Federal Security Service

Last updated
Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation
Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации
Emblem of Federal security service.svg
Emblem of the Federal Security Service
Flag of Federal security service.svg
Flag of the Federal Security Service
Agency overview
Formed12 April 1995;24 years ago (1995-04-12)
Preceding agency
Jurisdiction President of Russia
Headquarters Lubyanka Square, Moscow, Russia
MottoFSB (ФСБ)
EmployeesState secret - greater than 262,000 (see text)
Agency executive
Website FSB.ru

The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB; Russian :Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации (ФСБ), tr. Federal'naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii,IPA:  [fʲɪdʲɪˈralʲnəjə ˈsluʐbə bʲɪzɐˈpasnəstʲɪ rɐˈsʲijskəj fʲɪdʲɪˈratsɨjɪ] ) is the principal security agency of Russia and the main successor agency to the USSR's Committee of State Security (KGB). Its main responsibilities are within the country and include counter-intelligence, internal and border security, counter-terrorism, and surveillance as well as investigating some other types of grave crimes and federal law violations. It is headquartered in Lubyanka Square, Moscow's centre, in the main building of the former KGB. According to the 1995 Federal Law "On the Federal Security Service", direction of the FSB is executed by the president of Russia, who appoints the Director of FSB. [1]

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Romanization of Russian Romanization of the Russian alphabet

Romanization of Russian is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic script into the Latin script.

National security defense and maintenance of a state through use of all powers at the states disposal

National security refers to the security of a nation state, including its citizens, economy, and institutions, and is regarded as a duty of government.


The immediate predecessor of the FSB was the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) of Russia, itself a successor to the KGB: on 12 April 1995, Russian president Boris Yeltsin signed a law mandating a reorganization of the FSK, which resulted in the creation of the FSB. In 2003, the FSB's responsibilities were widened by incorporating the previously independent Border Guard Service and a major part of the abolished Federal Agency of Government Communication and Information (FAPSI). The three major structural successor components of the former KGB that remain administratively independent of the FSB are the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the State Guards (FSO), and the Main Directorate of Special Programs of the President of the Russian Federation.

The FSK was a state security organization, initially of the USSR, and, after its dissolution, of the Russian Federation. The FSK was the successor organization to the KGB. It existed from 1991 to 1995, when it was reorganized into the FSB.

KGB Main security agency for the Soviet Union

The KGB, translated in English as Committee for State Security, was the main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954 until its break-up in 1991. As a direct successor of preceding agencies such as Cheka, NKGB, NKVD and MGB, the committee was attached to the Council of Ministers. It was the chief government agency of "union-republican jurisdiction", acting as internal security, intelligence and secret police. Similar agencies were constituted in each of the republics of the Soviet Union aside from Russia, and consisted of many ministries, state committees and state commissions.

Boris Yeltsin 1st President of Russia and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was a Soviet and Russian politician and the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999. Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. During the late 1980s, Yeltsin had been a candidate member of the Politburo, and in late 1987 tendered a letter of resignation in protest, making him the first ever Politburo member to resign. This act branded Yeltsin as a rebel and led to his rise in popularity as an anti-establishment figure.

Under Russian federal law, the FSB is a military service just like the armed forces, the MVD, the FSO, the SVR, the FSKN, Main Directorate for Drugs Control and EMERCOM's civil defence, but its commissioned officers do not usually wear military uniforms.

Military service Performing the service in the armed forces of a state

Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job (volunteer) or as a result of an involuntary draft (conscription).

Ministry of Internal Affairs (Russia) Russian government ministry responsible for security and law enforcement within Russian borders

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation is the interior ministry of Russia. Emperor Alexander I of Russia founded its predecessor in 1802 in Imperial Russia. The Ministry has its headquarters in Moscow.

Federal Protective Service (Russia) government agency

The Federal Protective Service (FSO) is a federal government agency concerned with the tasks related to the protection of several high-ranking state officials, mandated by the relevant law, including the President of Russia, as well as certain federal properties. It traces its origin to the USSR's Ninth Chief Directorate of the KGB and later Presidential Security Service (SBP) led by KGB general Alexander Korzhakov.

The FSB is mainly responsible for internal security of the Russian state, counterintelligence, and the fight against organized crime, terrorism, and drug smuggling, whereas overseas espionage is the primary responsibility of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, successor to the KGB's First Directorate, as well as the GRU, a body within the Russian Ministry of Defence. However, the FSB's FAPSI conducts electronic surveillance abroad. All law enforcement and intelligence agencies in Russia work under the guidance of the FSB, if necessary. [2]

Counterintelligence Information gathered and activities conducted to protect against espionage or other intelligence activities

Counterintelligence is an activity aimed at protecting an agency's intelligence program against an opposition's intelligence service. It likewise refers to information gathered and activities conducted to counter espionage, other intelligence activities, sabotage, or assassinations conducted for or on behalf of foreign powers, organizations or persons, international terrorist activities, sometimes including personnel, physical, document, or communications security programs.

