30 September 1998

Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 00:22:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Reformed KGB Still Threat 
To: jya@jya.com
From: nobody@shinobi.alias.net (Anonymous)

Russia Today, Friday, 25 September 1998, 09:17 EDT

British Study Says Reformed KGB Still Poses Threat 

LONDON -- (Agence France Presse) Russian spy agencies have 
much recovered from the shock of the break-up of the Soviet 
KGB and could pose a threat to the country's democracy and to 
foreign countries, a new study said Thursday. 

The report, by Mark Galeotti in the respected defense journal 
Jane's Intelligence Review, said attempts by President Boris 
Yeltsin to reform the feared the KGB had been partially 
reversed in recent years. 

The domestic intelligence agencies have reacquired huge 
powers potentially dangerous to democratic rule, while the 
foreign intelligence branch, formerly headed by new Prime 
Minister Yevgeny Primakov, is reasserting some of its 
Soviet-era muscle, especially in reaction to NATO expansion. 

"All the security services are now again headed by veterans 
of the KGB and all have successfully resisted genuine 
democratic accountability. Instead, all report directly to 
the president," the report said. 

"Acting increasingly together, they represent a powerful and 
dangerously autonomous lobby." 

Although strong intelligence agencies are vital to the 
protection of a country, "the real question" in Russia is 
whether they will "come to dominate or serve a future 
democratic order," the report said. 

One of the main domestic intelligence agencies is the Federal 
Security Service (FSB), with more than 76,500 employees, 
including its own elite Alfa special forces, and remit over 
everything from anti-terrorism to economic security. It 
reports to the president. 

The FSB has managed to stem the post-Soviet flow of highly 
qualified personnel into the private security sector through 
perks and bonuses, the Jane's report said. 

In addition, the FSB has been attempting since 1995 to 
reconstruct the KGB-era network of informers, which was first 
meant to be dismantled, then just reduced. 

"What is disturbing and depressing is that none of the 
changes ... seem to have done much to affect the essential 
complexion of this service. If anything, initial reforms have 
been reversed." 

Another key domestic agency is the Federal Government 
Communications and Information Agency (FAPSI), with staff of 
about 54,000.Officially, it has responsibility for electronic 
communications security and surveillance, but Jane's stressed 
that it also has control over some of the country's most 
crucial computer and communication networks. 

These include government lines to banks, a majority share in 
Relkom, Russia's largest Internet service provider, and the 
automated voting system. Secret activities may include, the 
report says, commercial intelligence gathering on behalf of 
Russian companies. 

The agency is also "actively investigating the possibilities 
for using the Internet and other forms of data transfer both 
for espionage and more malign activities, such as the 
spreading of disinformation or destructive computer viruses." 

However the report said that contrary to speculation, it was 
"probably unlikely" that FAPSI was preparing to manipulate 
the electoral computer to rig the presidential elections of 

The end of the Soviet Union meant that the Foreign 
Intelligence Service (SVR), with about 12,000 personnel, had 
to retreat from many of its areas of activity, the report 
said. Africa and Latin America were seen as the most 

"Since then, the SVR has managed to regain some of its 
influence and role, not least thanks to NATO's eastwards 
expansion," it said. 

"At the same time, they have also been shifting away from 
conventional political and military targets (although these 
remain important) and towards economic intelligence. 

"The SVR has begun to regain its old aggression and purpose, 
even if it still lacks the global resourcing of the old KGB." 

Jane's said that the military intelligence agency, GRU, had 
also suffered resourcing problems, but that the expansion of 
NATO into eastern Europe had given it an important role in 
analyzing "and, where possible, penetrating NATO 

"Reportedly, Spetsnaz intelligence commandos continue to 
operate" in central and eastern Europe, the report said. 


Copyright 1998 Agence France Presse
Copyright 1998 European Internet Network Inc. 

SOURCE: http://www.russiatoday.com/rtoday/news/98092518.html