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Putin Closes Russia’s Drugs Agency, Casts Aside Longtime Supporter Ivanov

On May 10, an unusual post seemed on Facebook, apparently sealed by Viktor Ivanov, the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN). “Comrades and fellow soldiers,” it began. “I wish to apologize that we couldn’t save the organization. We stable the inhabitant interests honestly.” Someone somewhere seemed distant from happy with the decision to dismantle one of the largest supervision agencies.

For any former comparison turn central to question President Vladimir Putin’s proof is, in the context of the Russian system, a demonstration of significant disloyalty. The post — allegedly combined by Ivanov himself — left from Facebook within an hour. The FSKN press bureau described the publication as a “provocation” opposite the service and its head.

The decision to disband FSKN, along with the Federal Migration Service, was announced on March 30 as partial of a broader reform, including the creation of a new National Guard. Under the plans, in little over one week, the agency will be no more, and Ivanov, a long-time associate of Putin, will retire. According to various sources in and around government, Ivanov had been kept in the dim about the plans until the very final minute.

This is a quite surprising proceed of doing business in Putin’s universe, and seems to be a sign of serious restlessness somewhere within government.

The Power Broker

Ivanov’s name facilities prominently in any comment of Putin’s arise to power. A career KGB officer, he changed to St. Petersburg in the 1990s to take adult a role within the city administration. According to some reports, he did this on Putin’s possess recommendation. Since then, their careers have dovetailed. When, in the late 1990s, Putin headed the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB, Ivanov was reserved a top position in the service.

There Ivanov always dealt with paperwork, not fieldwork, a former central who knew him at that time recalls. “He was always the HR manager,” he says.

When Putin was inaugurated president, the “HR manager,” despite with KGB roots, enjoyed a meteoric arise to become presidential emissary arch of staff. This was a position of enormous authority. It placed Ivanov in charge of the Kremlin’s HR department, and gave him control over all issues relating to national awards and staffing within the justice system. It was here that he grown a reputation as the Kremlin’s forceful energy broker — alongside and together with Igor Sechin, a similarly true partner hailing from Putin’s St. Petersburg days.

The extent of Ivanov’s rule was publicly suggested in court in 2008, when a leading Supreme Arbitration Court decider testified that Ivanov’s staff directly intervened in judicial appointments. This is unconstitutional. One of Ivanov’s former colleagues concluded that “of course” this was what was happening — “but this is how the system works, they were behaving in the interests of the state, and besides, it has customarily gotten worse since.”

It was around this time that Ivanov’s arise was checked and his career problems began. He initial ran into Dmitry Medvedev, who became trainer in 2008, and who found it formidable to deal with Putin’s KGB associates. Ivanov was asked to move out of the Kremlin, and, in a transparent demotion, he was eliminated from his tip position within the presidential administration to become conduct of the new Federal Drug Controls Service.

Breaking the Golden Rule

The idea for creating a special sovereign group for drug control came from another of Putin’s St. Petersburg confidence associates, Viktor Cherkesov, in 2002. His prophesy was mostly modeled on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration combined in the early 1970s to fight drug smuggling.

The idea of creating the new group came naturally enough. The drug hazard had, by the early 2000s, turn really serious, with Russia combining a huge marketplace for opiates entrance from Afghanistan and Central Asia. As a former confidence services central says, the Interior Ministry was simply incompetent to deal with the inflows due to their possess impasse in drug trafficking. The new group was given priority resourcing: 30,000 officers, all required operational hardware and, some-more importantly, the authorization to use it.

“Their investigators were given a full debate set of their possess and didn’t need to stand in line to get it,” explains one former FSKN official. “This was utterly a big deal.”

Every Russian law coercion group has a natural desire to look to expand management and their areas of control, and the FSKN was no exception. As the years past, they began to prosecute businesses that had small to do with trafficking though dealt with, for example, industrial drugs or chemicals. They targeted everybody from veterinarians to industrial chemistry entrepreneurs, and even bakers producing poppyseed muffins. The FSKN wiretapping dialect gained mythological status.

The tale of Cherkesov’s contingent rain began in August 2000, even before the FSKN was formed, when Russian etiquette seized a furniture conveyance on the assign of falsifying the weight and price. This apparently slight operation incited into an epic onslaught within Russia’s hurtful confidence clans once it transpired that tip FSB officials were involved. Several people were killed and dozens arrested in relation to the case.