Organized crime groupings of highly centralized criminal enterprises, commonly seeking monetary profit

Organized crime is a category of transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals who intend to engage in illegal activity, most commonly for profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist groups, are politically motivated. Sometimes criminal organizations force people to do business with them, such as when a gang extorts money from shopkeepers for "protection". Gangs may become disciplined enough to be considered organized. A criminal organization or gang can also be referred to as a mafia, mob, or crime syndicate; the network, subculture and community of criminals may be referred to as the underworld. European sociologists define the mafia as a type of organized crime group that specializes in the supply of extra-legal protection and quasi law enforcement. Gambetta's classic work on the Sicilian Mafia generates an economic study of the mafia, which exerts great influence on studies of the Russian Mafia, the Chinese Mafia, Hong Kong Triads and the Japanese Yakuza.

Terrorism use of violence and intimidation against civilians in order to further a political goal

Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a religious or political aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime or in war against non-combatants. The terms "terrorist" and "terrorism" originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s in news reports and books covering the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country and Palestine. The increased use of suicide attacks from the 1980s onwards was typified by the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2001.

The FSB employs about 66,200 uniformed staff, including about 4,000 special forces troops. It also employs about Border Service of the 160,000–200,000 border guards. [2]

Under Article 32 of the Federal Constitutional Law On the Government of the Russian Federation, [3] The FSB answers directly to the RF president and the Director of FSB, while a member of the RF government which is headed by the Chairman of Government, reports to the president only; the Director also, ex officio, is a permanent member of the Security Council of Russia presided over by the president and chairman of the National Anti-terrorism Committee  [ ru ] of Russia.

President of Russia head of state of the RSFSR (office established in 1991) and Russia

The President of Russia, officially the President of the Russian Federation, is the head of state of the Russian Federation, as well as holder of the highest office in Russia and commander-in-chief of the Russian Armed Forces.

Prime Minister of Russia head of government of Russia, leads the executive branch in Russia

The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, colloquially referred to as the Prime Minister is the head of the Russian government and the second most powerful figure of the Russian Federation. The official residence of the prime minister is Gorki-9 in Odintsovsky District, Moscow Oblast, but his working residence is in Moscow. Under Article 24 of the Federal Constitutional Law 'On the Government of the Russian Federation', the prime minister "heads the Government of the Russian Federation". The Russian Prime Minister is considered the second highest position in the government, after the President.

Security Council of Russia

The Security Council of the Russian Federation is a consultative body of the Russian President that works out the President's decisions on national security affairs. Composed of key ministers and agency heads and chaired by the President of Russia, the SCRF was established to be a forum for coordinating and integrating national security policy. It is the successor of the Security Council of the USSR.


Initial recognition of the KGB

The FSB headquarters at Lubyanka Square Moscow, Bolshaya Lubyanka 2 Jan 2010 02.jpg
The FSB headquarters at Lubyanka Square

The Federal Security Service is one of the successor organisations of the Soviet Committee of State Security (KGB). Following the attempted coup of 1991—in which some KGB units as well as the KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov played a major part—the KGB was dismantled and ceased to exist from November 1991. [4] [5] In December 1991, two government agencies answerable to the Russian president were created by President Yeltsin's decrees on the basis of the relevant main directorates of the defunct KGB: Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR, the former First Main Directorate) and the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAPSI, merging the functions of the former 8th Main Directorate and 16th Main Directorate of the KGB). In January 1992, another new institution, the Ministry of Security took over domestic and border security responsibilities. [6] Following the 1993 constitutional crisis, the Ministry of Security was reorganized on 21 December 1993 into the Federal Counter-Intelligence Service (FSK). The FSK was headed by Sergei Stepashin. Before the start of the main military activities of the First Chechen War the FSK was responsible for the covert operations against the separatists led by Dzhokhar Dudayev. [2]

Creation of the FSB

In 1995, the FSK was renamed and reorganized into the Federal Security Service (FSB) by the Federal Law "On the Federal Security Service" (the title of the law as amended in June 2003 [7] ) signed by the president on 3 April 1995. [8] [9] The FSB reforms were rounded out by decree No. 633, signed by Boris Yeltsin on 23 June 1995. The decree made the tasks of the FSB more specific, giving the FSB substantial rights to conduct cryptographic work, and described the powers of the FSB director. The number of deputy directors was increased to 8: 2 first deputies, 5 deputies responsible for departments and directorates and 1 deputy director heading the Moscow City and Moscow regional directorate. Yeltsin appointed Colonel-General Mikhail Ivanovich Barsukov as the new director of the FSB. In 1998 Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin, a KGB veteran who would later succeed Yeltsin as federal president, as director of the FSB. [10] Putin was reluctant to take over the directorship, but once appointed conducted a thorough reorganization, which included the dismissal of most of the FSB's top personnel. [2] Putin appointed Nikolai Patrushev as the head of FSB in 1999. [6]

Role in the Second Chechen War

After the main military offensive of the Second Chechen War ended and the separatists changed tactics to guerilla warfare, overall command of the federal forces in Chechnya was transferred from the military to the FSB in January 2001. While the army lacked technical means of tracking the guerrilla groups, the FSB suffered from insufficient human intelligence due to its inability to build networks of agents and informants. In the autumn of 2002, the separatists launched a massive campaign of terrorism against the Russian civilians, including the Dubrovka theatre attack. The inability of the federal forces to conduct efficient counter-terrorist operations led to the government to transfer the responsibility of "maintaining order" in Chechnya from the FSB to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) in July 2003. [11]

