Russia plans to reform its security services. A new super-ministry will be the result of this reform.
It may merge both structures of the FSB (counter-intelligence, counter-terror and protection of constitutional basis of the state), SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service), and Federal Protective Service (Service in charge of security of top officials). The new body will receive the name MGB (Ministry of State Security). In fact, the creation of a super-ministry will mean a significant increase in Russian security forces. A joint agency significantly strengthens its position in domestic politics. De-facto it means the return of the good old KGB in new historical circumstances.
Triumph of the liberals
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the process of dividing the KGB had started. The main aim was to diminish the influence of the secret services in the political processes in the country, where the majority did not support liberal and pro-western reforms, despite the fact that liberal reforms and rapprochement with the West were coordinated by a part of the Soviet security officials, who wanted to enter a globalist elite.
In Yeltsin’s Russia, the Federal Security Service (FSB), Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Federal Protective Service (FSO), Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAPSI) – responsible for signal intelligence – were created in place of the KGB. Border troops, earlier subordinated to the KGB, were reformed into an independent agency.
The strengthening of the FSB in the beginning of Putin’s era
In 2003, FAPSI was dissolved and entered the structure of the FSB, and the Border Guard was subordinated to the FSB too. They, however stopped the process of merging the security agencies. Some units in the SVR, FSB, and FSO with duplicate functions were eliminated. The President regarded strengthening the FSB, which until 1999 was led by Vladimir Putin, as a line aimed at strengthening agencies and strengthening security force positions in the internal life of the country.
Security forces in the early 2000’s were the only influential group in the Russian establishment orientated towards the strengthening of Russian sovereignty and instinctively opposed to the West and its liberal proxies in Russia. At the same time, the consolidation of power and the strengthening of vertical power held by Putin demanded strong support.
The necessity of new reforms
The new reforms in the Russian security services are being discussed against the background of an historical standoff with the West and the US, especially after Russia’s reunification with Crimea, the Donbass war, and Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict. The complexity of new challenges leads to the strengthening of forces loyal to the President.
To counter the West, strengthening internal security and fighting against the liberals of the fifth and sixth columns need a strong special services. Creating MGB complements the strengthening of the new security services of the National Guard. The day before, President Putin signed a law establishing it.
National Guard – a counter-balance
The Federal Service of the National Guard was established on April 5th, 2016, by the decree of the Russian President. Its members were transferred from the Interior Ministry troops, including aviation units, as well as the units of the key special forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs – riot police and SWAT. In addition, the National Guard is now implementing the federal government’s control over the observance of the Russian legislation in the field of arms trafficking and the field of private security.
The new power structure will be composed of about 300,000 people, and will be directly subordinated to the President. The Russian National Guard is headed by the General of the Russian Army Viktor Zolotov. He is known one of the closest people to Vladimir Putin, and is personally loyal. His position will be in direct subordination to the President. In essence, it is an internal army that is needed to maintain order in the country in conditions of deteriorating international conditions and Atlanticist attempts to destabilize the situation in Russia.
The process of creating the National Guard as well as the creation of a new Ministry of Security Service will mean purges of un-loyal and corrupted elements within the siloviks, strengthening, deep coordination, and rationalization of all activities. Both security bodies will counterbalance each other by entering a family of Russian Security bodies headed by the people directly opposed to liberalism and globalism. Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia Alexander Bastrykin is most active in voicing this agenda calling for establishing an official patriotic conservative ideology and giving up the priority of international law over domestic law in the Russian Federation.
The main challenge of Russian leadership will be to not let indispensable contradictions between security bodies turn into internal conflicts, because the enemies of the state will use them.
The creation of parallel power structures in the history of Russian statehood has always been associated with the struggle of the state’s leaders against the elites, who are opposed to the rulers and their attempts to strengthen the country. This is why Ivan the Terrible created the Oprichnina – Peter Guard Regiments, and Nicholas I – a separate body of gendarmes. In addition, these structures traditionally acted as a mechanism to forcibly “rotate the elites”, a renewal of the ruling class.
The current Russian political system is also built so that all political functions and all policies converge at a single center – Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Western agents in Russia have the main goal – Putin’s removal as a person who is consolidating the political elite. Both the “Fifth column” of the liberal opposition, which is a tool purely designed to overthrow Putin, as well as the “sixth column” integrated in his inner circle have the same aim. If their efforts are successful, Russia will face serious shocks, collapse of power centers, and possibly defragmentation.
The National Guard and the possible new security super-agency are the tools to neutralize both the fifth and sixth columns, and ensure the overall stability of the state. This “new oprichnina” was previously predicted by Russian patriotic politicians. However, for the successful implementation of its goals, it must be based not only on personal fidelity, but also ideological motivation.