Putin tasked his then-trusted major Cherkesov with securing notice and criminal evidence, something the FSKN was famous for. But the operation did not go to plan. In 2007, several of Cherkesov’s FSKN officers were arrested on the drift of obtaining bootleg notice in the seat case. Cherkesov responded to the arrests by publishing an accusatory and highly divulgence op-ed in Kommersant newspaper.

But by doing so, he pennyless Putin’s series one rule: Never atmosphere your unwashed linen in public. Within the space of a few months, Cherkesov was discharged and Ivanov had taken over the helm of FSKN.

Main Global Trafficking Fows of Opiates

View the map in higher fortitude here.

Spanish Inquisition

Eight years on, FSKN itself is shortly to be no longer, and now it’s Ivanov’s abdication that doesn’t demeanour wholly honorable. Until recently, Putin was always famous for his caring of his tighten associates. He never threw his advisers to the street — slightest of all, his longtime confidence use associates. But now Putin seems to be in the routine of revising his possess approach. Getting absolved of old friends is no longer such a problem.

The switch was clear a few months ago with the rough exclusion of the conduct of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin, a former FGB officer and long-time constant aide. “It’s as if Putin’s aged ensure finally mislaid shield after what happened to Yakunin,” says researcher Alexei Makarkin. “Putin has incited to purging his middle circle. Now he kicks people out though suspicion or compensation.”

The disbandment of FSKN was presented to Ivanov as a fait accompli. He was offering a deputy apportion of interior position, though was given brief shrift when he refused. “He attempted to reach out to Putin, failed, and now has no other choice though to retire,” a source says.

Different energy and security state institutions continue to fight any other for their place in the sun. Russian confidence is in many ways like a snake satirical the possess tail, humid in corruption and racketeering. The line between Russian law enforcement, the state and organized crime is apropos increasingly formidable to draw.

Putin’s restlessness with Ivanov might have subsequent from a liaison that took place thousands of kilometers divided in Spain, Makarkin says. Last year, a Spanish decider released ubiquitous detain warrants for 12 Russians suspected of organized crime including Nikolai Aulov, the deputy conduct of FSKN and Ivanov’s tighten associate from the 1990s.

“Aulov has a very bad repute even within the law coercion community,” says Roman Anin, a Russian inquisitive journalist. “All those who know him are rarely allergic to his name,” Anin adds. Phone conversations tapped by Spanish prosecutors advise he was tighten to Gennady Petrov, a top Russian mafia boss.

Speaking to the Guardian progressing this year, Ivanov reliable that Aulov, his deputy, had been in regular hit with Petrov. “Petrov supposing [to Aulov] operationally useful information on a series of topics. The rest is done up,” the paper quoted Ivanov as saying.

Regardless of the denials, the warrant for Aulov’s detain was annoying for Ivanov. “It’s absurd,” a former FSKN central says. “How can somebody wanted by Interpol for links with the mob reason a top position at a special use privately designed to fight the mafia?”

Anin says that the Aulov problem could plausibly have influenced Ivanov’s fate. The recent Western crackdown on criminal groups with Russian links has positively set alarm bells toll within Russian establishment. Putin might now be encouraged to be harder and more tasteful toward his longtime associates.

Complete Annihilation

Analyzing the real potency of Russian law coercion is an impossible task. High levels of secrecy extent the information on offer, while central statistics are customarily theme to various tricks and manipulations. During the years of existence, FSKN was no difference in this regard, and it is tough to properly consider the record.

Nonetheless, the controversial anti-drugs romantic and current mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman says that the FSKN valid the value as a competent authority. The amount of heroin smuggled into Russia has begun — finally — to decline, he says, and that is interjection to their activities.

Most experts and insiders surveyed by The Moscow Times concluded that the liquidation of FSKN is a risky call, and the conditions with drug trafficking will deteriorate. Roizman believes the agency kept other supervision ministries on their toes. “There will be reduction competitiveness,” he says. “The interior will know nobody is after them. FSKN had ubiquitous station that the Russian Interior Ministry exceedingly lacks.”

With the Russian economy timorous for a third uninterrupted year, and the fighting among law coercion clans intensifying, the well-resourced FSKN was always expected to be a target for any bill restructuring. Indeed, Ivanov apparently rebuffed an attack at his group final year, when the press leaked that a decree to liquidate FSKN had been already sent to the government. This time, as the Facebook post on May 10 said, Ivanov only couldn’t save it.

Come Jun 1, zero will sojourn of the former agency. “Not one FSKN ubiquitous will pierce over to the Interior Ministry,” says the source tighten to the confidence services. “It is finish annihilation.” 

Contact the author at m.fishman@imedia.ru

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/569847.html