Putin reforms

President Putin meeting with Director of FSB Nikolai Patrushev on 9 August 2000 Vladimir Putin with Nikolay Patrushev-4.jpg
President Putin meeting with Director of FSB Nikolai Patrushev on 9 August 2000

After becoming President, Vladimir Putin launched a major reorganization of the FSB. First, the FSB maybe was placed under direct control of the President by a decree issued on 17 May 2000. [6] Internal structure of the agency was reformed by a decree signed on 17 June 2000. In the resulting structure, the FSB was to have a director, a first deputy director and nine other deputy directors, including one possible state secretary and the chiefs of six departments: Economic Security Department, Counterintelligence Department, Organizational and Personnel Service, Department of activity provision, Department for Analysis, Forecasting and Strategic Planning, Department for Protection of the Constitutional System and the Fight against Terrorism. In 2003, the agency's responsibilities were considered considerably widened. The Border Guard Service of Russia, with its staff of 210,000, was integrated to the FSB via a decree was signed on 11 March 2003. The merger was completed by 1 July 2003. In addition, The Federal Agency of Government Communication and Information (FAPSI) was abolished and the FSB was granted a major part of its functions, while other parts went to the Ministry of Defense. [6] Among the reasons for this strengthening of the FSB were enhanced need for security after increased terror attacks against Russian civilians starting from the Moscow theater hostage crisis; the need to end the permanent infighting between the FSB, FAPSI and the Border Guards due to their overlapping functions and the need for more efficient response to migration, drug trafficking and illegal arms trading. It has also been pointed out, that the FSB was the only power base of the new president, and the restructuring therefore strengthened Putin's position (see Political groups under Vladimir Putin's presidency). [6] On 28 June 2004 in a speech to high-ranking FSB officers, Putin emphasized three major tasks of the agency: neutralizing foreign espionage, safeguarding economic and financial security of the country and combating organized crime. [6] In September 2006, the FSB was shaken by a major reshuffle, which, combined with some earlier reassignments (most remarkably, those of FSB Deputy Directors Yury Zaostrovtsev and Vladimir Anisimov in 2004 and 2005, respectively), were widely believed to be linked to the Three Whales Corruption Scandal that had slowly unfolded since 2000. Some analysts considered it to be an attempt to undermine FSB Director Nikolay Patrushev's influence, as it was Patrushev's team from the Karelian KGB Directorate of the late 1980s – early 1990s that had suffered most and he had been on vacations during the event. [12] [13] [14]

By 2008, the agency had one Director, two First Deputy Directors and 5 Deputy Directors. It had the following 9 divisions: [6]

  1. Counter-Espionage
  2. Service for Defense of Constitutional Order and Fight against Terrorism
  3. Border Service
  4. Economic Security Service
  5. Current Information and International Links
  6. Organizational and Personnel Service
  7. Monitoring Department
  8. Scientific and Technical Service
  9. Organizational Security Service

According to FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov, the FSB is developing its own unmanned aerial vehicle systems in order to gather intelligence. [15]

Fight against terrorism

FSB special forces members during a special operation in Makhachkala, as a result of which "one fighter was killed and two terrorist attacks prevented" in 2010. RIAN archive 835340 Antiterrorist operation in Makhachkala.jpg
FSB special forces members during a special operation in Makhachkala, as a result of which "one fighter was killed and two terrorist attacks prevented" in 2010.

Starting from the Moscow theater hostage crisis in 2002, Russia was faced with increased levels of Islamist terrorism. The FSB, being the main agency responsible for counter-terrorist operations, was in the front line in the fight against terror. During the Moscow theater siege and the Beslan school siege, FSB's Spetsnaz units Alpha Group and Vympel played a key role in the hostage release operations. However, their performance was criticised due to the high number of hostage casualties. In 2006, the FSB scored a major success in its counter-terrorist efforts when it successfully killed Shamil Basayev, the mastermind behind the Beslan tragedy and several other high-profile terrorist acts. According to the FSB, the operation was planned over six months and made possible due to the FSB's increased activities in foreign countries that were supplying arms to the terrorists. Basayev was tracked via the surveillance of this arms trafficking. Basayev and other militants were preparing to carry out a terrorist attack in Ingushetia when FSB agents destroyed their convoy; 12 militants were killed. [16] [17] During the last years of the Vladimir Putin's second presidency (2006–2008), terrorist attacks in Russia dwindled, falling from 257 in 2005 to 48 in 2007. Military analyst Vitaly Shlykov praised the effectiveness of Russia's security agencies, saying that the experience learned in Chechnya and Dagestan had been key to the success. In 2008, the American Carnegie Endowment's Foreign Policy magazine named Russia as "the worst place to be a terrorist" and highlighted especially Russia's willingness to prioritize national security over civil rights. [18] By 2010, Russian forces, led by the FSB, had managed to eliminate out the top leadership of the Chechen insurgency, except for Dokka Umarov. [19]

