Terrorism prevention in Russia: one year after Beslan
Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan. Agentura.Ru Studies and Research
Centre ASRC. September 2005
Agentura.Ru Studies and
Research Centre / ASRC / is a Russian non-profit
non-government organization providing research, analysis and commentaries
covering security and terrorism issues. Founded in 2005 Centre is a research
department of Agentura.Ru project (www.agentura.ru)
- internet-community of journalists who wrote about intelligence and security
services. Centre experts are journalists, former security and intelligence
agents, victims of espionage cases, lawyers, human rights activists.
Soldatov is a director of ASRC - firstname.lastname@example.org,
Irina Borogan is a deputy director of ASRC - email@example.com
- System up to Beslan
- Participants and structure of fight against terrorism,
- Lack of system
- Changes in system
of coordination and information exchange
- The Interdepartmental exchange,
- Information exchange with special services of other states,
- Coordination and information exchange on the North
- Coordination on hostage crisis, subversive and terrorist attacks
- Changes in system
of information sharing on preparing terrorist attacks
- In the central device of special services,
- In the North-Caucasian region,
prosecution reform and reflections on subversive and terrorist attacks
- Tactics of special divisions,
- Expansion of new divisions,
- Changes in the punishment
Reforming a nation’s security services is an inevitable consequence of
large-scale terrorist incidents. The 11 September terrorist attacks on Washington and New York
led to historic reforms of the US
intelligence community, just as explosions in Madrid led to the reorganization of the
Spanish secret services.
reforms have changed three key components of terrorism prevention and
- Early warning system to detect
and prevent acts of terrorism,
- An exchange of this information
between the interested services / coordination of actions/,
- Prosecution of terrorists,
including liquidation of channels of financing and delivery of weapons
is not exception. An attack by insurgents in
Ingushetia in June 2004 and the capture of hostages in Beslan in September the
same year coincided with a period of reform in the Ministry of Internal Affairs
(Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del: MVD) and Federal Security Service (Federalnaya
sluzhba bezopasnosti: FSB). In the immediate aftermath of the Beslan siege,
President Vladimir Putin ordered the reform of these departments, signing the
Decree 1167, which looked at "urgent measures to increase the efficiency
of the fight against terrorism".
By July 2005, the structural reforms to the MVD and FSB were completed.
The following changes have been made:
- The Principle of management of
counterterrorist operation in the North Caucasus
- The Principle of management of
actions of power structures involved in the resolution of subversive and
terrorist actions in region
- The Principle of information
gathering and analysis on the leaders of insurgents in the territory of
the North Caucasus
- Tactics of special divisions in
The speed in which these reforms have been implemented is impressive.
However, the efficiency in which they
are implemented remains a vital unknown question.
2. System up to Beslan
a 1998 statute "About fight against terrorism", the FSB, MVD, Service
of External Intelligence (Sluzhba vneshney razvedki: SVR), the Federal
Protection Service (Federalnaya sluznba okhrani: FSO) and the Ministry of
Defense are all tasked with fighting terrorism.
FSB, which has an anti-terrorism division that in inherited from the KGB, had
primary role until 2003. So has developed historically: the antiterrorist
division of FSB is the successor of KGB division of fight against terrorism
(Upravlenie borbi s terrorismom - UBT). This Division has continued to exist
within the limits of FSK, and then FSB. After capture of hostages in
Budyonnovsk (June, 1995) new director of FSB Michael Barsukov authorized the
formation of the FSB’s Antiterrorism Center, which UTB served as both a model
and integral part. Besides the problem of fight against terrorism has been put
in the hands of the Management of perspective programs of FSB created in 1996.
In 1997 the Department on struggle against terrorism has been generated on the
basis of the Antiterrorist center. In 1999 the Department has been incorporated
with the Management of the constitutional safety recreated in 1998 (so have
named the division, engaged political investigation). This federal organization
has been adopted at the local level across the Russian Federation.
