Jefferson Morley | November 8, 2018
Russia: Federal Security Service (FSB)
FSB in the News
- “FSB: Putin’s Other Spy Service” (March 8, 2019)
- “Fate of Arrested American Linked to Russian Spy Maria Butina” (January 4, 2019)
- “Russia’s FSB: Ready to Publish Correspondence On Alleged Election Interference” (December 11, 2018)
The FSB, the largest security service in Europe, reportedly employs 66,000 uniformed personnel. Established in 1994, the FSB evolved out of the communist-era KGB. It is the Russian equivalent of the American FBI.
FSB’s chief responsibilities are controlling borders, combatting organized crime, counterterrorism, and counterintelligence, where it is considered extremely effective.
The FSB embodies the phenomenon of the siloviki, the network of military and intelligence officers who have risen to power along with Vladimir Putin, himself a former KGB officer. Alexander Bortnikof has served as director since 2008.
The FSB enforces Putin’s policies of harassing and controlling non-governmental organizations, human rights groups, and independent think tanks and publications. According to the U.S. State Department, Russian law requires internet service providers to give the FSB has access to user accounts, including email, text messages, contacts, user information, and audio and video files.
In theory, the FSB does not operate outside of Russian borders but its agents were allegedly involved in the 2006 fatal poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, an FSB defector living in London. Foreign operations outside Russia are typically conducted by the GRU, military intelligence directorate, or the SVR, foreign intelligence service, that evolved from the KGB’s First Directorate.
- FSB web site
- Official biography: Alexander Bortnikof
- Russia 2017 Human Rights Report (U.S. State Department)
- Comments/Corrections/Leaks about FSB