Increased terrorism and expansion of the FSB's powers

President Dmitry Medvedev meeting with FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov on the way from Moscow to Dagestan's capital Makhachkala in June 2009 Bortnikov Medvedev.jpg
President Dmitry Medvedev meeting with FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov on the way from Moscow to Dagestan's capital Makhachkala in June 2009

Starting from 2009, the level of terrorism in Russia increased again. Particularly worrisome was the increase of suicide attacks. While between February 2005 and August 2008, no civilians were killed in such attacks, in 2008 at least 17 were killed and in 2009 the number rose to 45. [20] In March 2010, Islamist militants organised the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings, which killed 40 people. One of the two blasts took place at Lubyanka station, near the FSB headquarters. Militant leader Doku Umarov—dubbed "Russia's Osama Bin Laden"—took responsibility for the attacks. In July 2010, President Dmitry Medvedev expanded the FSB's powers in its fight against terrorism. FSB officers received the power to issue warnings to citizens on actions that could lead to committing crimes and arrest people for 15 days if they fail to comply with legitimate orders given by the officers. The bill was harshly criticized by human rights organizations. [21]



In 2011, the FSB said it had exposed 199 foreign spies, including 41 professional spies and 158 agents employed by foreign intelligence services. [22] The number has risen in recent years: in 2006 the FSB reportedly caught about 27 foreign intelligence officers and 89 foreign agents. [23] Comparing the number of exposed spies historically, the then-FSB Director Nikolay Kovalyov said in 1996: "There has never been such a number of spies arrested by us since the time when German agents were sent in during the years of World War II." The 2011 figure is similar to what was reported in 1995–1996, when around 400 foreign intelligence agents were uncovered during the two-year period. [24] In a high-profile case of foreign espionage, the FSB said in February 2012 that an engineer working at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia's main space center for military launches, had been sentenced to 13 years in prison on charges of state treason. A court judged that the engineer had sold information about testing of new Russian strategic missile systems to the American CIA. [25] A number of scientists have been accused of espionage and illegal technology exports by the FSB since it was established; instances include researcher Igor Sutyagin, [26] physicist Valentin Danilov, [27] physical chemist Oleg Korobeinichev, [28] academician Oskar Kaibyshev, [29] and physicist Yury Ryzhov. [30] Ecologist and journalist Alexander Nikitin, who worked with the Bellona Foundation, was accused of espionage. He published material exposing hazards posed by the Russian Navy's nuclear fleet. He was acquitted in 1999 after spending several years in prison (his case was sent for re-investigation 13 times while he remained in prison). Other instances of prosecution are the cases of investigative journalist and ecologist Grigory Pasko, [31] [32] Vladimir Petrenko, who described danger posed by military chemical warfare stockpiles, and Nikolay Shchur, chairman of the Snezhinskiy Ecological Fund. [24] Other arrested people include Viktor Orekhov, a former KGB officer who assisted Soviet dissidents, Vladimir Kazantsev, who disclosed illegal purchases of eavesdropping devices from foreign firms, and Vil Mirzayanov, who had written that Russia was working on a nerve-gas weapon. [24]


FSB officers on the scene of the Domodedovo International Airport bombing in 2011. Combating terrorism is one of the main tasks of the agency. RIAN archive 846846 Dozens killed in Domodedovo airport blast.jpg
FSB officers on the scene of the Domodedovo International Airport bombing in 2011. Combating terrorism is one of the main tasks of the agency.

In 2011, the FSB prevented 94 "crimes of a terrorist nature", including eight terrorist attacks. In particular, the agency foiled a planned suicide bombing in Moscow on New Year's Eve. However, the agency failed to prevent terrorists perpetrating the Domodedovo International Airport bombing. [22] Over the years, FSB and affiliated state security organizations have killed all presidents of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria including Dzhokhar Dudaev, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, Aslan Maskhadov, and Abdul-Khalim Saidullaev. Just before his death, Saidullaev claimed that the Russian government "treacherously" killed Maskhadov, after inviting him to "talks" and promising his security "at the highest level". [33] During the Moscow theater hostage crisis and Beslan school hostage crisis, all hostage takers were killed on the spot by FSB spetsnaz forces. Only one of the suspects, Nur-Pashi Kulayev, survived and was convicted later by the court. It is reported that more than 100 leaders of terrorist groups have been killed during 119 operations on North Caucasus during 2006. [23] On 28 July 2006 the FSB presented a list of 17 terrorist organizations recognized by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, to Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, which published the list that day. The list had been available previously, but only through individual request. [34] [35] Commenting on the list, Yuri Sapunov, head of anti-terrorism at the FSB, named three main criteria necessary for organizations to be listed. [36]

Foreign intelligence

According to some unofficial sources, [37] [38] [39] since 1999, the FSB has also been tasked with the intelligence-gathering on the territory of the CIS countries, wherein the SVR is legally forbidden from conducting espionage under the inter-government agreements. Such activity is in line with Article 8 of the Federal Law on the FSB. [40]