In 2003 of
the Ministry of Internal Affairs became more heavily involved. The Ministry of
Internal Affairs was given jurisdiction over two aspects of anti-terrorism:
- In the North Caucasus: in July, 2003 MVD took
over management of the Regional Operations Staff (Regionalny operativny
shtab: ROSh) responsible for counterterrorist operations in the North Caucasus.
- At a federal level: in August, 2003 the MVD
further strengthened its antiterrorism capabilities with the creation of
"Centre T", witch was integrated into the organized crime
division. The center has generated regional divisions which began to use
bulk arrests on suspicion in terrorism. For example, in December, 2004 all
operations against terrorist grouping Hizb ut-Tahrir were carried out by
the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
As a result
of the reorganizations, jurisdiction became unclear and overlapping but the
coordinating center established to address these problems did not have the
authority to clarify the situation and did not even establish a means for
information sharing. The statute “About fight against terrorism" allowed
for the creation of coordination committees among the Federal and regional
establishments as well as between the Federal ministries. While the law allows for
there creation it does not develop the authority. The Federal Commission (FATK) was created in
1998 (its head is a chairman of the government) and many regions also followed
the model. . However many regions, critically Chechen, were not formed until much
later. The ladder case not until July 2004. The legislation allows for the
commission to meet at a minimum of every one to three months. This prevents the
commission from functioning as a forum for daily information exchange, and
undermines the timeliness of any information it does have.
In the North Caucasus the picture was very confused. The FSB had both regional and national
officers gathering intelligence, as well as the Ministry of Internal Affairs
and Military Intelligence Directorate (Glavnoye razvedovatel’noye
upravlenie: GRU) having concurrent and overlapping jurisdiction.
Even with the coordination committees, intelligence sharing was practically was
was regularly stating that there was a linkage between Chechen and
international Islamic terrorists. Despite the clear implications for
international cooperation these charges made, the intelligence cooperation was
non-existent. Any information exchange was supposed pass through The Common
Wealth of Independent States (CIS), but the system was dysfunctional. The CIS
was established in 2000 to handle information exchange, but has yet to develop
the capacity to conduct its mission.
Thus by the summer of 2004 the Russian intelligence response to terrorism
was in complete disarray.
reforms have mentioned all components of this system:
3. Changes in system of coordination and
Information exchange inside the Russian security and law enforcement
The 2004 reforms
to the security services resulted in the following structural changes:
In the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The central
administrative board on fight against organized crime (GUBOP) was transformed
into the Department on fight against organized crime and terrorism of the
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia (DBOPiT). In structure of DBOPiT was
created the management of the analysis and development of strategic decisions
in the field of fight against terrorism. In operative submission DBOPiT are translated,
except for the Center "T", the Center of special maintenance (the
Center "C") and spetsnaz group "Rys". Functions on
maintenance of activity of a staff on management of counterterrorist operations
in territories of the North-Caucasian region were assigned to the Center of
operative management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In Federal Security Service. The
Department for the Protection of the Constitutional System and the Fight
against Terrorism was renamed into Service. Alexander Bragin was appointed as
the new head of Service. His entire experience in combating terrorism is
limited to his brief stint in Moscow.
He was appointed to the FSB central office in June 2003, as deputy head of the
Counterterrorism Department. Prior to that he led the FSB Chelyabinsk
Directorate and displayed unshakable loyalty to the President.
reforming of antiterrorist divisions was mostly cosmetic (in FSB all department
were renamed into services, in the Ministry of Internal Affairs all main
directorates - into departments). Substantive changes at a level of coordination have not
country that suffered large-scale attack in recent years has faced problems in
co-ordinating the way the secret services and law-enforcement agencies gathered
and analysed information about the preparation of attacks. Solving this problem is nearly
impossible without the creation of a dedicated co-ordination structure.
