Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 194

Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov has written to President Yeltsin asking him to create a special commission to fight organized crime — to be headed by none other than Gen. Kulikov. The minister said he has already taken steps to unify all such efforts within his own ministry, but he also wants the right to control the work of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and other agencies, which usually keep their investigations secret from each other. (Izvestia, October 15)

Kulikov lamented that "Unlike us, criminals co-ordinate their activities," and that they have made penetrating state bodies a top priority. Nine different agencies currently battle the Mafia: FSB, the Interior Ministry, the Federal Tax Police Service (FSNP), the Federal Guard Service (FSO), the State Customs Committee (GTK), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the Federal Border Service (FPS) and also the Main Intelligence Department (GRU) and the Federal Government Communications and Information Agency (FAPSI).

It is curious — but typical for contemporary Russia — that such an important initiative be raised in the pages of the press before the minister gets the president’s approval. Kulikov said that Procurator-General Yury Skuratov supports the idea of coordinating all the law-enforcement agencies’ work against organized crime. However, the FSB is thought to prefer that coordination work be left with the procurator-general’s office, which is already legally charged with this task.

Kulikov hinted that one of the first tasks of his proposed central commission would be to launch a demonstrative crackdown on a single industry. In March of this year Kulikov set off an international war of words by charging that the aluminum industry had fallen into the hands of organized crime. Nothing came of these earlier attacks: the current bombast is likely to produce a similar result.

Diplomatic Victory for Vladikavkaz.