The making of a neo-KGB state Aug 23rd 2007
ON THE evening of August 22nd 1991—16 years ago this week—Alexei Kondaurov, a KGB general, stood by the darkened window of his Moscow office and watched a jubilant crowd moving towards theKGB headquarters in Lubyanka Square. A coup against Mikhail Gorbachev had just been defeated. The head of the KGB who had helped to orchestrate it had been arrested, and Mr Kondaurov was now one of the most senior officers left in the fast-emptying building. For a moment the thronged masses seemed to be heading straight towards him.
Then their anger was diverted to the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the KGB’s founding father. A couple of men climbed up and slipped a rope round his neck. Then he was yanked up by a crane. Watching “Iron Felix” sway in mid-air, Mr Kondaurov, who had served in theKGB since 1972, felt betrayed “by Gorbachev, by Yeltsin, by the impotent coup leaders”. He remembers thinking, “I will prove to you that your victory will be short-lived.”
Those feelings of betrayal and humiliation were shared by 500,000 KGB operatives across Russia and beyond, including Vladimir Putin, whose resignation as a lieutenant-colonel in the service had been accepted only the day before. Eight years later, though, the KGB men seemed poised for revenge. Just before he became president, Mr Putin told his ex-colleagues at the Federal Security Service (FSB)
, the KGB’s successor, “A group of FSBoperatives, dispatched under cover to work in the government of the Russian federation, is successfully fulfilling its task.” He was only half joking.
April 2, 2008
Making matters worse, Russian organized crime groups were transformed from basic groups with simple tactics of intimidation to highly trained and knowledgeable groups with more precise targeting and a better arsenal of hardware and connections. This transformation occurred as approximately 40 percent of workers from the KGB left government employment. The majority of these former KGB employees either entered the personal protection business — most of whom found work for criminals and the new class of oligarchs — or simply joined criminal groups.
The Return of State Control
But Russia as a country changed once Vladimir Putin became president of the country in 1999. Putin’s main objectives after taking the top office were first, to get Russia back under government control, and second, to let the world know Russia was back under control and thus able to act effectively again.
The FSB, the KGB’s successor, has undergone a massive makeover under Putin, mainly because he is a former KGB and FSB man himself. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, all internal legal issues, domestic espionage and foreign espionage were handled by the KGB. After the intelligence community mounted a slew of coup attempts following the Soviet collapse, Yeltsin broke up what was left of the powerful KGB, by then called the FSB, into a series of intelligence agencies without an overarching entity. This was meant to create competition among the smaller intelligence services and to prevent more coup attempts. Read more: Russia and the Return of the FSB | Stratfor
Over the two terms of Mr Putin’s presidency, that “group ofFSB operatives” has consolidated its political power and built a new sort of corporate state in the process. Men from the FSBand its sister organisations control the Kremlin, the government, the media and large parts of the economy—as well as the military and security forces. >>>MORE<<<