Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 108

On May 22, Russian president Boris Yeltsin signed a decree reorganizing the Federal Security Service (FSB), one of the successor organizations of the Soviet KGB. Few details of the reorganization have leaked out so far. The FSB itself insists that it is getting no new powers or responsibilities and that the aim of the action is to refocus the service’s attention onto fighting organized crime and corruption. The FSB’s old directorates are to be streamlined into five new departments, and a special Organized Crime Department is to be set up.

According to reports in the Russian press, however, the decree was drafted by the presidential apparatus under such strict secrecy that its contents came as a complete surprise to the FSB itself. The headquarters of the organization, at the Lubyanka, reportedly did not receive the document until May 26, and even then not the authentic text but a copy. Since then, the FSB has not commented on the decree, but the press is predicting that Yevgeny Savostyanov, currently deputy head of the presidential administration, will soon return to the FSB as its new director. Meanwhile, the mood at the Lubyanka is gloomy as security officers spend their time worrying about what the reorganization will mean for them and their jobs. (Itar-Tass, May 24; Vek, No. 19, May-June; Obshchaya gazeta, No. 21, May 29-June 4)

Less Reason Now for NATO Enlargement, Moscow Claims.