Sergei Operov, Ivan Safronov
Kommersant, September 19, 2016, p. 1
A big-scale reform of security and law-enforcement agencies is being prepared. In accordance with it, by the presidential elections of 2018 it is planned to establish the Ministry of State Security on the basis of the Federal Security Service including into it the Federal Bodyguard Service and Foreign Intelligence Service, to return the Investigations Committee to the General Prosecutor’s Office supervising it and to divide the functions of the Emergency Situations Ministry between the Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry.
A REFORM OF LAW-ENFORCEMENT AND SECURITY AGENCIES IS PREPARED IN RUSSIA
A big-scale reform of security and law-enforcement agencies is being prepared. In accordance with it, by the presidential elections of 2018 it is planned to establish the Ministry of State Security (MGB) on the basis of the Federal Security Service including into it the Federal Bodyguard Service and Foreign Intelligence Service, to return the Investigations Committee to the General Prosecutor’s Office supervising it and to divide the functions of the Emergency Situations Ministry between the Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry. Along with this, the MGB may receive a possibility to investigate into the loudest cases or to control the investigations based on documents of this special service. It is presumed that the reform will result in more efficient control over security and law-enforcement structures and eradication of corruption in them.
According to the sources, preparation for the new reform began soon after the Federal Migration Service and Federal Drug Control Services were liquidated by president’s decrees, their functions were given to the Interior Ministry and Russian Guard was established on the basis of Interior Forces and some units of internal affairs.
According to the sources, now the matter is about actual return of functions of the KGB of the USSR to the Federal Security Service. It is presumed that the new structure will receive status of the MGB. Along with this, it will include the Foreign Intelligence Service and majority of units of the Federal Bodyguard Service. The current Federal Bodyguard Service will remain in the form of the Presidential Security Service that will control not only the bodyguard functions but also special communication and transport services for supreme state officials.
Besides the structural changes the new ministry will also receive new functions. For example, it is presumed that employees of the MGB will not simply accompany and provide investigation into criminal cases instituted according to their documents by the Investigations Committee and Interior Ministry but also to conduct processional surveillance of them. The process control department of the Investigations Committee that had fulfilled these functions was already actually liquidated. Moreover, the MGB will be occupied with provision of own security in all law-enforcement and security agencies.
The investigation department of the MGB that will receive status of the main directorate will be able to investigate into the loudest criminal cases having state importance that are currently attributed to the competence of the Investigations Committee and Interior Ministry by the Criminal Procedure Code.
It is said that the new scheme of investigation is already being tested. For instance, it was the Federal Security Service that instituted a criminal case about organization of a criminal community against criminal kingpin Zakhary Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy) and his accomplices although the relevant article 210 of the Criminal Code did not belong to its competence. Along with this, other agencies investigate into the episodes of suspected crimes committed by the organized criminal group. The main investigations division of the Investigations Committee for Moscow investigates into two facts of extortion in which members of the organized criminal group of Shakro are accused and the Investigations Committee investigates into the firing exchange done by the same participants during a conflict in the Rochdelkaya Street of Moscow and negligence of policemen who have not interfered into it. The Federal Security Service that conducts criminal persecution of top-ranking employees of the Investigations Committee who have supposedly received bribes from Shakro actually conducts process control over all investigations as a whole.
An informed source in the Federal Security Service reported, “Whereas formerly we (operatives of the Federal Security Service) conducted only accompanying of investigations, now we were tasked to control their course from the moment of instituting of criminal cases to their transfer to the court.” The source stresses that the matter is about loud cases including those related to corruption. According to him, the Federal Security Service will also check if an investigator uses the information provided to him by the special service efficiently and in full scope. However, it is not quite clear yet in which form such control will be conducted.
In the course of the reform serious changes may also happen in the Investigations Committee. The Investigations Committee may again become a structure of the prosecutor’s office (it was singled out in 2011). Correspondingly, status of its main directorates will be lowered. For example, it is planned to make the main military investigations directorate an ordinary directorate. Incidentally, the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office will turn into a department of the General Prosecutor’s Office. The relevant law was adopted back in 2014 because military investigation and its surveillance would stop being financed from the budgets of the Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service.
In turn, the Defense Ministry may be reinforced through inclusion of civil defense troops into it, as well as inclusion of rescue, firefighting and other services of the Emergency Situations Ministry. The state fire inspectorate will be moved to the Interior Ministry from the disbanded Emergency Situations Ministry. This inspectorate had been in the Interior Ministry before.
It is presumed that reforming of security and law-enforcement agencies will be completed by the presidential elections that are to take place in 2018. However, for this purpose it is necessary to prepare the relevant bills and to pass them by the new parliament and, what is the most important, to find money for this. According to the most modest estimates, payment of compensations to employees of the reformed agencies who do not wish to serve in the new structures alone will require tens of billions of rubles.
It is necessary to say that according to the sources, in the process of the planned reform it is planned to change the current heads of services and agencies. Creator of the Investigations Committee Alexander Bastrykin is named among them. He was allegedly “hinted that in the new structure he may count only on an honorable post that is devoid of administrative powers.”
Security and law-enforcement agencies did not comment on the planned reform officially. Along with this, sources in the supervisory agency say that they do not know about possible return of investigations divisions to the prosecutor’s office yet. Along with this, the prosecutor’s office considers broadening of supervisory powers of the agency in investigation into loud economic case expedient still. Several agencies confirm unofficially that the matter of disbanding of the Emergency Situations Ministry with transfer of its functions to other ministries is really considered. For example, according to the sources, the matter may be about transfer of the firefighting component of the Emergency Situations Ministry to the Interior Ministry and rescue and emergency units to the Defense Ministry. The 100th separate regiment of material procurement (stationed in Alabino in Moscow Region) was formed within the Defense Ministry in August of 2014. The main functions of the regiment subordinated to Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Bulgakov and used according to resolution of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is evacuation of population, clearing of debris, work in the flood or fire areas and reinforcement of groups of forces in any point of Russia. Incidentally, participation in liquidation of consequences of emergency situations is also written in the provision on the Russian Guard.