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A New Russian Presidential Decree on the FSB Organs Operating Inside the Russian Militaries: Analysis and Abstract

Foreword

This document provides first an analysis and then an abstract of a 7 Feb 2000 Russian Presidential decree changing the regulations for the Federal Security Service (FSB) organs within the Russian militaries. This document is divided into two. Part I is the Foreign Military Studies Office’s summary and analysis of the decree. Part II is a translated synopsis of the new decree itself.

The decree contains seven sections and twenty-six subsections. The seven sections are:

This document will outline the contents of each of the major sections and subsections within this decree. Putin’s cover letter to this decree notes that Yeltsin had issued an Ukaz #277 on 19 Feb 1993 called "On the Establishment of the Principles Concerning Organs of State Security within the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Other Troop Formations (Military Counterintelligence)."

Part I

Putin Strengthens Third Directorate’s Penetration of Russia’s Militaries

by Jacob Kipp and Robert Love
Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS.

Introduction and Analysis

On 7 February 2000 Acting President Vladimir Putin signed an Ukaz (decree) that strengthened the plenipotentiary powers of the Third Directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) within the Russian militaries.1 While not a translation of the text, the synopsis provided here will give interested readers sufficient detail to make their own assessment of the significance of this decree within the context of the continuing struggle for control of the Russian state and society. The decree is divided into seven sections and twenty-six articles. It is based on the Federal Statute "Concerning the Organs of the Federal Security Service" and replaces the presidential Ukaz of 19 February 1993, issued by President Yeltsin at the time of growing tension between the President and Russian Parliament, when each side was bidding for the loyalty of the Russian Armed Forces, which had only been established in the spring of 1992 after the collapse of the effort to retain a unified Confederation of Independent States (CIS) military establishment. The current Ukaz addresses the following areas: General Principles; Tasks of the Security Organs in the Militaries; Obligations of the Security Organs in the Militaries; the Rights of the Security Organs in the Militaries; the System of Security Organs in the Militaries; the Cooperation of the Security Organs in the Military with State Organs, Other Organs, and Organizations; and Financing, and Military-Technical Support and Other Support of the Security Organs in the Military and their Personnel.

While the decree does not represent anything new in terms of FSB penetration of the military – the FSK had already been authorized to undertake that task under the Yeltsin decree of February 1993 – it does raise serious questions regarding the relationship between Russia’s governing elite and the various militaries. The current decree invokes an earlier tradition of secret police penetration of the military – the KGB and its Soviet predecessors from the VCHKA to the MGB had systematically penetrated the Red Army from the earliest days of the Soviet state. The Third Section of His Majesty’s Imperial Chancellory had done the same, but with less system, to the War and Naval Ministries in Imperial Russia. In an open society one can rely upon public scrutiny, conventional politics, separation of powers, and professionalism to manage such relations, but in a police state, where the government seeks to use bureaucracy to police all aspects of society, there is a need for other organs to police the bureaucracy. This is especially true for the military, whose silence on political matters during a time of crisis means that the final arbitrator of political power, i.e., the use of force and the roar of guns, has not been invoked and remains under state control. In this context the agent of the FSB in the military uses the tools of his trade to engage in the clandestine penetration of the military unit under his observation. In the Soviet tradition this penetration depends upon the recruitment of voluntary assistants/informers or stukachi, who are usually motivated by less than exalted purposes and more often by their self-interest or by their vulnerability before the FSB.2

The decree is noteworthy for the broad powers its confers and specific tasks it assigns to the competent organs in penetrating the Russia’s numerous militaries. As we have noted earlier, the FSK’s oversight focused on military critics of the Yeltsin government, including the charismatic commander of the 14th Army in Moldova, LTG Aleksandr Lebed.3 The growing tide of military discontent over service conditions, the First War in Chechnya, and then months without wages brought greater efforts to uncover penetration of potential centers of opposition.4 Yeltsin’s system of divide and rule maintained a tension among the power ministries and dissatisfaction among their ranks. It guaranteed presidential control but not effective or efficient management.5

Public discussion of the Ukaz and its implications has been bound-up with the current political situation in Russia, i.e., Putin’s succession to the presidency, the current electoral campaign, the conduct of the war in Chechnya, and the provisions of the new editions of the National Security Concept and Military Doctrine.6 In some of the analysis of the Ukaz observers have confused the FSB penetration of military units with the role of "political commissars" and the system of "dual command" introduced into the Red Army during the Russian Civil War to guarantee the loyalty of military specialists [voyenspetsy], i.e., tsarist officers who volunteered or were forced into the service of the Red Army.7 In fact, FSB agents are a throwback to another tradition, the secret police counter-intelligence associated with the Special Sections [osobye otdely] of the competent organs of state security, known in years of mature socialism as "Konstantin Georgievich Bessmertniy" in popular slang. Some observers see the recent Ukaz as only another step towards the achievement of Putin’s avowed goal of creating a "dictatorship of law" in order to restore effective control of the militaries. Gordon Hahn has speculated that the signing of the decree was to counter crime, corruption and lack of discipline in the militaries:

