War between “siloviki”?


The Investigations Committee has filed charges against Federal Antinarcotics Committee Lieutenant General Aleksandr Bulbov on charges of abuse of office and illegal wiretapping, Interfax reported on October 9 (see “RFE/RL Newsline,” October 3 and 4, 2007). The Investigations Committee has refused to enumerate or detail the charges and the accused of been barred from discussing the case, gazeta.ru reported on October 10.

Bulbov’s arrest has set off a firestorm of speculation in the media that a war has broken out among the so-called chekisty, with Federal Antinarcotics Committee Chairman Viktor Cherkesov on one side and Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Patrushev on the other. Cherkesov on October 9 published an article in “Kommersant” in which he called for an end to conflicts among the “chekist community.”

“On the one hand, we have a war among agencies to determine who will control the bloc of the special services,” agentura.ru Editor in Chief Andrei Soldatov told RFE/RL on October 9. “On the other hand, there are the completely concrete economic interests of the two agencies, because no matter how Cherkesov tries to portray himself as a knight of chekism without fear or flaw, all the same the Federal Antinarcotics Committee is an agency with a very mixed reputation and we see that this agency is trying to control various markets.”

State Duma Deputy Anatoly Yermolin, a former KGB officer, told RFE/RL on October 9 that the commercial activity of the security agencies is “definitely greater” now than a decade ago. He said that the “vertical of power” in Russia consists of three strands — one that is formal and written in the constitution, one that is “shadow” and operates in parallel, and one that “controls the shadow figures” and is based on threats and compromising material.

RFE/RL Newsline, 10 October 2007

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