As a result
in some countries new special services were formed which have included independent
structures (such as the Ministry of Homeland Security in USA). And in
all these countries were created special coordinating centers. In United
Kingdom - Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, In the USA - Terrorist Threat
Integration Center which later was replaced by National Counterterrorism
Center, in Spain - Centro Nacional de Coordinacion Antiterrorista. These small
structures included officers of all law enforcement and security structures of
country responsible for combating terrorism and these centers are responsible
for information exchange between departments, and also for preparing forecasts
on terrorist threat for the country leaders. The same centers are responsible
for information exchange with special services of other countries.
Such structure has not been created in Russia. In October
2004, Nikolay Patrushev, FSB director, told the Duma that a new co-ordinated
centre should be created to help bring together the different departments for
the war on terrorism. This plan has yet to be realised. As
result, the problem of coordination and an exchange of the information between
FSB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, SVR, FSO and MO (direct participants
according to the law "About fight against terrorism") are not solved.
Information exchange with special services of other countries
As a result
of structural reform of FSB’s Service for the Protection of the Constitutional
System and the Fight against Terrorism was formed new division: Directorate on
fight against international terrorism (UBMT FSB). Probably, this Directorate
also should be responsible "for destruction of insurgents abroad"
that President Vladimir Putin has declared right after Beslan. Besides on
October, 12th, 2004 the former first deputy director of FSB Anatoly Safonov has
been appointed as the special envoy - the special representative of the
President of the Russian
Federation concerning the international
cooperation in fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime.
6th, 2004 director of FSB Nikolay Patrushev and director of FBI Robert Muller
have signed the memorandum of cooperation between the two services. After
signing the document Patrushev has declared: "the memorandum which
particularly stipulates our cooperation on a lot of directions is signed. First
of all, this cooperation in struggle against the international terrorism, in
struggle against the crimes connected with the weapon of mass destruction, and
in other directions ".
Directorate on fight against international terrorism of FSB and making the
deputy director of FSB as the special representative of the president on these
questions is a positive step, but is not a solution of the essential problem of
how to ménage the constant daily exchange of the operative information
with special services of other countries. The post of the special
representative is primarily a point for applying diplomatic pressure on
countries that are not cooperating with Russia
in extraditing suspected terrorists, such as UK’s reluctance to extradite
The UBMT FSB
maintains its own contacts with foreign special services (such as FBI), but
only in limited tactical areas and without information exchange.
limited connections are in contrast to the rest of the developed world where
cooperation is far more extensive. In
the Europe in 2001 practice of the common European arrest warrant has been
introduced, and after acts of terrorism on March, 14th in Madrid the post of
the coordinator of EU on terrorism was formed. Within the limits of Commonwealth
axis of the USA - the Great Britain - Canada
- Australia - New Zealand
have a long established intelligence coordination system that now includes
terrorism databases created system of the incorporated databases on terrorists
and an exchange of the operative information.
Developed countries all have longstanding diplomatic, legal, and even
technical cooperation. The Russian special services are not entered in these
systems. The only daily international contacts are through the CIS and its
Joint Databank CIS (OBD).
Coordination and information exchange in the North
Now in this
region two coordination centers operate:
- The Regional operations staff
on carrying out of counterterrorist operation in territory of the North
- And subordinated ROSH the
Combined Group of Forces in the
North Caucasus (OGV)
The Regional operations staff (ROSH) has been
created in January, 2001 by the decree of the President of the Russian
Federation "for a direct management of special forces and means on
detection and suppression of activity of the terrorist organizations and
groups, their leaders and the persons participating in the organization and
realization of acts of terrorism in territory of the North-Caucasian
region". Originally ROSH management has been assigned to the deputy
director of FSB - the head of antiterrorism department. However on July, 4th,
2003 president Putin has transferred responsibility on a management of the
Regional operations staff to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However actually
ROSH has remained under the control of FSB: to a post of ROSH head appointed
exclusively generals of FSB, but before it translated them in the Ministry of
Internal Affairs. As example, admiral Jury Maltsev, up to that FSB supervised
Operative management on coordination of carrying out of counterterrorist
operations, has been translated in the Ministry of Internal Affairs on a post
of the deputy minister of internal affairs and this very day is appointed by
September, 12th, 2004, later ten days after events in Beslan, at ROSH there was
a new head, and again from FSB - Arcady Edelev, the FSB general, headed
Operatively-coordination division FSB in the North
Caucasus. However before he has been translated in the Ministry of
Internal Affairs where he has received the rank pf the general-lieutenant of
militia and a post of the deputy minister. Thus the responsibility for activity
ROSH remains on the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and this principle has not
been changed after Beslan. November 2004, Dmitry Kozak, the presidential envoy
in the North Caucasus, declared:’ Within four
years of functioning as a regional operations staff, its right and the
responsibility have been regulated by nothing’.
