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Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

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Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

Heads roll in anti-corruption drive  
The Moscow Times , 15 May 2006  
Ten senior law enforcement officials were fired Friday as part of President Vladimir Putins anti-corruption pledge.  
Major Generals Yevgeny Kolesnikov and Alexander Plotnikov, both Federal Security Service deputy heads, were let go Friday, Interfax said. A third Federal Securit Service officer, Lieutenant General Sergei Fomenko, was also fired.  
Kolesnikov and Plotnikov dealt with counterterrorism and anti-constitutional activities. Fomenko was the head of the department responsible for fighting drug trafficking.  
Other terminations included those of Mikhail Nikonov, first deputy prosecutor at the Moscow Prosecutors Office, and six senior Interior Ministry officials. One of those was Sergei Minasyan, the transport police chief of Adler airport.  
The airport, which serves Sochi, was the destination of an Armenian plane that crashed earlier this month in the Black Sea, killing all 113 on board.  
Separately, Alexander Zherikhov, head of the Federal Customs Service, was fired Friday, one day after Putin moved the service from the Economic Development and Trade Ministry and put it under the direct control of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. Andrei Belyaninov, one of Putins KGB colleagues from his days in East Germany and the current head of the Federal Service for Defense Contracts, replaces Zherikhov.  
More people are likely to be fired, Putin suggested. "The work is not over, and not only within customs," Putin said in televised remarks.  
Putin said the dismissals were not meant to coincide with his state-of-the-nation address, in which he touched on corruption. "When I was working on the address, I knew that work [related to the dismissals] was under way," Putin said.  
The president suggested the Federal Security Service, or FSB, played a central role in all of the terminations.  
Spokespersons for the affected agencies who could be reached by telephone declined to comment.  
Pro-Kremlin political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky said the shake-up showed Putin wass serious about tackling corruption.  
Georgy Satarov, head of Indem, a think tank that deals with corruption-related issues, was skeptical of what the shake-up would bring. "Its battling corrupt individuals, not corruption," Satarov told Interfax. "The system needs to be changed."  
Andrei Soldatov, an independent security analyst, said the terminations reflected, above all, the FSBs mounting influence and internal changes at the security agency.  
A counterterrorism law signed by Putin in March made the National Anti-Terrorist Committee the top panel for coordinating anti-terrorism activities. The panel is headed by FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev.  
The new law also put regional FSB chiefs in charge of anti-terrorism efforts, meaning that in the event of a terrorist incident, all security operations would be run by FSB officials.  
The FSBs growing influence was also reflected in the choice of Belyaninov as head of the Federal Customs Service, given that Belyaninov worked with Putin in the KGBs Dresden office in the 1980s.  
Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, called Belyaninov a "cashier" who paid Putin his monthly salary.  
Belyaninovs tenure at Rosoboronexport, the state arms-trading monopoly, from November 2000 to April 2004, "undoubtedly" played a role in his appointment, Pukhov said. His record at the Federal Service for Defense Contracts, which he has headed since leaving Rosoboronexport, also helped him, Pukhov said.  
"His task there was to act as a watchdog over how the military brass spent money," Pukhov said of Belyaninovs work at the Federal Service for Defense Contracts. "He was partially successful with this, but not as successful as his work with Rosoboronexport."  
The appointment solidifies the control of the clan of current and former security officials, many of whom come from St. Petersburg, known as the siloviki, said political analyst Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of the Panorama think tank.  
Pribylovsky said the appointment would do nothing to curb corruption. "The corruption will remain, but the money will be going to a different clan," Pribylovsky said.  
In a related move, Sergei Mironov, speaker of the Federation Council, has taken steps to remove from power Boris Gutin, the representative of the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district legislature; Igor Ivanov, of Primorye region; Arkady Sarkisyan, of the republic of Khakasia; and Alexander Sabadash of the Nenets autonomous district.  
Stanislav Belkovsky, director of the Council for National Strategy think tank, said Gutin and Ivanov were involved in customs-related "schemes." Sarkisyan and Sabadash, he said, are being punished for carving out their own power bases within the security agencies.  
© Copyright 2006 The Moscow Times  

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