BLOG ENTRY Sunday 13 Marcy 2022
Putin Arrests Head of FSB’s Fifth Service
The leadership of the Fifth Service of the FSB, Russia’s main intelligence service, have reportedly been placed under house arrest.
The Fifth Service has been in charge of providing Putin with intelligence on political developments in Ukraine up to and on the eve of the invasion.
Sergey Beseda, head of the FSB’s foreign intelligence branch, has been arrested along with his deputy Anatoly Bolyukh. Both of these men were heavily involved in the planning for the invasion.
Putin is conducting what the Times of Israel (3/11/22) has termed a “purge” of military officials over failures in Ukraine. He has replaced over eight generals, and he has blamed his security services for faulty information about, for example, the amount of resistance that might be met in Ukraine.
Beseda is also charged with being responsible for embezzling $5 billion over an eight year time period. This money was to be directed at paying for subversion inside Ukraine. As Galeotti has noted, the Kremlin now wants to know what they got for all that money.
Several days ago, Putin appointed a commission to look into that very question. As Galeotti notes, when you want to know whether somebody will be found guilty at a high level in Russia, just look at the people appointed to the commission investigating the crime. In this case, all the major players on the investigative commission are people who would personally benefit if Beresda was ousted.
Galotti argues that the charges are not about embezzlement at all. They are instead a method of establishing a scapegoat for the failures in Ukraine. He also notes that commissions like this can be “mutual firing squads” that can be very disruptive for a security state.
In Moscow’s Shadow. Podcast. Mark Galeotti.