Targeted killing

In the summer of 2006, the FSB was given the legal power to engage in targeted killing of terrorism suspects overseas if so ordered by the president. [41]

Border protection

Border guards of the Federal Security Service pursuing trespassers of the maritime boundary during exercises in Kaliningrad Oblast RIAN archive 942200 Border guards of the Federal Security Service pursuing trespassers of the maritime boundary during exercises in Kaliningrad region.jpg
Border guards of the Federal Security Service pursuing trespassers of the maritime boundary during exercises in Kaliningrad Oblast

The Federal Border Guard Service (FPS) has been part of the FSB since 2003. Russia has 61,000 kilometers (38,000 mi) of sea and land borders, 7,500 kilometers (4,700 mi) of which is with Kazakhstan, and 4,000 kilometers (2,500 mi) with China. One kilometer (1,100  yd) of border protection costs around 1 million rubles per year. [42]

Export control

The FSB is engaged in the development of Russia's export control strategy and examines drafts of international agreements related to the transfer of dual-use and military commodities and technologies. Its primary role in the nonproliferation sphere is to collect information to prevent the illegal export of controlled nuclear technology and materials. [43]

Claims of intimidation of foreign diplomats and journalists

The FSB has been accused by The Guardian of using psychological techniques to intimidate western diplomatic staff and journalists, with the intention of making them curtail their work in Russia early. [44] The techniques allegedly involve entering targets' houses, moving household items around, replacing items with similar (but slightly different) items, and even sending sex toys to a male target's wife, all with the intention of confusing and scaring the target. [44] Guardian journalist, Luke Harding, claims to have been the subject of such techniques. [44]

Doping scandal

Following allegations by a Russian former lab director about the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, WADA commissioned an independent investigation led by Richard McLaren. McLaren's investigation concluded in a report published in July 2016 that the Ministry of Sport and the Federal Security Service (FSB) had operated a "state-directed failsafe system" using a "disappearing positive [test] methodology" (DPM) from "at least late 2011 to August 2015." It was used on 643 positive samples, a number that the authors consider "only a minimum" due to limited access to Russian records. [45]

On 9 December 2016, Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren published the second part of his independent report. The investigation found that from 2011 to 2015, more than 1,000 Russian competitors in various sports (including summer, winter, and Paralympic sports) benefited from the cover-up. [46] [47] [48] Emails indicate that they included five blind powerlifters, who may have been given drugs without their knowledge, and a fifteen-year-old. [49]

2016 US presidential elections

On 29 December 2016, there were rumors (now debunked) that the White House sanctioned the FSB and several other Russian companies for helping the Russian military intelligence service, the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), to allegedly disrupt and spread disinformation during the 2016 US presidential election. In addition, the State Department also declared 35 Russian diplomats and officials persona non grata and denied Russian government officials access to two Russian-owned installations in Maryland and New York. [50]

WikiLeaks revelations

In September 2017, WikiLeaks released "Spy Files Russia," revealing "how a St. Petersburg-based technology company called Peter-Service helped state entities gather detailed data on Russian cellphone users, part of a national system of online surveillance called System for Operative Investigative Activities (SORM)." [51]


The reception room of the Federal Security Service building located on Kuznetsky Most in Moscow RIAN archive 98400 The reception room in the building of the Federal Security Service.jpg
The reception room of the Federal Security Service building located on Kuznetsky Most in Moscow

Below the nationwide level, the FSB has regional offices in the federal subjects of Russia. It also has administrations in the armed forces and other military institutions. Sub-departments exist for areas such as aviation, special training centers, forensic expertise, military medicine, etc. [6]

Center of Information Security of the FSB RF, Lubyanka Square Lubyanka Square KGB Computing Centre.JPG
Center of Information Security of the FSB RF, Lubyanka Square

Structure of the Federal Office (incomplete):

Besides the services (departments) and directorates of the federal office, the territorial directorates of FSB in the federal subjects are also subordinate to it. Of these, St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast Directorate of FSB and its predecessors (historically covering both Leningrad/Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast) have played especially important roles in the history of this organization, as many of the officers of the Directorate, including Vladimir Putin and Nikolay Patrushev, later assumed important positions within the federal FSB office or other government bodies. After the last Chief of the Soviet time, Anatoly Kurkov, the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast Directorate were led by Sergei Stepashin (29 November 1991 – 1992), Viktor Cherkesov (1992 –1998), Alexander Grigoryev (1 October 1998 – 5 January 2001), Sergei Smirnov (5 January 2001 – June 2003), Alexander Bortnikov (June 2003 – March 2004) and Yury Ignashchenkov (since March 2004).

Directors of the FSB

On 20 June 1996, Boris Yeltsin fired Director of FSB Mikhail Barsukov and appointed Nikolay Kovalyov as acting Director and later Director of the FSB. Aleksandr Bortnikov took over on 12 May 2008.

