FSB officer: Putin is the one to decide whether to arrest VIP officials
According to a retired senior FSB officer, all decisions to prosecute high-ranking officials are taken by Putin.
Without the approval of the Head of State no such decision is taken. It is the President who has the final word: whether to "scold" the VIP-offender or send him to jail.
After Alexey Ulyukayev was arrested, it became obvious that even the A-category officials that include members of the government, the Presidential Administration and the heads of the regions, could easily be under the scrutiny of secret services and get under investigation. A senior retired officer of the FSB Alexander S. told the media how the information on the top officials is collected, and who takes decisions about the arrests.
According to him, to date, almost all Russian high-ranking officials belong to the business communities that stand for the interests of certain both private and public companies. At the same time, all these corporations tend to use special services and law enforcement agencies to provide operational support for the fight against the financial flows. This opposition is nothing more than a war of clans or towers. It is noteworthy that in the very large companies such as Gazprom and Rosneft, there is also fierce internal competition.
The reserved senior FSB officer also noted that, given the current situation in the last decade, even the large state-owned enterprises need lobbying. Otherwise, the private sector can force them to the background on profitable orders in any sphere, including the field of arms production. According to the security official, this situation was common in our country both in the 1990s and 2000s. A very narrow group was allowed to run deliberately unprofitable projects. A striking example is a project related to Bulava missile, which is supervised by Igor Sechin. The other major lobbyist today is Dmitry Rogozin.
The FSB officer also highlighted that the competing structures’ fierce struggles involve intrigues, bribery and the use of offshore companies. One of the most effective tools of war used is the initiation of criminal prosecution. The criminal proceedings in this case can be initiated by a CEO of a state-owned corporation.
He also said that the "work on A-class officials" can be conducted by several departments: the FSB, the MIA, which can be joined by the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. At the same time, Alexander S. pointed out that the FSB today is quite heterogeneous. In fact, "some of its central boards are related to Bastrykin, the others to Chaika, some personally to the President." According to him, in recent years, the FSB has become a very powerful agency in the fight game where each tries to promote his people to important offices and positions.
According to Alexander S., currently, 99% of senior officials are constantly closely watched. It does not necessarily mean that each of them have committed something criminal. Oftentimes, the surveillance and wiretapping of telephone conversations come in volumes. "It has been a sweet dream of the authorities ever since the Yeltsin era, to have dirt on everyone. This was done by Boris himself and his people", said the officer.
He also said that there is a small circle of ministerial-level officials who are not personally engaged in any business and do not seek money. In some cases, the high-ranking officials place reliable individuals on key positions to solve their financial problems." A good governor would not steal: he would create conditions for the people close to him to realize their business interests", said Alexander S.
According to him, the officials become subjects of surveillance immediately after they are included in the "higher cage" and reach B level, whether it is the position of a deputy minister, or service in a federal agency or the mayor of a small town.
In this case, if the subject of interest to this point had been completely "clean", which is rare, they begin to collect information from the agency, as well as from private and public sources. Alexander S. pointed out that posts in the media and on blogs, as well as information posted on social networks are very helpful in the collection of information. "Something definitely crops up. It can be a business secret, or, for example, concealed relationship with a woman or a man, drugs and other bad habits. This information will be noticed and given to the top-level management units who are engaged in surveillance", added the officer.
Then the question arises: whose man is the person in question? There are usually three options: the subject can be friendly, neutral or alien. In the first case, the information is likely to simply be transferred to the supervisor, who is responsible for monitoring the operational situation in the particular department.
If the character is "neutral" or "alien", the received operational information is checked. If the information is confirmed, evidence collecting begins. "Because one cannot put clippings from newspapers on the Kremlin’s table. To do this, conduct operational activities begin: wiretapping, surveillance installation. This decision is made on the level of the first individuals of the surveillance department. In the course of the work or according to the results, for example, Bastrykin may be involved, who, depending on the political situation, may show some data to the President", said the reserved officer.
At the same time, he stressed that Bastrykin has hardly something to do with the detention of the FSO Lieutenant General Gennady Lopyrev who had a billion in cash. According to him, in this case, the FSO internal security service or 6th FSB office were working, but it is not completely legal. "But in this department, there are people directly tied to the "First". So even with this occasion, most likely, the President has something to do with", said Alexander S.
He also said that the closed channels of communication used by the top-level officials are listened to and recorded by default. "No one discusses anything interesting or worth hiding via these communications. Important information emerges in correspondence by e-mail, instant messengers, conversation over the mobile phones", said the FSB officer. At the same time, he stressed that, as a rule, all cell phones that are in a radius of several dozens, and sometimes hundreds of meters away from the object of observation or his place, be it his home or workplace, fall under the wiretap.
Alexander S. thinks the version about the arrest of Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev has been staged. "The whole operation was prepared in advance purposefully. He was lured to the Rosneft building. In my opinion, there is no real question about the bribe. Ulyukayev has been in office for more than a decade. He is not an idiot. His persecution may be caused by many different factors. In general, the Minister could get into trouble without any reason at all. I admit that the goal was the intention to send a signal to the population, subordinates or vice versa: a strong signal to the world community", said the officer.
He also added that it is the President who has the final word in deciding what to do with the "delinquent" VIP official.
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