The Moscow Times, 15.04.05.
28 Bennett, ?Vladimir Putin & Russia?s Special Services,? p. 15.
29 Ibid., p. 21-22.
30 ?Russian Spies, They?ve Got Mail,? Washington Post, 06.03.02.
31 All following information and citations, unless noted, from Bennett, ?Vladimir Putin & Russia?s Special Services,? pp. 15-16.
32 ?Fradkov Asks Spies for Economic Aid,? The Moscow Times, 31.01.05.
33 All information until noted from Bennett, ?The FSB,? pp. 31-33, which provides a more detailed discussion.
34 Of the fifteen original Soviet Republics, the three Baltic states refused to join the CIS.
35 Information until noted from Bennett, ?Vladimir Putin & Russia?s Special Services,? pp. 31-36, which provides a more detailed discussion.
36 According to reliable Chechen sources, most of the movements of Chechen fighters between Georgia and Russia took place through bribed Russian checkpoints, in vehicles, rather than on foot over the mountains.
37 For a discussion of foreign intelligence activities in the Caucasus, strongly reflecting the official FSB viewpoint, see the first article in Mukhin, Deyatel?nost? Spetssluzhb v Rossii.
38 See Bennett, ?Vladimir Putin & Russia?s Special Services,? pp. 19-20.
39 Information from ibid., pp. 36-37.
40 Information and quotes from Petrov, op.cit., p. 8.
41 See Petrov, op.cit., p. 9.
42 Cited in Kaliyev, ?Can ?Power Ministries? be Reformed?? p. 2.
43 See Mukhin, Deyatel?nost? Spetssluzhb v Rossii, second article.
44 Kommersant, 26.03.03, cited in ibid., p. 15.
45 ?Federal Guard Service Linked to Kasyanov Case,? The Moscow Times, 02.08.05.
46 Petrov, op.cit., p. 23.
47 Mukhin, ibid., pp. 18-19.
48 Yablokova, Oksana, ?Drug Enforcers Sharply Criticized,? The Moscow Times, 21.09.05.
49 This and following citations from ibid.
50 Mukhin, ibid., p. 21.
51 Petrov, op.cit., p. 4.
52 Quotations and most information in the following paragraph from Soldatov, ?FSB Reform;? some information from
53 According to Petrov, op.cit., pp. 11-12, ?the proportion of ?locals? to ?outsiders? among the regional police chiefs in predominantly Russian regions was 1:1, in the ethnic republic and districts ? almost 4:1. [?] Now the ratio is 1:1 in the ethnic republics and districts and one local to two foreigners in other regions.?
54 ?Business Russe,? Le Monde, 24.02.05.
55 Ibid.
56 Le Vif/L?Express, 04.03.05.
57 ?Fradkov asks Spies for Economic Aid,? The Moscow Times, 31.01.05, and ?Police Force Gets a Dressing Down,? The Moscow Times, 17.02.05.
58 Putin, First Person, pp. 22-23 and 41-43.
59 ?Chechen Leader Gives Exclusive Interview to RFE/RL,? RFE/RL, 07.03.05.
60 Medetsky, Anatoly, and Schreck, Karl, ?Mothers Win Pledge but No Apology,? The Moscow Times, 05.09.05

To quote this document :

, "The Security Organs of the Russian Federation (Part IV)", 
Post-Soviet Armies Newsletter,