The Combined Group of Forces (Objedinennaya gruppirovka voysk: OGV) in
the North Caucasus was granted the authority to clear the Chechen Republic at the end of September, 1999, by Presidential
decree, and became operational on December 26, 1999. The last large-scale OGV
operation was liquidation of the Gelaev band in March, 2000. After that
insurgents changed tactics, moving from guerrilla to terrorist operations.
beginning generals of Armed forces were appointed to a post of commander OGV:
Victor Kazantsev, Vladimir Moltenskoj, Sergey Makarov, Valery Baranov are
27th, 2005 Evgeny Lazebin has been appointed as new chief of the the
Combined Group of Forces (OGV). Evgeny Lazebin is the
assistant to commander-in-chief of Internal troupes (Vnutrennie Voiska - VV -
the armed part of Ministry of Internal Affairs). As result, the second
structure on coordination of actions of law enforcement agencies, secret
services and army in fight against terrorists on the North
Caucasus also has passed under the control of the Ministry of Internal
the responsibility for situation in North Caucasus
to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and to its army divisions is a positive
step in the fight against the illegal armed groups, but not in the prevention
of terrorist attacks. The use of conventional forces, military or
para-military, against terrorist cells is problematic. The small, clandestine
nature of terrorist’s cells, with their ability to blend into the surrounding
population negates the conventional force advantages of overwhelming numbers
and firepower.. There is also question in the capabilities of the Ministry of
Internal Affairs to deal with the issue, it should be noted the
counter-terrorism responsibilities only came to the ministry in 2003, so its intelligence and investigative
resources are still evolving. For example, Intelligence division of Internal
troops (VV) operate only as a tactical intelligence arm, but one without the
ability to penetrate terrorist cells, let alone providing strategic analysis.
problems plagued the United
Kingdom in its dealings with the IRA.
Through the end of 70s the primary responsibility for combating terrorism
rested with the military and the local police, the Royal Ulster Constabulary
service such as MI5 practically did not operate in region, considering this
territory as a colony which should be in MI6 jurisdiction. MI6 thought it was a
domestic problem and in the preview of MI5. Thus neither had any significant
presence until the end of the conflict. MI5 deployed a single communications
officer. The quantity of acts of terrorism in the Great Britain began to decrease
only after in 1992 then MI5 began the main service, responsible for combating
Coordination in the case of a hostage crisis and subversive and
August, 2004 it was the responsibility of the regional/republic FSB to deal
with a hostage situation or terrorist
attack. The practice was very different:
- During hostage crisis in
Budyonnovsk (June, 1995) the operations staff was headed originally by
Minister of Internal Affairs Victor Erin, director of FSB Sergey Stepashin
acted as the assistant, and a little bit later the staff was headed by the
deputy minister of internal affairs general-colonel Michael Egorov.
Besides vice-premier of the Russian Federation Nikolay Egorov, the
assistant to General public prosecutor Oleg Gaidanov took part in meetings
in the place of act of terrorism.
- During hostage crisis in Kizlyar
and Pervomaisk (January, 1996) deputy minister of internal affairs
general-lieutenant Paul Golubets supervised the operations staff.
