A Hidden War Within Russia’s Security Agencies

There is a war brewing among the high ranking officials of Russia’s secret services. Unattended by Parliamentary oversight or responsibility to anyone but the president, major security agencies, including the FSB, the FSKN (the Federal Narcotics Control Service), and the Office of the Prosecutor, are fighting amongst themselves for greater powers.

The latest scandal is the arrest of four FSKN officials, including Lt. General Alexander Bulbov, by the FSB. On October 1st, the officers were detained, and held on charges of corruption and leaking secrets. The lack of any transparency in the security sector makes it impossible to guess what other personal battles have been waged in recent months.

In a public and lucid article published shortly thereafter in Kommersant, Viktor Cherkesov, the head of the FSKN, called for peace among the agencies. “A ‘war of all on all’ will result in a complete disintegration of the network,” he wrote. “We must prevent a scandal and all-out fighting.” He continued, “Whoever can help the Federal Narcotics Control Service rid itself of turncoats may always count on me… But whoever is prepared to try to turn the noble cause of doing away with corruption into something else may count on resistance from me.”

Churkesov’s statement publicly acknowledges that there is strife among the siloviki (officials in Putin’s government with military and security backgrounds). For once, it appears that the incredible in-fighting and power struggles behind the closed doors of Putin’s government are coming to light.