Controversies and criticism

The FSB has been criticised for corruption, human rights violations and secret police activities. Some Kremlin critics such as Alexander Litvinenko have claimed that the FSB is engaged in suppression of internal dissent; Litvinenko died in 2006 as a result of polonium poisoning. [52] A number of opposition lawmakers and investigative journalists were murdered while investigating corruption and other alleged crimes: Sergei Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Galina Starovoitova, Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, Paul Klebnikov (US), Nadezhda Chaikova, Nina Yefimova, and others. [53] [54]

The FSB has been further criticised by some for failure to bring Islamist terrorism in Russia under control. [55] In the mid-2000s, the pro-Kremlin Russian sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya claimed that FSB played a dominant role in the country's political, economic and even cultural life. [56] [57] [58] FSB officers have been frequently accused of torture, [59] [60] [61] [62] extortion, bribery and illegal takeovers of private companies, often working together with tax inspection officers. Active and former FSB officers are also present as "curators" in "almost every single large enterprise", both in public and private sectors. [63] [64]

Former FSB officer, a defector, Alexander Litvinenko, along with a series of other authors such as Yury Felshtinsky, David Satter, Boris Kagarlitsky, Vladimir Pribylovsky, Mikhail Trepashkin (also former FSB officer) claimed in the early 2000s that the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow and other Russian cities were a false flag attack coordinated by the FSB in order to win public support for a new full-scale war in Chechnya and boost former FSB Director Vladimir Putin's, then the prime minister, popularity in the lead-up to parliamentary elections and presidential transfer of power in Russia later that year. [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] [73] [74] [75] [76]

In his book Mafia State, Luke Harding, the Moscow correspondent for The Guardian from to 2007 to 2011 and a fierce critic of Russian politics, alleges that the FSB subjected him to continual psychological harassment, with the aim of either coercing him into practicing self-censorship in his reporting, or to leave the country entirely. He says that FSB used techniques known as Zersetzung (literally "corrosion" or "undermining") which were perfected by the East German Stasi. [77]

After the annexation of Crimea the FSB has also may be responsible for the disappearances of Crimean Tatar activists and public figures. Some such as Oleg Sentsov have been detained and accused in politically motivated kangaroo courts. [78]

See also

Related Research Articles

Russian apartment bombings series of explosions in 1999

The Russian apartment bombings were a series of explosions that hit four apartment blocks in the Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk between 4 and 16 September 1999, killing 367 people and injuring more than 1,000, spreading a wave of fear across the country. To date, no one has taken responsibility for the bombings; the Russian government blamed Chechen militants, although they, along with Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov, denied responsibility. The bombings, together with the Dagestan War, led the country into the Second Chechen War. Then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's handling of the crisis boosted his popularity and helped him attain the presidency within a few months.

Sergei Ivanov Russian senior official and statesman

Sergei Borisovich Ivanov is a Russian senior official and politician who is the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on the Issues of Environmental Activities, Environment and Transport since 12 August 2016.

Foreign Intelligence Service (Russia) Russias primary external intelligence agency

The Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation or SVR RF is Russia's external intelligence agency, focusing mainly on civilian affairs. The SVR RF succeeded the First Chief Directorate (PGU) of the KGB in December 1991. The SVR has its headquarters in the Yasenevo District of Moscow.

Nikolai Patrushev Secretary of the Security Council of Russia from 2008

Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev is a Russian politician and security and intelligence officer. He served as Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is the main successor organization to the Soviet KGB, from 1999 to 2008, and he has been Secretary of the Security Council of Russia since 2008.

FAPSI Russian government agency

FAPSI or Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAGCI) was a Russian government agency, which was responsible for signal intelligence and security of governmental communications.

Mikhail Ivanovich Trepashkin is a Moscow attorney and former Federal Security Service (FSB) colonel who was invited by MP Sergei Kovalev to assist in an independent inquiry of the Russian apartment bombings in September 1999 that followed the Dagestan war and were one of the causes of the Second Chechen War. During his investigation he was arrested by the FSB and convicted to four years of imprisonment for "revealing state secrets".

Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation border guard branch of the Federal Security Service of Russia

The Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation is a branch of Federal Security Service of Russia tasked with patrol of the Russian border.

Alexander Litvinenko Russian defector

Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko was a British naturalised Russian defector and former officer of the Russian FSB secret service who specialised in tackling organised crime. According to US diplomats, Litvinenko coined the phrase Mafia state. In November 1998, Litvinenko and several other FSB officers publicly accused their superiors of ordering the assassination of the Russian tycoon and oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Litvinenko was arrested the following March on charges of exceeding the authority of his position. He was acquitted in November 1999 but re-arrested before the charges were again dismissed in 2000. He fled with his family to London and was granted asylum in the United Kingdom, where he worked as a journalist, writer and consultant for the British intelligence services.

Sergei Yushenkov was a liberal Russian politician known for his campaigning for democracy, rapid free market economic reforms, and higher human rights standards in Russia. He was assassinated on 17 April 2003, just hours after registering his political party to participate in the December 2003 parliamentary elections.

Anatoly Vasilyevich Trofimov was a head of the Soviet KGB investigation department. He personally supervised all Soviet dissident cases including Sergei Kovalyov, Gleb Yakunin, Alexei Smirnov, and Yuri Orlov. He was later a deputy director of the Russian Federal Security Service and became a mentor and supervisor of Alexander Litvinenko. He was assassinated in April 2005 by unidentified gunmen in Moscow.

Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko

Alexander Litvinenko was a former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and KGB, who fled from court prosecution in Russia and received political asylum in the United Kingdom.

Alexander Bortnikov FSB officer

Alexander Vasilyevich Bortnikov is a Russian official. He has been Director of the FSB since May 12, 2008.

Viktor Cherkesov KGB officer

Viktor Vasilyevich Cherkesov is a Russian security services official.

German Ugryumov Russian admiral

German Alexeyevich Ugryumov was a Soviet and Russian navy and security services official. During his childhood he lived in Chelyabinsk Oblast.

<i>Lubyanka Criminal Group</i>

Lubyanka Criminal Group is a book by Alexander Litvinenko about the alleged transformation of the Russian Security Services into a criminal and terrorist organization.

Konstantin Georgiyevich Preobrazhenskiy is a former KGB lieutenant colonel, an intelligence expert and the author of several books and numerous articles about Russian secret police organizations.

Active reserve (KGB)

The active reserve of the KGB are members of the organization who work undercover "either pretending to assume various jobs or using as cover professions in which they are actually trained". Active reserve KGB officers typically occupied such positions as deputy directors of scientific research or deans responsible for foreign relations in academic institutions of the Soviet Union, although these people were not scientists. Other officers were trained for certain civilian jobs, usually translators, journalists, telephone engineers, or doormen in hotels that served foreigners.

Counterintelligence state

Counterintelligence state is a state where the state security service penetrates and permeates all societal institutions, including the military. The term has been applied by historians and political commentators to the former Soviet Union, the former German Democratic Republic, Cuba after the 1959 revolution, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, post-Soviet Russia under Vladimir Putin and the United States of America, especially after the Global surveillance disclosures.

Mikhail Ivanovich Barsukov is a former Russian intelligence and government official. His most notable post was as the short-lived head of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in mid-1990s.

Special Communications Service of Russia government agency

The Special Communications and Information Service of the Federal Protective Service of the Russian Federation is a cryptologic intelligence agency of The Federal Protective Service of Russia responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting Russian government communications and information systems,which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography. It is the equivalent to the United States National Security Agency.