- During hostage crisis in
settlement Lazarevskoe under Sochi (September, 2000) the operations staff
was headed by the deputy director of FSB, the chief of department in fight
against terrorism German Ugryumov
and by the deputy minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kozlov.
- During the Moscow theater hostage crisis (October,
2002) the operations staff was headed by Vladimir Pronichev, the deputy
director of FSB, and the deputy minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir
In all cases
the responsibility for the operations staff was held by officials at least
deputy head of the power department, representing the federal authority.
situation was changed after intrusion of
insurgents into Ingushetia (on 21-22 June 2004).
On August, 16th, 2004 12 new divisions - operational
management groups (Grupy operativnogo upravleniya: GrOU), were created in the
North Caucasus. Each is headed by a colonel from the MVD and act as direct
management of military forces for the suppression of subversive and terrorist
actions. Each GrOU includes conventional and special operations
troops from the MVD and the ministries of
defence and emergency. Each
GrOU head has the rank of deputy head of the regional anti-terrorist forces,
thereby making them the second highest ranking official in the region after the
governor in terms of combating terrorism. In the event of hostages being taken or
insurgents making intrusions into Russian-held territory, the GrOU commander
will automatically assume control and has the right to make decisions,
independent of control from Moscow. Names of GrOU commanders are
coded. As result, for the first time in the history of the Russian hostage
crises, the responsibility for addressing the crisis rested with the regional
rather than central authorities.
structure was in place in Northern Ossetia
during Beslan and the director was already in place. The chaos at Beslan
clearly demonstrated the GrOUs effectiveness was equal to zero. In Beslan the
chief of local FSB Division Valery Andreev supervised the operations staff, as
did the two deputy directors of FSB - Anisimov and Pronichev, and also the
chief of "Center T" of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Demidov. So
the situation had three national figures as well as the local FSB official all
direction the situation. In addition, for the first time in history of the
Russian hostage crises, the responsibility for addressing the crisis rested
with the regional authorities, even though they didn’t seem to have de facto
One of the
lessons of Beslan was the need for
better local control, which lead to the strengthening of the principle of GrOU
domination. There has been tremendous doctrinal development, - both in Northern Ossetia, and in other regions of Southern
federal district-in 2004 GrOU had 12 special doctrines. In addition, by the end of 2004, the Southern District had
19 thousand military men of various power ministries at its disposal.
reforms and additional resources, the system is still weak. In February, 2005
Dmitry Kozak sharply criticised the GrOUs, as recent experience demonstrated
the inability of local commanders to deal with these hostage takings. According
to the newspaper "Kommersant", Kozak during a session with
counterterrorism officials, wanted the regional FSB to be in control. According
to one of participants of session, "nobody bears any responsibility for
failures of operations neither in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, nor in
Ministry of Defense". The decree designed to solve this situation remains
response structure in Russia
has no analogies in the developed world.
In the USA
"regular" hostage barricade it would be up to local law enforcement
(State, county, or municipal) depending on rules and capabilities of the
forces. Terrorist related hostage situations are in the FBI's domain (in
particular, FBI Hostage Rescue Team - HRT). Delta and Seal Team are currently
prohibited by law from operating in the US, and thus are used only for
In the United Kingdom
it’s a Metropolitan police’s domain. The Police would be responsible for
negotiations and for everything before any attack to liberate hostages. The
decision to start storming belongs to the Prime Minister - advised by COBRA
(Cabinet Office Briefing Room A) - where upon Metropolitan Police chief signs a
paper giving the SAS order to act.
GrOU as a center on decision-making during crises similar to Beslan will only
lead to shifting responsibility from the federal to the local authorities, but
with out corresponding shifts of resources it is an exercise in preemptive
blame shifting if and when a failure occurs.
