The “Collegiums” (top policymaking bodies) of Russia’s Federal Security Service and the Belarusan KGB (still so named) held a joint session in Moscow yesterday. The two organizations’ respective chiefs, Vladimir Putin and Uladzimir Matskevich, delivered the main reports. Officials of the Russia-Belarus Union’s Executive Committee–which is chaired by veteran KGB official Yevgeny Primakov in his current capacity as prime minister of Russia–attended, notably the head of the Union’s Committee on Security, identified as Anatoly Safonov.
The agenda focused on (1) joint efforts to thwart activities of “third countries” directed against Russia or Belarus, (2) joint protection of the “Union’s external borders,” (3) joint protection of state secrets, (4) counterintelligence support by both services to the Russian and Belarusan armed forces, and (5) the security of “Russian military units temporarily stationed on the territory of Belarus” (Russian agencies, October 28).
The second item refers to the western borders of Belarus, now redefined as “Union borders.” The last item may seem intriguing since there are no Russian military units stationed in Belarus at present. The inclusion of this item confirms recent hints about plans to introduce Russian forces in Belarus as part of Russia’s response to NATO’s enlargement (see the Monitor, October 5). –VS
GEORGIA’S NEW SECURITY MINISTER TO REFORM THE SERVICES.