Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 150

An official of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed yesterday that, over the past three years, the FSB has managed to stop 46 Russian citizens from making contact with foreign intelligence services or from continuing their work for them. In an interview marking the 75th anniversary of the counter-intelligence service, the official said that some 1,200 foreign intelligence officers and others believed to be working on their staffs have been uncovered over the same period, and that 52 professional intelligence officers have been expelled from Russia as a result.

The official pointed to the sentencing, over the past few months alone, of Russian spies who had allegedly worked for the U.S., German, and British intelligence services. As a result of these and other cases, the intelligence operations of Britain and Israel have suffered especially severe setbacks, the official said. He also claimed that some unidentified high-ranking Russian government officials have been taken into custody, and that the results of their investigations will eventually be made public.

The official pointed to the case of Platon Obukhov, the former diplomat claimed by his family and defense counsel to be insane, as the most serious failure of Britain’s foreign intelligence service in decades. (Russian agencies, July 30) Obukhov was ordered earlier this week to undergo psychiatric treatment; upon certification of his recovery he is to face prosecution for treason. His arrest in April of 1996 precipitated a Cold War style row between Russia and Britain that led ultimately to the tit-for-tat expulsion from each country of four diplomatic personnel.

There have been rumors in Moscow that the FSB faces a major shake-up, and representatives of the organization seem in recent months to have stepped up public relations efforts aimed at demonstrating the FSB’s effectiveness.

Lukashenka Confronts Yeltsin Over Arrested Journalists.