4. Changes in system of information sharing on
preparing terrorist attacks
23rd, 2005 Jury Sapunov, the head of FSB department on fight against the
international terrorism, declared that in the first quarter 2005 FSB had
prevented more than 70 acts of terrorism and exposed cells operating in 50
Russian regions. However, due to the lack of concrete data about the prevented
acts of terrorism it is not possible to verify his information. Meanwhile, it’s
widely known that the structural changes required of the FSB for combating
terrorism have not been implemented. The only exception is the North Caucasus.
By summer of
2004 the Northern Caucasus regional committees
operated some divisions of the national FSB, such as those responsible for
gathering information on terrorist groups. Heads of these structures are a part
of the Regional operations staff on carrying out of counterterrorist operation
(ROSH). These are following structures:
- FSB Operative division on
coordination of carrying out of counterterrorist operations. Ramzan
Kadyrov's troops submit to this management.
- FSB Operatively-coordination
division in the North Caucasus (OKU). It conducts special actions
assistance to employees to the OKU FSB on the North
Caucasus. It supplies in FSB Ingushetia, and a mobile group
of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
- Provisional operative group of
Directorate of military counterintelligence of FSB in the North-Caucasian
region (VOG UVKR FSB in SKR). Primary goals VOG are: a filtration of
refugees, counter prospecting work, the prevention of acts of terrorism
and clearing captured and hostages.
- Besides in territory of the North Caucasus territorial bodies of FSB, and also
division of Main intelligence directorate (military intelligence) and the
Ministry of Internal Affairs operate. Coordination of these structures had
to the above, it also supports division of Main intelligence directorate and
the Ministry of Internal Affairs Prior to the coordination authority, the
various services cooperated on a fragmentary basis.
system was altered post Beslan. On November, 25th, 2004 the member of the
parliamentary commission on investigation of attack on school in Beslan, the
deputy of the State Duma Valery Dyatlenko declared that at joint meeting of
chiefs of regional divisions of FSB, MVD and Ministry of Defense "have
decided to unite efforts of operative employees of power structures".
"Inside of a counterterrorist grouping - has emphasized Dyatlenko, - the
special prospecting service which unites efforts of all subjects of
operatively-search activity - FSB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and
Military Intelligence Directorate (Glavnoye razvedovatel’noye upravlenie:
miss the point. The difficulty is not in gathering information for a terrorism
prosecution, but a question of coordination information to prevent terrorism in
the first place. The new structure is
responsible for tactical (army) intelligence not prosecutorial intelligence.
This thesis is confirmed by the fact, that the commander of new intelligence
body became one of deputy chief of the Combined Group of Forces
(OGV), the officer of Internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
5. Terrorism prosecution reform and reflections
on subversive and terrorist attacks
Tactics of special operations groups
The FSB, MVD
and GRU were making use of liquadations of suspected insurgents in the Chechen
republic by summer of 2004.
The Main intelligence directorate (GRU) in the
beginning of the second Chechen campaign has generated with in one of spetsnaz
brigades two special groups, , which are comprised of ethnic Chechens:
"East" and "West". Officially they named as battalions of
special purpose of 42-d division of Ministry of Defense. The HQ of group
"East" (commanded by colonel Sulim Yamadaev, former chief of Chechen
national guards) is in Gudermes. HQ of group "West" (commanded by
lieutenant colonel Said-Magomed Kakiev, a Hero of Russia) is in Grozny. Both of a
battalion are manned ethnic Chechens.
role of both brigades is the liquidations of suspected insurgents and their
work is held in high esteem by Moscow.
In August 2004 Sergey Ivanov, Russian minister of defence, had met with the
Spetsnaz commanders to declare his support and supply them with more advanced
Federal Security Service (FSB) has two different structures engaged
in this arena. First, the so-called Summary special groups (SSG), which consist
of operatives of regional FSB divisions and soldiers from Spetsnaz troups from
the MVD. Ten such groups were created in April 2002 to carry out special duties
in the Chechen Republic. They are
engaged in the liquidations of insurgents, operating independently from local
The FSB also
deploys to the Chechen conflict territorial divisions consisting of
"Alpha" groups, so-called "heavy faces”. During their month long
deployments they are tasked with
liquidations, and report to FSB divisional command in Chechnya.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs also deploys
liquidation groups from other central Russian regions to gain combat experience
These so-called mobile groups operate in the Chechen
Republic, but also in Dagestan and Ingushetia.
