In sharp contrast to the unseemly wrangle surrounding the naming of Russia’s next defense minister, President Boris Yeltsin yesterday quietly named Col. General Nikolai Kovalev to head Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). The choice was not a surprise. The 46-year-old career KGB officer had been listed among the top candidates for the post, and his appointment was likely supported by professional staff within the agency. (See Monitor, July 8) Kovalev, the third director of the FSB in its present form and the seventh to head the agency since 1991, replaced Mikhail Barsukov, who was dismissed June 20. It was unclear whether Yeltsin’s choice of Kovalev had been cleared with Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed, who has demanded control over the "power" ministries and, at the least, a say in key personnel decisions.
Kovalev has worked in state security since the mid-1970’s. He served in Afghanistan for two years and, from October, 1994 until his current appointment, filled the post of deputy director in charge of economic counterintelligence. (Itar-Tass, UPI, July 9) The Kremlin has made clear in recent months that it intends to make economic intelligence a priority.
Duma Submits Draft Military Reform Law.