Vladimir Putin’s former employer, the KGB/FSB secret police, continues to extend its power over other government agencies. In a development with direct implications for Chechnya, where Russia’s “anti-terrorist operation” is ostensibly under the command of the Interior Ministry, that ministry is now to be headed by a veteran FSB officer.
The website Grani.ru reported on January 2 that Rashid Nurgaliev has been named temporary head of the ministry; according to the website’s sources, the appointment is likely to be made permanent. The position became vacant when the previous minister, Boris Gryzlov, resigned to take up his new position as speaker of the newly elected Duma. Nurgaliev, an ethnic Tatar, served in the FSB until mid-2002, when he moved over to the Interior Ministry.