Security forces preparing for mergers and acquisitions

Security forces preparing for mergers and acquisitions
Head of the Investigative Committee of Russia Alexander Bastrykin

Source: this year the ICR can be consolidated with the MIA, and the FSB – with the FSO.

In 2017 in Russia, a decision on the consolidation of a number of law enforcement agencies can be made. In particular, the issues of consolidation of the FSB and FSO, and of the ICR and with the MIA are addressed, told two interlocutors in law enforcement agencies Znak.com.

The ICR has accumulated a lot of problems, both of staff nature and other sorts, said the source to Znak.com. The main reason for the merger of the MIA and the ICR can be the case of kingpin Shakro Molodoy. After his arrest, it transpired that the part of the agency’s management actively cooperated with the leaders of criminal environment.

There is an organizational problem as well. The ICR does not hold the status of a militarized authority and has no operational support, so any search they initiate is accompanied by the MIA, FSB, or the Special Forces of the FSIN. Merging with the MIA will solve this problem.

The third problem is the weakening of the MIA after the Rosgvardia was created. The ICR and the MIA could restore balance between the departments.

At the same time, technically, consolidation of the MIA and the ICR will be a complex process, said the sources to Znak.com. If such a department is created, it will be too awkward-to-handle and a question about the transfer of the investigation of particularly important cases to the FSB will arise, said one of them. Now, this would be a big reform, the development and the implementation of which could take several years.

It is worth recalling that the ICR reform plans arise periodically in recent years. In 2014, the newspaper Izvestia, citing a source in law enforcement, reported that the investigating authorities may be consolidated by a Presidential Decree and the new department would start operating in 2017, and 2015-2016 will be a transitional period. However, in the autumn of 2015, Head of the Investigative Committee of Russia Alexander Bastrykin announced the project was put on hold.

"As of now, this issue is on hold, and I decided, since I still hold this position (ICR Chairman), I will not raise it again... There were meetings, discussions and conversations. After listening to the opinion of the MIA, I thought that I do not need that," Bastrykin told reporters then.

Information about the association of the FSB with the FSO has already appeared in the autumn of 2016. Then, Kommersant reported that a new agency, with the functions similar to the Soviet KGB, can be established. The two intelligence agencies could also be joined by the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). These plans have not been forgotten, says the source of Znak.com.

Head of the International Institute of Political Expertise Yevgeny Minchenko believes that the creation of super-agencies would be an illogical step given that previously President Vladimir Putin walked in the opposite way, i.e. distinguishing certain agencies out of large departments. "Reversing the process would look illogical. Besides, the ICR has now lost some exclusivity and consolidation can further reduce it of status. I do not see any practical or ‘elite’ reasons for consolidation. Putin, during all the years in power, has been consistently building up checks and balances, and such a step would destroy it", said Minchenko.

Political scientist Abbas Gallyamov, on the other hand, sees a political meaning in the reform.

"If you declare that this reform is initiated with intent to improve effectiveness of the fight against corruption, this issue will grasp the agenda for a long time. Authorities benefit from that. The fight against corruption is the only thing that can be demonstrated to the society on the eve of the presidential election. There are no economic achievements, and foreign policy is only interesting to the hosts of the leading federal channels," explains Gallyamov.

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