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Sep. 14, 2006
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Mass Dismissals at the FSB
// Agents beached by the Three Whales
The Prosecutor General's Office announced yesterday that it had attained the dismissals of 19 high-placed state employees implicated in smuggling cases, including the case of the Tri Kita (Three Whales) furniture chain. The names of the disgraced officials were not released. Kommersant has received information that the round of firings is related to a reported delivered to Russian President Vladimir Putin by chairman of the State Committee for Narcotics Control Viktor Cherkesov about two weeks ago.
It was clear from the prosecutor's statement yesterday that high-placed FSB managers in the Moscow and central offices of the service, some with the rank of general, and members of the Prosecutor General's Office, Moscow Regional Prosecutor's Office, the Federal Customs Service and the presidential executive staff were temporarily suspended in connection with the Three Whales case and an investigation into imports of consumer goods from China. Only one person was named from the list of implicated parties. That was Yury Zhdanov, chairman of the Federal Agency for the Management of Special economic Zones, whose dismissal was reported in the newspaper yesterday. His connection to the Three Whales case was previously explicitly denied by the prosecutor's office. Rumors of the approaching purge had been circulating since last week.

Most of those from the FSB named in the report had headed the internal security department there (Russian abbreviation USB FSB RF) Lieut. Gen. Alexander Kupryazhkin is head of that department now. He was preceded by Col. Gen. Sergey Shishin (now head of the FSB activities support dept.) and Col. Gen. Vladimir Anisimov (former deputy head of the FSB, who was transferred to the Federal Technical and Export Control Service). Deputy heads of that department are also said to have figured in the report.

It is noteworthy that the purge has occurred in FSB head Nikolay Patrushev's absence. Patrushev, Kommersant has learned, is now on vacation. Kremlin sources say that the purge may be aimed at unseating Patrushev. Cherkesov, the author of the report, is seen as a potential successor to the head of the FSB and, according to information received by Kommersant, has the support of the head of the president's personal security service Viktor Zolotov. Some of the people mentioned in the report were fired on Tuesday, before the court order was issued. Shishin is said to have already found a position at Vneshtorgbank, although the bank is declining to confirm that information. The prosecutor's office can only effect temporary suspensions with a court order.

The Three Whales case was initiated in 2000 and took on political overtones early in 2002 as the last of the security personnel who had remained from First President of Russia Boris Yeltsin's time were being displaced by new blood brought in from St. Petersburg by Putin. That process was completed in the course of the YUKOS case.
Elena Kiseleva, Nikolay Sergeev, Mikhail Fishman

All the Article in Russian as of Sep. 14, 2006

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