In May 2004, President Putin ordered the creation of a
special unit to serve the Chechen President. The so-called "Kadyrov
guards" as they were former bodyguards of former Chechen President Akhmad
Kadyrov, are assigned to the Chechen Ministry of Internal Affairs, and serve a
role similar to the SSG. Thus Ramzan Kadyrov who continues to supervise
activity of the regiment. In March, 2005 he declared that this regiment is
under control of the FSB Operative directorate in Hankala.
the attack by Chechen rebels on the city of Nazran, in June 2004, the strategy of using
force was expanded. Rashid Nurgaliev, Minister of Internal Affairs, also
expanded the area of operations of the Kadyrov regiment: He said: "The
regiment of special purpose of the MVD will actively counteract extremists outside
the Chechen Republic, taking part in operations on destruction of terrorists in
any Russian region". Kadyrov’s regiment has taken full advantage of this
broader authority, operating in Dagestan
during the 2004 and 2005.
Special divisions have also been employing new tactics,
including the controversial “countercapture” operations against families of
accused terrorists. This term was publicly used for the first time by public
prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov before the State Duma on 29 October 2004. He,
in particular, has declared: "There should be a simplified procedure of
legal proceedings, "counter-capture" of hostages, institutes of
agents, protection of witnesses and the persons introduced in terrorist
structures. As to counter capture: if people have gone - if it is possible to
name them people - on such certificate, as terrorist detention of relatives and
display to the same terrorists that can occur to these relatives, can rescue
people. Therefore here it is not necessary to close eyes and to do such "diplomatic
have not approved the policy of counter-capture, but it is being used. The
first capture has occurred in the spring of 2004 when more than 40 relatives of
Chechen field commander Magomed Hambiev were taken into custody. As a result
Hambiev has surrendered to the federal authorities. The second capture of
relatives has occurred during the siege in Beslan: on September, 3rd in area
Nadterechnaya of the Chechen Republic,
where relatives of wife Aslan Maskhadov’s Kusama, including her aged father
have been detained. In December, 2004 there were messages on new capture of
relatives of Aslan Maskhadov. On August, 12th, 2005 Natasha Humadova, the
sister of the field commander Doku Umarov was taken by the authorities.
operations become more urban focused, the burden of response falls increasingly
on SOBR (special operations unit of
Ministry of Internal Affairs, they are Russian analog of SWAT in USA) and
special units of regional FSB divisions. In the summer of 2004 important
reforms have been made in these divisions.
In FSB there
are two regional systems of special troops. The first is a legacy of the
"Alpha" and "Vympel" groups, now the Special purpose center
of FSB. During Soviet times regional divisions of "Alpha" were
created in Khabarovsk and Krasnodar, and in 90-s regional groups of
"Vympel" were deployed in cities with especially important nuclear
objects. In all other regional FSB
divisions, instead of "Alpha" and "Vympel", Groups of
Support of Operative actions (OSOM) were created. It’s not special troops in
the strictest sense, but members of the division who are physically strong and
draw their resources from within their existing divisions. They will not compete with existing FSB special
federal district there were only two divisions of the level of Special purpose
center of FSB: Krasnodar’s "Alpha" and
the former seventh department of "Vympel", which had been withdrawn
from the Chechen Republic
after the first Chechen war and deployed in Stavropol area. During the summer of 2005 in Dagestan a regional division on of the Special purpose
center of FSB of the Southern federal
district was created. During a trip to Dagestan, President Putin noted, that
similar structures will appear and in other regions of Russia.
