GAK vs. NAK
Vladimir Putin has interfered in the “war of the siloviki” and has changed the alignment of forces among the antagonistic groups. The chief of the the FSKN [Federal service for control of narcotics] will head a new State Antinarcotics Committee [GAK] which has been established by Pitin’s decree. The new Committee is to become a very serious structure; its organization will be similar to that of the National Antiterrorist Committee of Nikolai Patrushev, the main enemy of Cherkesov’s agency.
Seven federal ministries will enter the GAK (heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, etc.), chiefs of fourteen federal services (from the FSB and Rosfinmonitoring up to Rosstat and Rossport). In the Committee there will be necessarily also a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both chambers of the Federal Assembly will also assign vice-speakers in the new committee. The Kremlin will send to the GAK a deputy secretary of the Security Council and the head of the Presidential Control Directorate. Besides that special “antinarcotics commissions” are established in each constituent entity of the Federation. These commissions will be headed by governors and are designed to support the Committee on the local level. The governors also have right to initiate the establishment of antinarcotics commissions on the level of the local government.
It is remarkable, that Putin made Cherkesov the head of a new special service in two days after he had disapprovingly spoken on the publishing of Cherkesov’s article in the “Kommersant” daily. The article was a reaction on detainments and arrests of some officers of Cherkesov’s agency. Putin called Cherkesov’s behavior “incorrect” and hinted that the very head of the FSKN had a finger in the pie. “If somebody acts like this, asserts claims like that concerning a war between special services, he must be irreproachable himself”, claimed the president. And advanced Cherkesov to the level of Patrushev.
This promotion was preceded by one more stage of the confrontation. The last week the General Prosecutor’s Office interfered the conflict. It supported Cherkesov and put the arrest of an officer of the FSKN Alexander Bulbov in issue. The intercession of the General Prosecutor’s Office can become the beginning of a new phase of the relationship of Chaika’s service and the Investigating Committee headed by Alexander Basrtykin.
These two agencies have multitude causes of hostility. Yet last summer Putin dismissed the General Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov (according to some reports the FSKN has helped him) who was under the control of a leader of a Kremlin administration power-wielding structure Igor Setchin. The new General Prosecutor Chaika forced the investigation of the case of “Tri Kita”. This case threatened the FSB with troubles and by Ustinov it was impeded as far as possible. But Setchin won the next phase, since a new Investigating Committee was established. It was independent and attracted the significant part of authorities of the General Prosecutor’s Office. Recently relations between Chaika and Bastykin became even worse; they shared belongings and financing. The situation becomes even more acute, since, according to some hints of the FSKN, Bastrykin is under the control of Setchin and the deputy chief of the FSB Alexander Bortnikov.
The new appointment of Cherkesov is supposedly connected with Putin’s leaving the presidential post and coming struggle for posts and resources that will follow. Now the president keeps the existing power balance and doesn’t let any of the structures obtain too significant advantage. Besides that Putin demonstrates that in spite of coming March 2008 he is not a lame duck and can take any decisions he wants, not taking into consideration norms of the manpower policy, which don’t permit to appoint not an “irreproachable” person to the post of the chief of such a powerful agency.