NEW FSB DEPARTMENT?

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NEW FSB DEPARTMENT?

Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 17, 2000, p. 2

The new authorities want to rule Russia in comfort and with dignity. They do not wish to suffer from insomnia because in the morning some newspaper may publish compromising materials. They are irritated by this possibility. This is why the new administration is now considering methods of putting an end to information leaks and battles of compromising materials. According to some sources, a special Federal Security Service (FSB) department may be created whose task will be formulated as something like: “preventing discreditation of senior state officials and state authorities in general”.

Three elements usually make up a chain of information leaks. The first is the source of the leak: as a rule, this is a mid-level state official in the Presidential Administration or a governmental subdivision who has access to the “materials”. The second element is the person who “interprets” the information, or analyses it, compares it with other data and presents the material. This is usually done by the analytical services of major banks, financial industrial groups, PR agencies and certain “institutes of political research”. The third element is a journalist who expresses the information in simple form comprehensible to the general public.

The efforts of the new FSB department will focus on the second element. It is the easiest to get hold of, since some former employees of security agencies can always be found in security services of all banks, financial industrial groups and institutes of political research. They may be employed as agents, through whom the FSB intends to gain access to databases of the “suspects” and study them carefully.

It is not necessary to invent any intricate approaches to the first element in the chain – state officials. It is enough to tap their telephone conversations and fire them at the first suspicion. It is also easy to deal with the third element – journalists. Especially since, along with former FSB agents, the department will use the most up-to-date technical devices and also the whole range of “preventive measures” allowed by law. The fighters against compromising materials will be allowed to bribe the necessary people, blackmail them, frighten and torture them, kidnap their children…

Of course, after ten years of freedom the idea of such a department being created seems absurd. Maybe this is only an unrealistic project of the “dreamers from Lubyanka”, or even misinformation. However, considering the current situation in the Kremlin, we believe there is a 50/50 chance of the plan to create a FSB department to fight compromising materials becoming a discouraging reality.

US PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR TO ARRIVE IN MOSCOW

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 17, 2000, p. 1

At yesterday’s meeting in the Kremlin Sergei Ivanov, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, and US representative James Collins discussed and approved the details of an official visit to Russia by the US president’s advisor on national security, Samuel Berger. He will arrive this Thursday. According to the Security Council, the visit will last two days and Berger will negotiate with representatives of the Russian leadership. The Security Council noted: “It is intended to discuss a wide range of issues of Russian-American cooperation in the sphere of mutual and international security. The main focus will be on preparations for the Russian-American summit in Moscow in June 2000.”

PRESIDENT SUSPENDS DECREE IN SMOLENSK REGION

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 17, 2000, p. 1

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree suspending a decree of the Smolensk administration on billing foreign companies and individuals who use cars in the Smolensk region for polluting the environment. The president noted in his decree that this order by the Smolensk administration runs counter to the Tax Code of the Russian Federation, the Law on the protection of the environment and also several decrees of the government. The president has instructed the Smolensk governor to cancel his decree.

MILITARY OPPOSES ANY EXTENSION OF AMNESTY PERIOD

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, May 17, 2000, pp. 1, 3

The Russian military opposes any extension of the amnesty period for members of illegal armed groups in Chechnya, but at the same time wants peace in the republic, because it is tired of this war.

This statement was made in Khankala by Colonel-General Gennady Troshev. When talking about the results of the amnesty which expired on Monday, he said: “I expected better results, though I cannot say that everything is bad. Not at all, even 200 Chechen guerrillas surrendering is encouraging. This means that lives of Russian servicemen will be saved.”

As far as negotiations on settling the situation in Chechnya are concerned, Colonel-General Troshev noted that “negotiations with Chechen guerrillas are out of the question.” He was referring to Maskhadov, Basaev and Khattab.

FEDERATION COUNCIL TO CONSIDER SOCIAL AND INTERNATIONAL ISSUES

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, May 17, 2000, pp. 1, 3

On Wednesday the Federation Council will debate more than 20 items, including social and international issues. This information comes from Yegor Stroev, Speaker of the Federation Council. He noted that the Federation Council will make amendments to laws on customs tariffs and on the value added tax in connection with the presidential program “Russian Children”. The Council will also consider issues connected with customs fees for agricultural machinery. According to the speaker, this issue is a concern for regional governors; they raised it at the meeting with the president.

The Federation Council will have to consider several international treaties, including ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Stroev described this issue as “politicized”.

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