It appears Putin has moved to strengthen the FSB in ways that appear consistent with his goal of strengthening the state, law enforcement and weeding out some forms of corruption. The decree is therefore likely targeted at the problems plaguing the armed forces such as crime, corruption, dedovshchina, and the general lack of discipline and/or at improving counter-intelligence.8

Yet, as Hahn himself points out, if the decree did not represent any significant increase in powers for the FSB organs within the military, then why announce a new decree? Major General Aleksandr Zdanovich, chief of the Russian FSB assistance programs directorate, said that "security bodies in the forces are not getting any extra powers." Zdanovich stated that the Ukaz "merely brings security bodies into line with the existing structure in the Armed Forces, where reforms have been conducted of late."9 At the same time the general also stated, as we pointed out above, that the Ukaz was also in keeping with the threats outlined in the recently approved National Security Concept and the draft Military Doctrine, which is supposed to be published in its final form shortly. This discussion begs the issue of the compatibility of such organs with the operation of effective civilian control of the military in an open society and raises questions regarding the nature of civil-military relations under Putin’s presidency.

The recent decree identifies the Third Directorate of the FSB as the keystone of a "unified centralized system" of FSB organs and authorizes it to establish directorates [upravleniya] and sections [otdely] in the Armed Forces of the Ministry Defense [VSRF], the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs [VVMVD], the Federal Border Guards Service [SPV], the Federal Agency of Governmental Communications and Information [FAPSI], Railroad Troops, Civil Defense Troops, Engineering-Support and Road Construction Troops, the government’s mobilization apparatus, and within any "special formations" created in war time. In short, this decree authorizes the FSB to penetrate all of Russia’s militaries, except for the paramilitary formations belonging to the Presidential Security Service. This penetration extends to all formations and units, every military district and all groups of forces.

The decree assigns to the organs of the FSB inside the military it specific tasks relating to a range of threats to state security. These tasks include: identification, prevention, and interception of attempts to penetrate the military by foreign intelligence services or individual persons intent on harming the security of the Russian Federation, its Armed Forces, other militaries, formations, and organs. The FSB organs within the military are also tasked with collecting information regarding threats to the Russian Federation, the Armed Forces, other militaries, troop formations and organs. In cooperation with other state organs, it is entrusted with the struggle against terrorism, sabotage, smuggling, and crime in these same areas and has the task of uncovering any plots by "illegal armed formations, criminal groups, individuals, social entities whose purpose is the forcible change of the constitutional structure of Russia, seizing power, or the forcible retention of power." It is charged with preventing unauthorized actions in connection with weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It is also entrusted with the task, in cooperation with other state organs, of protecting "the President, the Prime Ministers and their subordinates within the Russian government and constituent members of the Russian Federation." Finally, it is tasked with "participating in the operational (counter-intelligence) support of the protection of the RF state borders." The FSB directorates and sections in the military are responsible, within their plenipotentiary powers, for maintaining the system of classified information and communications. In the elaboration of the obligations of the FSB organs with the militaries the decree adds an item that sounds distinctly like providing advanced warning of coups and mutinies with the military, i.e., "indicators of the development of emergency situations as well as the presentation to the above-named organs of other information necessary in order to secure the defense and security of the RF."10 The document also provides detailed guidance on the covert operations of FSB agents and the recruitment of volunteer informants under the section devoted to the rights of FSB organs within the militaries:

Establish on a confidential basis a relationship of cooperation with persons who have given their consent in the interests of supporting the security of the RFAF, other militaries and military formations and organs, as well as to carry out other tasks as outlined in Federal legislation.11

While such recruitment may be directed towards the countering of efforts of foreign intelligence services to penetrate the militaries, the other tasks of the FSB organs within the militaries leaves the impression of a political and ideological supervision of these militaries that is in keeping with earlier practices. The powers of the Third Directorate to manage this centralized counter-intelligence system within the militaries are sweeping in scope. There is no mention in the Ukaz of any parliamentary or judicial oversight of the organs.

Part II

[English-language abstract based on the original Russian-language decree]

Presidential Ukaz on the Directorates (Sections) of the FSB of the Russian Federation within the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and other Troop Formations and Organs12

  1. General Principles
    Article One describes the FSB directorate’s (sections) as forming a unified centralized system of the organs of the FSB and as directly subordinated to the FSB. FSB organs within the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation [RFAF], the Border Guard Service, FAPSI, within the Internal Troops of the Interior Ministry [VV MVD], Civil Defense Troops, Engineer-Technical and Railway-Construction Formations, Federal organs that support mobilization preparation of the national government, as well as any special formations created in war time – all of them are under the watchful eye of the FSB organs. FSB organs are located in unified armed forces and are under a unified command and provide security for the large formations, formations and troop units of the RFAF and other formations listed above that are located outside the territory of the Russian Federation, according to Federal legislation and international treaties of the RF.

