Whether personnel of the Federal Security Agency [Service] are sent, against their will, to areas of conflict such as Chechnya or Dagestan [RUS33575.E]

For information on the Federal Security Service (FSB), (Federal'naya sluzhba bezopasnosti), the Federal Protection Service (FSO) (Federal'naya sluzhba okhrany), as well as the Presidential Security Service (SBP) (Sluzhba bezopasnosti prezidenta) [or Prezidentskaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti (PSB)] please see the attachment to RUS31025.E of 4 February 1999 entitled "Heirs of the KGB: Russia's Intelligence and Security Services."

In response to written questions from the Research Directorate (26 Jan. 2000) an analyst with the Conflict Studies Research Centre, of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, UK, provided the following answers which represent the analyst's views and not those of the UK Ministry of Defence:

The Presidential Security Service (Sluzhba Bezopasnosti Prezidenta - SBP), headed by Maj Gen Anatoliy Ivanovich KUZNETSOV, became a part of the Federal ... [Protection] Service (Federalnaya Sluzhba Okhrany - FSO) in accordance with presidential decree Nr.1136 of 2nd August 1996. The Federal Security Service (Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti - FSB) is a counterintelligence organisation covering a very wide range of activities from constitutional security to military counterintelligence. Neither the SBP nor the FSO are legally subordinate to the FSB, or vice versa. Both the FSO and the FSB are subordinate to the President.
The Russian word "agent" translates as "collaborator", not as an "agent". The English word "agent" is usually translated as "sotrudnik". An agent/sotrudnik is a paid full-time employee: a collaborator/agent is an (occasionally reluctant) freelancer. A collaborator would have no legal difficulties to opt out although in ... Russia he/she would probably be under considerable and not always legal pressure to do what is demanded of him/her. An agent CAN leave the service legally on their own choosing. He is almost never retired, unless he is incapacitated, but transferred into the reserve. However...
All agents (sotrudniki) have military ranks and military contractual obligations. An agent can ask not to do something but he cannot refuse to obey an order unless he is prepared to prove that the order is illegal. That itself would be possible but he would find himself under tremendous pressure of various kinds. If he is clever he can get himself a medical discharge by bribing appropriate people or simulating an illness. Current operations in Chechnya and Dagestan are classified as anti-terrorist operations and an agent wanting to get out would have to argue that either the whole campaign is illegal or some of its operational aspects are.
The FSB has an official presence in both Chechnya and Dagestan. The regional head of operations is usually a one star general or a colonel. There is no reason why a SBP agent would be sent to any of the hot spots unless he volunteers or has to investigate a specific case pertaining to the security of the President (28 Jan. 2000).

The following information was provided during a 28 January 2000 telephone interview with the Executive Director of the Organized Russian and Eurasian Crime Research Unit at Keele University, UK, who has frequently written on the subject of Russian security services. He stated that the Russian Presidential Security Service is "jealousy separate" from the Russian Security Service and is distinct. He said the SBP has been "thoroughly reorganized" since the dismissal of its leader, Aleksandr Korzhakov in 1996 and that it is now a sub-unit of the Federal Protection Service (FSO). He stated that the SBP responsibilities of guarding the Russian president and the Kremlin could be likened to those of the American Secret Service. While the FSB does send agents to areas such as Chechnya and Dagestan as part of its responsibilities for counterterrorism, the Executive Director said it would be unusual for SBP agents to be involved in regions such as those. An exception would be if the Russian president were travelling in those areas.

The Executive Director agreed with the British analyst that service in both the FSB and the SBP is similar to service in the military in that agents are expected to follow orders and carry out their legal assignments. As such, agents do not have "a formal right of refusal" with respect to assignments to regions they would rather not go to. He said that the possibility of assignment to dangerous areas are part of the agents' "conditions of service" and that this is known to agents when they enlist. However, if agents do not like their assignments "they can quit" in the same ways that agents serving in western security services can. That is, agents are restricted with respect to the disclosure of sensitive information and, for example, working for foreign intelligence services. The Executive Director also said that there is movement of agents between the SBP and the FSB. However, it is more common for FSB agents to go to the SBP and "quite rare" for the reverse to occur as the SBP is "more prestigious" than the FSB. He said that if an agent were "out of favour" in either of these agencies, they would likely be released from service.

Information from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) corroborates some of the above. The FAS writes that, the "Russian Presidential Security Service (PSB) (Prezidentskaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti) was established as an independent government agency in December 1993 to provide security for Russian top officials and the guards for the Kremlin" (n.d.(a)). However, following the dismissal by Boris Yeltin in June 1996 of the PSB commander, Aleksandr Korzhakov, the SBP was reorganized:

During the months that followed Korzhakov's dismissal, significant changes were implemented at the PSB. It is now restricted to carrying out its intended functions of protecting the President, and it no longer collects compromising documents on high-ranking officials and politicians. About 15-20 PSB officers were dismissed immediately after Korzhakov's resignation, and another 100 PSB officers submitted their resignations in the following months, with some 850 men remaining on staff (though other accounts report the total FSB [sic] staff as about 1,500) (ibid.).