  1. Статья 1. Федеральная служба безопасности и ее назначение
  2. 1 2 3 4 Sakwa, Richard. Russian Politics and Society (4th ed.). p. 98.
  3. "Федеральный конституционный закон "О Правительстве Российской Федерации". kremlin.ru. 17 December 1997. Archived from the original on 17 August 2009.
  4. THE MILITARY AND THE AUGUST 1991 COUP Archived 10 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine McNair Paper 34, The Russian Military's Role in Politics, January 1995.
  5. Gevorkian, Natalia (January 1993). The KGB: "They still need us". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. pp. 36–39.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Schneider, Eberhard. "The Russian Federal Security Service under President Putin". In Stephen White. Politics and the Ruling Group in Putin's Russia.
  7. Федеральный закон от 30.06.2003 г. № 86-ФЗ
  8. ФЕДЕРАЛЬНЫЙ ЗАКОН О ФЕДЕРАЛЬНОЙ СЛУЖБЕ БЕЗОПАСНОСТИ Russian Federation Federal Law No. 40-FZ. Adopted by the State Duma 22 February 1995.
  9. ФЕДЕРАЛЬНЫЙ ЗАКОН О федеральной службе безопасности
  10. Mark Tran. Who is Vladimir Putin? Profile: Russia's new prime minister. Guardian Unlimited 9 August 1999.
  11. Baev, Pavel (2005). "Chechnya and the Russian Military". In Richard Sakwa. Chechnya: From Past to Future. Anthem Press.
  12. Фсб Закрытого Типа
  13. "Mass Dismissals at the FSB – Kommersant Moscow". Kommersant.com. Archived from the original on 12 May 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  14. Елена Ъ-Киселева; Николай Ъ-Сергеев; Михаил Ъ-Фишман. "Ъ – Кит и меч". Kommersant.ru. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  15. Majumdar, Dave (December 19, 2017). "Russia's FSB Will Soon Have Their Very Own Drones". The National Interest .
  16. "Russians claim killing of rebel Basayev, the Beslan butcher". The Independent. 11 July 2006.
  17. "Chechen rebel chief Basayev dies". BBC News. 10 June 2006.
  18. Biberman, Yelena (6 December 2008). "No Place to Be a Terrorist". Russia Profile. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  19. Saradzhyan, Simon (31 March 2010). "Eliminating Terrorists, Not Terror". International Relations and Security Network.
  20. Saradzhyan, Simon (23 December 2010). "Russia's North Caucasus, the Terrorism Revival". International Relations and Security Network.
  21. "Medvedev expands FSB powers". Russia Today. 27 August 2010.
  22. 1 2 "Russia Busted 200 Spies Last Year – Medvedev". RIA Novosti. 7 February 2012.
  23. 1 2 Story to the Day of Checkist
  24. 1 2 3 Counterintelligence Cases – GlobalSecurity.org
  25. "Russia Convicts Military Officer of Spying For CIA". RIA Novosti. 10 February 2012.
  26. "Case study: Igor Sutiagin". Human Rights Watch. October 2003. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  27. "AAAS Human Rights Action Network". Shr.aaas.org. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  28. Russian Scientist Charged With Disclosing State Secret
  29. Oskar Kaibyshev convicted
  30. Researchers Throw Up Their Arms
  31. "Grigory Pasko site". Index.org.ru. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  32. The Pasko case Archived 4 January 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  33. Russia Used 'Deception' To Kill Maskhadov, 8 March 2006 (RFE/RL)
  34. "17 particularly dangerous". Rossiyskaya Gazeta (in Russian). 28 July 2006. Retrieved 13 August 2006.
  35. "'Terror' list out; Russia tags two Kuwaiti groups". Arab Times . 13 August 2006. Retrieved 13 August 2006.
  36. "Russia names 'terrorist' groups". BBC News. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 13 August 2006.
  37. Департамент оперативной информации (ДОИ) ФСБ Archived 10 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  38. Наши спецслужбы - на территории бывшего Союза Archived 7 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  41. Finn, Peter (15 January 2007). "In Russia, A Secretive Force Widens". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  42. Putin Calls On FSB To Modernize Border Guards by Victor Yasmann for Radio Free Europe, December 2005.
  43. "Status of the State Licensing System of Control over Exports of Nuclear Materials, Dual-use Commodities and Technologies in Russia: Manual for foreign associates in Russia", International Business Relations Corporation, Department of Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Fuel Cycle (Moscow, 2002).
  44. 1 2 3 "Russian spy agency targeting western diplomats", Guardian, 23 September 2011.
  45. "MCLAREN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT - PART I". World Anti-Doping Agency. 18 July 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  46. "MCLAREN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT - PART II". wada-ama.org. 9 December 2016.
  47. Ruiz, Rebecca R. (9 December 2016). "Russia's Doping Program Laid Bare by Extensive Evidence in Report". The New York Times.
  48. Ostlere, Lawrence (9 December 2016). "McLaren report: more than 1,000 Russian athletes involved in doping conspiracy". The Guardian.
  49. Ellingworth, James (13 December 2016). "Emails show how Russian officials covered up mass doping". Associated Press . Archived from the original on 14 December 2016.
  50. "FACT SHEET: Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment". White House . Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  51. Taylor, Adam (19 September 2017). "WikiLeaks releases files that appear to offer details of Russian surveillance system". The Washington Post . Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  52. "The sadistic poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko" - by Don Murray;- CBC News, 2006
  53. Amnesty International condemns the political murder of Russian human rights advocate Galina Starovoitova
  54. Yushenkov: A Russian idealist
  55. Russia After The Presidential Election Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine by Mark A. Smith Conflict Studies Research Centre
  56. In Russia, A Secretive Force Widens – by P. Finn — Washington Post, 2006
  57. "The making of a neo-KGB state". The Economist. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  59. "Crimea: Persecution of Crimean Tatars Intensifies | Human Rights Watch".
  60. "Russian Terrorism Suspects Allege Torture At 'Secret' FSB Site".
  61. ""You should understand: FSB officers always get their way!": Anti-fascist Viktor Filinkov reveals how he was tortured by Russian security services | openDemocracy".
  62. "Crimean Tatar Close To Dzhemilev Says He Was Tortured By Russian FSB".
  63. "Предприниматель, бежавший из России, рассказал как ФСБ у него "отжимала" бизнес". tvrain.ru. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
  64. Волчек, Дмитрий. ФСБ контролирует буквально все. Радио Свобода (in Russian). Retrieved 2015-07-19.
  65. Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within
  66. Who was Alexander Litvinenko BBC, 13 December 2012.
  67. Boris Kagarlitsky, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Comparative Politics, writing in the weekly Novaya Gazeta, says that the bombings in Moscow and elsewhere were arranged by the GRU
  68. "David Satter – House Committee on Foreign Affairs" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  69. Felshtinsky & Pribylovsky 2008 , pp. 105–111
  70. Video on YouTube In Memoriam Aleksander Litvinenko, Jos de Putter, Tegenlicht documentary VPRO 2007, Moscow, 2004 Interview with Anna Politkovskaya
  71. Russian Federation: Amnesty International's concerns and recommendations in the case of Mikhail Trepashkin – Amnesty International
  72. Bomb Blamed in Fatal Moscow Apartment Blast, Richard C. Paddock, Los Angeles Times, 10 September 1999
  73. At least 90 dead in Moscow apartment blast, from staff and wire reports, CNN, 10 September 1999
  74. Evangelista, Matthew (2002). The Chechen Wars: Will Russia Go the Way of the Soviet Union?. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN   978-0-8157-2499-5., p. 81.
  75. Did Putin's Agents Plant the Bombs?, Jamie Dettmer, Insight on the News, 17 April 2000.
  76. ’’The consolidation of Dictatorship in Russia’’ by Joel M. Ostrow, Georgil Satarov, Irina Khakamada p.96
  77. Harding, Luke (2011). Mafia State. London: Guardian Books. ISBN   978-0852-65247-3.
  78. "UN report details grave human rights violations in Russian-occupied Crimea".Missing or empty |url= (help)