- (FEDERALNAYA SLUZHBA BEZOPASNOSTI)The Federal Security Service was created by Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 21 December 1995 to place all the domestic and counterintelligence and security components of the former KGB under one roof. The FSB took on the domestic duties of the KGB and reports directly to the president of the Russian Federation. The current chief of the FSB, Nikola Platonovich Petrushev, is a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a veteran of the KGB. The FSB is the largest security service in Europe, and the second largest in the world. The FSB remains a formidable counterintelligence service. The Russian press and the FSB website have noted FSB arrests of espionage agents and the expulsion of foreign diplomats, including some from the United States, Great Britain, Poland, and Japan. The FSB also arrested a number of foreign terrorists inside Russia who had connections with Islamic fundamentalist organizations, and it conducted covert paramilitary operations in Chechnya against nationalist bases and headquarters. In March 2005 the Russian press announced the death of Aslan Maskhadov, a leader of Chechen nationalists, in an action with an FSB taskforce.The FSB is continuing the KGB’s responsibility for the prosecution of “especially dangerous state crimes.” President Putin has given the service great latitude in investigating some of the “economic empires” that flourished in the Yeltsin period, and several of the new Russian capitalists who flourished during the Yeltsin administration are in custody or have fled the country.But the FSB has had some difficulty adjusting itself to the rule of law. In 1995 the FSB arrested a former naval officer, Aleksandr Nikitin, for revealing secrets about the Russian navy. Nikitin had written about certain ecological abuses committed by the navy, which were in fact common knowledge in the West. He was tried several times on charges of treason and acquitted on each occasion. Other whistleblowers have been tried for treason, and some were also acquitted. In its most notorious act, in 2000 the FSB arrested an American businessperson, retired U.S. Navy commander Edmund Pope, and held him for 253 days. In 2004, based on FSB evidence, a Russian court convicted a Russian researcher of treason for revealing state secrets to Western intelligence. The material released actually was from open sources, but the researcher received a lengthy term in jail.
Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. Robert W. Pringle. 2014.
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