    Article Two establishes that the FSB organs are supposed to operate according to the constitution of the RF, Federal constitutional laws, Federal laws, and Presidential decrees and directives, as well as the directives of the RF government. The FSB organs within the units deployed outside of Russia are supposed to be governed by the legislation of the states on whose territory the Russian units are deployed.

  2. Tasks of the Security Organs within the Military
    This sections outlines the tasks of the FSB organs within the military, as follows:
    • Identifying, preventing and stopping intelligence and other actions of the special services and organizations of foreign states, as well as of individuals, that are directed toward harming the security of the Russian Federation, its Armed Forces, or other military formations and organs;
    • Collecting intelligence information concerning threats to the security of the RF, the RFAF, and other military formations and organs;
    • Identifying, preventing and stopping terrorists and sabotage actions directed against the RFAF and other military formations and organs;
    • Identifying, preventing and stopping crimes that according to Federal legislation rest within the competence of the organs of the FSB;
    • Preventing, within the sphere of its authority, non-sanctioned actions with weapons of mass destruction [WMD];
    • Participating in cooperation with other state organs in the struggle against organized crime, corruption, contraband, illegal transfer of weapons, military supplies, explosive devices, poisonous substances, narcotics, psychotropics, special technical means for eavesdropping, illegal armed formations, criminal groups, individuals, social entities whose purpose is the forcible change of the constitutional structure of Russia, seizing power, or the forcible retention of power;
    • Participating in the security of the RF President and the Prime Minister, as well as their subordinates within the Russian government and constituent members of the Russian Federation, by providing information regarding threats to the security of the RF, RFAF and other military formations and organs;
    • Participating in the operational (counter-intelligence) support of the protection of the RF state borders.
    • In fulfilling the above-mentioned tasks the FSB organs within the military render assistance to the organs of the military administration and to official persons within the RFAF and other military formations and organs in support of the combat and mobilization readiness of those forces.

  3. Obligations of the FSB Organs within the Military
    The FSB organs within the military are obliged to do the following:
    • Identify, warn about and halt the intelligence and other activities of the special services and organizations of foreign governments and individuals intending to do harm to the security of the RF, its Armed Forces and other military formations and organs;
    • Cooperate with the other organs of the FSB and the external intelligence service of the RF in intelligence activities with the goals of collecting, analyzing and utilizing information about threats to the security of the RF, the RFAF and other military formations and organs, as well penetrating into the special services and organizations of foreign governments;
    • Conduct an inquiry and preliminary investigation about crimes that fall within the Federal legal competence of the organs of the FSB;
    • Enter into cooperation with other state organs on measures in the struggle against nuclear terrorism, other types of terrorism, organized crime, corruption, smuggling, illegal transfer of weapons, munitions, explosives and poisonous substances, narcotics, psychotropics, and special technical means used for eavesdropping; all of the aforementioned are executed with the RFAF; the FSB organs also seek to counter any attempt to draw RFAF military personnel and other military formations and organs into activities that have as their goal armed uprisings, forcible change of the constitutional order, seizing power or the forcible retention of power and in the battle with other crimes as related in Federal legislation to be within the competence of the FSB;
    • Participate in the development and implementation of measures for the prevention of unsanctioned actions involving WMD;
    • Participate in the development and implementation of measures in defense of state secrets, as well as establishment of a system for monitoring the security of those same secrets, which include measures to counter foreign technical intelligence; FSB organs should also maintain the security of the special classified forms of communications and code work in the RFAF and other military formations and organs;
    • Establish measures relating to the access to classified materials by military personnel and personnel of other military formations and organs;
    • Participate in the resolution of issues regarding the departure from RF territory of RFAF and civilian personnel and the personnel of other military formations and organs, as well as the regulations covering visits of foreign citizens and persons without citizenship on the territory of the RF;
    • Conduct analysis of possible threats to the security of the RFAF and other militaries, military formations and organs, in order to forecast the trends and tendencies in the development of these threats;
    • Inform Federal organs of state power, other state organs, organs of military administration and officials about threats to the security of the RF, the RFAF, other militaries and military formations and organs, and also about indicators of the development of emergency situations as well as the presentation to the above-named organs of other information necessary in order to secure the defense and security of the RF;
    • Inform the organs of military administration and officials about the identified activities of foreign intelligence services, as well as individuals, whose activities are directed to inflict harm on the defense and security of the RF, as well as relating to other issues regarding the security of objects of operational support, and also monitor the use of the aforementioned information;
    • Track and store operational service documents containing information about forces, means, sources, methods, plans, and the results of actions of the security organs within the military;
    • Support the constant operational and mobilization readiness of the FSB organs in the military;
    • Execute measures to provide for their own security.
    • FSB organs within the military also perform other obligations within the competence of the organs of the FSB under the Federal Law about the FSB of the RF.

