First deputy head of FSB to stand down against background of arrests at intelligence service
Bortnikov’s right hand man has repeatedly been caught up in a scandal.
First deputy head of Aleksander Bortnikov - Sergey Smirnov - will stand down by the end of the month, reports PASMI. Besides that, the Federal Security Service is not going to renew the contract with a head of the scientific and technological service Andrey Fetisov. According to sources of the agency, their dismissal is caused by their age. Smirnov will turn 69 in October; Fetisov is a year older.
However, it is not excluded that it was mainly caused by the high-profile arrest of the Colonel of the Federal Security Service Kirill Cherkalin and two former employees of the Security Service who had been protected by Smirnov. Nothing is being reported about Smirnov and Fetisov’s successors. There’s no information where the generals are going to work from now on.
The possible dismissal of Sergey Smirnov has been discussed for a while. In late May, 2019, Rosbalt suggested that he was going to be replaced by a head of the Economic Security Service of the Federal Security Service Sergey Korolev. In June, Novaya gazeta reported about his dismissal due to health issues. However, according to the newspaper, his appointment could have been bothered by a scandal related to a reporter of Meduza Ivan Golunov. The thing is that one of the main characters of investigations related to Golunov is Marat Medoev who is considered Korolev’s protege.
Smirnov is considered a protector of a head of the ‘banking’ department of the ‘K’ directorate of the Federal Security Service Kirill Cherkalin and his former colleagues Dmitry Frolov and Andrey Vasiliev. Ex-head of a bank Intelfinance Mihail Zavertyaev told PASMI that Cherkalin and Frolov accompanied Bortnikov’s first deputy head during the meeting when employees of the Federal Security Service tried to convince him not to disclose information related to illegal siphoning off of money.
Cherkalin was arrested on April 25, 2019. 12 billion rubles ($183 million) found during the searches were going to head abroad. Cherkalin was accused of bribe taking worth of $850 thousand. Frolov and Vasiliev were accused of swindling worth of 490 million rubles ($7.5 million). It is not excluded that the law enforcers had protected Russian banks for fixed bribes and per cent of money sent abroad.
Besides that, the last name of Smirnov is present at an investigation by PASMI related to an illegal alcohol market in Russia. According to sources of the agency, the General and other high-ranking employees of the Federal Security Service - Sergey Korolev and Ivan Tkachev - facilitated infiltration of an unofficial successor of an ex-head of Rosalkogol Igor Chuyan (who had fled abroad) - Anatoly Yablonsky - into the control over the grey schemes.
A few days ago, banker Aleksey Frenkel - who is serving his sentence for arrangement of murder of a vice chairman of the Central bank Andrey Kozlov - stated that Smirnov is behind his arrest and it was not excluded that the first deputy head of the Federal Security Service is involved in the murder of Kozlov.
Interestingly, Smirnov is the richest employee of the security bodies. According to the data from 2018, he reported about 84.7 million rubles ($1.3 million) of income, however a year before, it was only 6.1 million rubles ($93 thousand). A surge in the income was explained by sale of a land property.
Meanwhile, in 2015, reporters of Novaya gazeta found out that the General of the Federal Security Service owned a high-end apartment in Saint Petersburg with an area of almost 150 square meters. The apartment was registered in the name of his spouse. As estimated by the newspaper, the market value of the real estate is around 10 annual incomes of Smirnov’s family. Later, the Federal Agency for State Registration, Cadastre, and Cartography deleted all data on the owners from its reports. The Prosecutor-General's Office clarified that the absence of the apartment in the declaration had been caused by a technical issue on the web site.
Sergey Smirnov has been serving with the bodies since 1974. He started his career at KGB of the Leningrad region. According to some reports, he became an employee of the Federal Security Service thanks to his classmate - Nikolay Patrushev. Initially, he was a head of the Internal Security Directorate of the Federal Security Service. After that, he was a deputy head of the Federal Guards Service, a head of the directorate of the Federal Security Service in Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region. He became the first deputy head of the Federal Security Service in June, 2003.
The Colonel General Andrey Fetisov has been a head of the Scientific and Technical Service of the Federal Security Service since 2010. There are no details on his biography. No scandals related to him have been found, either.
VChK-OGPU Telegram channel earlier reported that besides the generals Smirnov and Fetisov, it’s the head of the Federal Security Service Aleksander Bortnikov himself who can stand down in August, too. A source of PASMI stated that this development was quite possible, as well. According to authors of the channel, head of the Economic Security Service Sergey Korolev and head of the Conrolling service Vladimir Krychkov are among the candidates to replace Bortnikov.