The FSB struck a massive blow at another powerful branch of the siloviki in Russia: the Investigative Committee. On Tuesday, the Russian Federal Security Service, armed with search warrants, busted into the Moscow offices of the Investigative Committee. The offices of the department’s head, Aleksandr Drymanov, his first deputy, Denis Nikandrov, the Interior Security directorate head, Mikhail Maksimenko, and his deputy, Aleksandr Lamonov, were all searched. The last three were arrested and are being held until trial. Drymanov has allegedly resigned, according to several unconfirmed media reports.
The FSB claimed that the high-profile Investigative Committee officers were engaging in various illegal activities with a professional criminal (in Russian, a vor v zakone, or thief in law) known as Young Shakro, who had been arrested the week before. Young Shakro is the successor of the notorious Russian mafia boss Grandpa Hassan, who was shot to death in Moscow in 2013.
While the lurid details of cooperation between Russian mafia bosses and law enforcement agencies are captivating, what is really worth paying attention to is which FSB department busted into the Investigative Committee’s Moscow offices: as RBC reports, it was Directorate M of the Economic Security Service (SEB) of the FSB. Regular readers will know that the SEB has recently been the focus of attacks by another FSB department: the 6th Service of the the Interior Security Department (USB), the most secretive service of the entire FSB (cursed as “the Gestapo” by some within the agency).
As we have previously written, for the past several months, the 6th Service has been attacking the SEB in a bid to get control over the most profitable slice of business in Russia: the banking and financial sector. The 6th Service registered a victory when the head the SEB, as well as the head of the SEB’s Directorate K (which directly oversees the sector in question) both resigned. Vladimir Putin issued an executive order less then two weeks ago, reassigning the head of the USB, Sergey Korolev, to head up the freshly decapitated SEB. Apart from the resignations, the FSB’s internal fight has resulted in much collateral damage: at least three governors have been arrested, and many businessmen have lost their enterprises, with Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov being the most visible recent victim.
The 6th Service’s recent successes can be attributed to the department reportedly being under the protection and unofficial supervision of General Viktor Zolotov. Zolotov,
This attack very much resembles an episode in 2014, when the 6th Service brought down General Denis Sugrobov, the head of the Economical Security and Anticorruption Department of the Interior Ministry, as well as his deputy General Boris Kolesnikov, in 2014. Sugrobov is still in jail awaiting trial, while Kolesnikov fell out of a window of the Investigative Committee headquarters in Moscow while under interrogation. The head of the 6th Service, Ivan Tkachev, who reportedly was behind the fight with Sugobrov and Kolesnikov, may soon head up Directorate K of the SEB, according to RBC.
The current fight against Aleksandr Bastrykin looks like it might end as decisively as the fight with Sugobrov. The Investigative Committee’s spokesman, Vladimir Markin,
Apparently, the Investigative Committee received Zolotov’s message—about who is the boss—loud and clear.