In information relating to the departure of officers from the FSB, Jane's Intelligence Review reports that the agency "has managed to stem the outflow of able officers - a serious problem until 1995 - by the time-honoured tactic of providing bonuses and perks to supplement adequate but hardly over-generous official salaries" (July 1998, 9). The publication also states that in 1999 the FSB began

rating all officers of major's rank and above for political reliability on a simple five-point scale, from one (firmly loyal to the centre) to five (unreliable). The 'fives' are nicknamed pyatyorki after a school grade of five. However, efforts to weed them out under cover of general force reductions is proving difficult. In many cases, hands are tied because of the relative mix of skills and expertise they possess. Pyatyorki are often more able officers, with experience in Chechnya or even Afghanistan providing the confidence to voice criticisms of the centre. They are also the more closely tied to local interests and can rely on powerful political allies to fight their corner.
Internal controls are largely moral; old structural controls have all but vanished. The policy of rotating officers to prevent any danger of their 'going native' has almost disappeared in the face of the defence budget crisis. Similarly, conscripts generally serve in their home regions. The chain of command has already been twisted and stretched, and the military is being held together by its own over-stretched military professionalism (Sept. 1999).

In further information relating to the mandate of the FSB, the FAS states that "as an internal counterintelligence service, the FSB is responsible for civilian counterespionage, the internal security of the Russian state, as well as the fight against organized crime" (Dec. 1997). Furthermore, the FSB was granted increased powers by a 3 April 1995 law that

Provided for only limited oversight ... The law vests the Procurator General with the power to oversee the FSB's activities. However, it denied such oversight authority in the areas of informants, organization, tactics, methods, and means of implementation. The role of the Parliament is limited to that of monitoring the FSB (n.d.(b)).

With regard to the FSB's role in counter-terrorism, Russian Law No. 130-FZ of 25 July 1998, Articles 7 and 10, states:

The Russian Federation Federal Security Service and its territorial organs in the Russian Federation components engage in the fight against terrorism by preventing, uncovering, and stopping terrorist crimes, including crimes pursuing political objectives, and also by preventing, uncovering, and stopping international terrorist activity, and carry out the preliminary investigation into criminal cases relating to such crimes in conformity with legislation relating to criminal procedure. ...
The procedure for the activity of the operational staff to control the counterterrorist operation is defined by a statute approved by the chairman of the relevant interdepartmental antiterrorist commission. The statute on the operational staff to control the counterterrorist operation is elaborated on the basis of the model statute approved by the federal antiterrorist commission.

Article 22 also provides that those personnel "directly engaging ... in the fight against terrorism" are entitled to enhanced pension entitlements (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Analyst, Conflict Studies Research Centre, Royal Military Academy (Sandhurst, UK). 28 January 2000. Correspondence.

Executive Director, Organized Russian and Eurasian Crime Research Unit, Keele University, UK. 28 January 2000. Telephone interview.

Federation of American Scientists (FAS), Washington D.C.. December 1997. "World Intelligence and Security Agencies: Russia\USSR: FSB Operations." http://www.fas.org/irp/world/russia/fsb/ops.htm [Accessed 21 Jan. 2000]

The Federation of American Scientists is engaged in analysis and advocacy on science, technology and public policy concerning global security. A privately-funded non-profit policy organization whose Board of Sponsors includes over 55 American Nobel Laureates, FAS was founded as the Federation of Atomic Scientists in 1945 by members of the Manhattan Project who produced the first atomic bomb.

_____. n.d.(a). "World Intelligence and Security Agencies: Russia\USSR: Presidential Security Service (PSB)." http://www.fas.org/irp/world/russia/psb/index.html [Accessed 21 Jan. 2000]

_____. n.d.(b). "World Intelligence and Security Agencies: Russia\USSR: FSB Legislative Authority." http://www.fas.org/irp/world/russia/fsb/legis.htm [Accessed 21 Jan. 2000]

Jane's Intelligence Review [Surrey, UK]. September 1999. Vol. 11, No. 9. Dr. Mark Galeotti. "Kalashnikov Confederalism."

_____. July 1998. Dr. Mark Galeotti. "Heirs of the KGB: Russia's Intelligence and Security Services."

Russian Federation. 25 July 1998. Federal Law No. 130-FZ: On the Fight Against Terrorism. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/russia/docs/law_980725.htm [Accessed 27 Jan. 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases

Jane's Intelligence Review [Surrey, UK]. September 1997. Dr. Mark Galeotti. "Policing Russia: Problems and Prospects in Turbulent Times." pp. 1-23.



Russian Federation. 6 July 1998. Russian Presidential Edict No. 806: Approval of the Statute on the Russian Federation Federal Security Service and Its Structure. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/russia/docs/edict_806.htm [Accessed 27 Jan. 2000]

_____. 22 May 1997. On the Structure of the Russian Federal Security Service. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/russia/docs/edict_0515.htm [Accessed 27 Jan. 2000]

_____. 3 April 1995. Federal Law No. 40-FZ: On Organs of the Federal Security Service in the Russian Federation. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/russia/docs/law_950403.htm [Accessed 27 Jan. 2000]

_____. 5 January 1994. Edict of the Russian Federal President: On Confirmation of the Statute on the Russian Federation Federal Counterintelligence Service. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/russia/docs/edict_940104.htm [Accessed 27 Jan. 2000]

World News Connection (WNC)

One non-documentary sources contacted did not provide information on the requested subject.

Unsuccessful attempts to contact two non-documentary sources.