Putin’s KGB colleagues unleashed war for the authority and resources
Criminal proceedings initiated against officials of the Federal Narcotics Control Service (FNCS) picks up steam. The case is said to be the result of the infighting between siloviks closely tied to Putin: the chief of the FSB Nikolai Patrushev and the head of the Federal Narcotics Control Service Victor Cherkesov. The General Prosecutor’s office brought a charge against General Alexander Bulbov, the chief of the operations support department, under several articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is suspected of divulgation of state secrets, abuse of power and exceeding his commission, illegal entrepreneurial activity, bribe taking and illicit telephone bugging.
According to the investigation the General accepted big bribes from businessmen for “general protection” and expended some on bugging of telephone conversations of nationals and organizations with the help of Mikhail Yanykin, head of the police department responsible for wiretapping and covert videotaping operations. The investigation supposes that Yanykin has been paid $50 000 per month for each telephone number. The General is also suspected of requiring from businessmen $4 000 per months.
High-ranking officials General Bulbov, Yuri Geval, deputy head of the service’s internal security department, and two other officers of the criminal investigation department were detained in the beginning October on suspicion of establishing an illicit telephone bagging.
The case was launched on June 15. Later the case of Yanykin and FNCS were joined. The investigation was extended till December 15.
Violation of the law by high-ranking officials is usually an occasion but not the true reason for a criminal prosecution against them. The FNCS officials tell about the revenge of the FSB.
Bulbov was involved in a corruption investigation into the Moscow furniture store Tri Kita (lit. Three Whales). Some senior FSB officials were alleged to be involved in the business. Cherkesov's agency took an active part in the investigation, which led to the ousters of several high-ranking officials of the FSB and the Prosecutor General's office last year, and now the FSB has struck back. The other case is proceedings against smuggling of cheap China wares on FSB storage facilities. The president Vladimir Putin personally entrusted these case to Cherkesov’s service. The FSB doesn’t like the increasing influence of Cherkeson on Putin.
In the upshot the pressure of Patrushev’s agency on the FNCS became so strong that Victor Cherkesov, who is said to have longtime personal ties to President Vladimir Putin had to response in press. In the article published in the Kommersant daily he mentioned the case of “Tri Kita” store and acknowledged that among siloviks there was a sharp struggle for influence and sources. He claimed that in the FSB people with their own business interests had appeared and that they broke norms of the “chekist society” unleashing “war of all against all”. According to Sherkesov, this threatens with demolition of the corporation and hence with breakdown of the country, since, in his opinion, exactly chekists have saved the country from collapse in the 90s.
On the other hand it becomes obvious that the so-called siloviki don’t form a united monolith which supports “the bloody regime”. Quite the contrary, this is several rival groups headed by officials more or less close to the president. The preponderance is determined by the intimacy of these relations. As a rule these people are former course mates of the president (Cherkesov, Bastrykin), his former colleagues from the KGB or the External Intelligence Service (Cherkesov, Patrushev, Sergei Ivanov, Andrei Belyanionov, Victor Ivanov, Sergei Chemezov), people who have worked together with him in the St. Petersburg city administration (Igor Sechin). There are also siloviks of the second rank, this is Yuri Chaika who has lost most of his authority and Mikhail Fradkov recently appointed on the position of the head of the External Intelligence Service.