Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 161

Gen. Andrei Nikolaev, head of Russia’s Federal Border Service (FBS), yesterday described some of the changes underway in his organization. While the total strength of the Border Service will hold at some 215,000 over the next decade, the military component — which now comprises 75 percent of the service — will drop to 60 percent by 2005 and then to 50 percent by 2010. The service’s existing seven Border Districts and two groups of Border Troops within Russia are to be reorganized into 8 "regional administrations." Nikolaev indicated that although the boundaries of these administrations will not conflict with those of the military districts, his forces will not be under the jurisdiction of the military district commanders in peacetime.

According to Nikolaev, the FBS is also to create a Coast Guard that will have sole responsibility for protecting the Russian coast and the sea resources in its territorial waters, economic zone, and continental shelf. Recently as many as 18 different agencies have been involved in that task. With the equipment it will receive from the former State Fishing Committee and the Ministry of Agriculture, the FBS will have an inventory of more than 1,000 vessels.

Nikolaev also suggested that he expects his agency’s presence in the other CIS countries to grow in the future — including in some where it has not been particularly welcomed. He said that by 2001 there would be seven "task-force groups" outside Russia and another four "interaction groups." Three of the latter would be in Moldova, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine, he said. By 2005 Nikolaev expects also to see three "coordination commands:" in Kiev, Tbilisi, and Tashkent. (RIA Novosti; Itar-Tass, September 1)

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