  4. Rights of the FSB Organs within the Military
    This section contains ten paragraphs outlining these rights, as follows, the right to:
    • Establish on a confidential basis a relationship of cooperation with persons who have given their consent in the interests of supporting the security of the RFAF, other militaries and military formations and organs, as well as to carry out other tasks as outlined in Federal legislation;
    • Execute operational search, counter-intelligence and intelligence measures upon objects of operational support and in their surroundings in order to perform the tasks entrusted to the FSB organs in the military;
    • Conduct an inquiry and preliminary investigation regarding crimes as related in Federal legislation to the competence of the FSB;
    • Store and utilize operational and other materials necessary for supporting the activities of the FSB organs in the military, and in order to achieve these goals, create information systems;
    • Provide the organs of military administration and responsible officials with ideas on how to counter the causes and conditions that make possible the implementation of threats against the security of the RF and the RFAF, as well as regarding the commission of crimes that according to Federal legislation rest within the competence of the FSB, and also monitor the use of these ideas;
    • Support, based on international treaties of the RF, contacts with the intelligence services of foreign states and together with them carry out cooperation in the military area or upon the territories on which are deployed large formations and formations of the RFAF, other militaries and military formations and organs;
    • Utilize, based on agreements with the responsible state organs, organs of the military administration and officials means of communication, military quarters, transportation, other forces and means, as well as information systems, data banks, archival records and documents of the objects of operational support;
    • Familiarize themselves, within the corresponding organs of military control, with normative documents, plans, acts and other materials, to include those that define and characterize the financial and economic activities of these organs, as well as with the arms and military equipment used by the RFAF, other militaries and military formations and organs;
    • Utilize the documents of Federal executive organs, enterprises and organizations in order to provide for FSB organs’ own security and to conceal the departmental affiliation of the employees of the subunits, the place of residence and means of transportation of the FSB organs in the troops;
    • Make use of other rights which are provided to organs of the FSB by Federal legislation.

  5. System of FSB Organs in the Military
    The system of FSB organs in the military consists of:
  6. Cooperation of the FSB Organs in the Military with State Organs, other Organs and Organizations
    FSB organs in the military will execute their assigned tasks in cooperation with the organs of state power of the RF, the organs or military administration and official persons, with judicial organs, with the organs of the prosecutor’s office of the RF, with law enforcement and other organs that act in the sphere of supporting the defense and security of the RF. The FSB organs in the military will inform the corresponding state organs, organs of military administration and official persons:
  7. Financing, Material-Technical and other Support of the Activity of the FSB Organs and their Personnel in the Military

ENDNOTES

1. Rossiyskaya Federatsiya, Prezident, "Ukaz Prezidenta Rossiyskoy Federatsii," (7 February 2000), http://www.securities.com.ru/cgi-bin.ru_kodex94dec/Data/ZRU/Kodeks/win.../isi.html?d&nd-90175393 (14 February 2000) [hereafter cited as Ukaz].

2. Yuliya Kalinina: "The All-Seeing Eye of the Special: Counterintelligence Will Hunt for Bugs and the Homeless," Moskovskiy Komsomolets (Electronic Version), (17 February 2000), FBIS: CEP20000218000073.

3. Jacob W. Kipp, "The Political Ballet of General Aleksandr Ivanovich Lebed: Implications for Russia's Presidential Elections," Problems of Post-Communism, (July-August, 1996), 43-53.

4. Anatoliy Shkirko, "B gosudarstve dolzhny tsarit' tishina i spokoystviye," Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, (22-28 March 1997), p. 1, FBIS: CEP20000216000204.

5. Valery Borisenko, "Gendarmerie or Army?" Moscow News, No. 9 (February 15-21, 1996), p. 3.

6. Vladimir Mukhin, "New Military Counterintelligence Code," Nezavisimaya Gazeta (15 February 2000), p. 2, FBIS: CEP20000216000204.

7. Jamie Dettmer, "Putin remolds Russia of old,"Washington Times, (February 17, 2000).

8. Gordon M. Hahn, "Hahn on Chazan and Herspring on New Decree on Special Departments," Johnson's Russia List, #4128, (28 February 2000), davidjohnson@erols.com.

9. Vladimir Mukhin, "New Military Counterintelligence Code," Nezavisimaya Gazeta (15 February 2000), p. 2, FBIS: CEP20000216000204.

10. Ukaz.

11. Ibid..

12. The present English-language version of this decree is a synopsis rather than a detailed translation. It was prepared by the Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 25 Feb 00.

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