Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 133

One key appointment Yeltsin must soon make is chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB, domestic successor to the KGB). Yeltsin sacked former director Mikhail Barsukov immediately following the first round of the election, and is expected personally to pick his successor. Favorites for the post are Nikolai Kovalev, Sergei Stepashin, Yury Baturin and Viktor Zorin.

Top-ranking FSB officers are said to favor Kovalev, the current acting head of the service. Kovalev is a career security officer who rose through the ranks of the KGB and now focuses on economic security, a topic that is expected to become increasingly salient. The FSB would welcome his appointment as a guarantee of continuity and stability within the service. But they would also welcome the return of Stepashin, who headed the security service until a year ago, when Yeltsin sacrificed him following the debacle of the Budennovsk hostage crisis. The FSB also likes Yuri Baturin, whose post as presidential security adviser recently went to Lebed. Baturin would ostensibly be a civilian appointment, but comes from a family with strong KGB connections and has been likened to the young Yuri Andropov (who took over the KGB in 1969 from a post in the Communist party apparatus).

Of the four candidates, FSB first deputy director Viktor Zorin is the least popular among the service itself. He is seen as having failed as head of the FSB’s anti-terrorist arm. Officers point to the bungling of the Pervomaiskoye hostage crisis, the failure to solve the Moscow metro bombing, and the prevalence of gang warfare on the streets of Moscow. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, July 5)

Ukrainian Leaders Mull Yeltsin’s Second Term.