The practice of "countercapture" not only
contradicts Russian legislation, but is also useless in terms of preventing
acts of terrorism, and resolving hostage crises. Countercapture is an act of
intimidation and not a counter strategy. There is an implied threat to the
people being held, and if it is not carried out, then the tactics will be
ineffective in the future. If harm is inflicted on a largely “innocent” group
of “hostages” taken by the government, the political implications will be disastrous.
There is a
mixed history of using this tactics in different countries - from Germany during the Second world war up to France
during the Algerian campaign. But this method in all cases was a tactical success led to a strategic failure.
changing operational environment, shifting from a rural insurgency to an urban
campaign, calls into question the value of the organizations and lessons of the
Northern Caucasus region. The current special units of the GRU, FSB, and
others, are not counter-insurgent or even counter-terrorist units, but are the
instrument of punishment and intimidation.
have achieved is to escalate the extreme violence ,and shift it from the region
to the wider Russian
Federation. The ability of these units
to operate outside of any strategic
concept, let alone the law, and with open acknowledgment undermines the Russian
state, and does nothing to reduce the conflict they were established to
address. In fact these units have succeeded in widening the conflict.. For
example, Kadvrov’s operations in Dagestan
during April, 2005 hardly has led to the
negative assessment above, it is necessary to recognize some of the unique
positive result of reform and the creation of regional division of the Special
purpose center of FSB in the Southern federal district.
Expansion of new divisions
Internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (VV).
expansion of the Internal Ministry troops began during the autumn of 2004. It was decided to expand 49-th separate
brigade would be expanded and deployed in three separate areas: Nalchik, Nazran and
Kartsy (near Vladikavkaz).
2005 commander-in-chief of Internal troops general-colonel Nikolay Rogozhkin
said that the transfer of operational command to Internal Ministry troops will
not be completed until 2006. In addition, the current operational formations,
brigade-battalion, will be replaced with divisional-regimental formations.
which have 600 members, will be placed into 2,000 member regiments. Two new
regiments, located in Sochi and Nalchik, will be created from existing
special battalions. Additional forces of internal troops will be deployed to Krasnodar territory, Dagestan,
Karachaevo-Circassia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Kalmykia, and groups of operative
management (GrOU) will be created. All military commandant's offices (MO)
operating in mountain areas will be transferred to Internal troops.
The entire command
structure of the Internal troops also has been changed. In June, 2005 President
Vladimir Putin signed the decree that has created a more regionally oriented
the mission requirements there will be three types of regional structures:
district, regional command and regional management.
commands will be based on existing regional formations in the Northern
Caucasus, except Adygea and Kalmykia. The regional staff will have
the power to deploy all forces (Internal Affairs and Military) operating with
in the region as operations require. They can do this without Ministry of Defense.
The Ministry of Defense. The Ministry of Defense will
also increase its strength in the North-Caucasian region. The 42nd Division’s
army special troops willl operate in Barmut, Vedeno, and Shatoi.
In Botlih on
border with the Chechen Republic and Georgia, , a mountain brigade will
be deployed by 2006. An additional mountain brigade will be assigned to
accelerated transfer of divisions into North Caucasus
proceeds. By the end of 2007 the military will have 45 701 personal in the
district as fully contract force, a total of 4 fully staffed divisions. Also
2006-2007 there will be a brigade of sea infantry in Dagestan
(Kaspijsk), a some regiments of 19-th
division (Vladikavkaz), and also 135-th regiment (Prohladny,
critically, in 2005 the State Duma approved an amendment to the law "About
defense", providing for a legal basis for the application of armed forces
inside the country - against terrorists.
Federal security service. FSB strength is also
increasing in the North Caucasus, but not from increasing divisional strengths,
but from the reorganizing and redeploying of Border Service troops.
2004 the Border service moved from a linear principle of state border
protection to more regional orientation. Instead of ten regional border
divisions covering the entire Federation, there are now only seven, organized among
the federal districts.
reform created a Regional Border Division for the Southern federal district
(RPU FSB of the Russian Federation
on JUFO) with a staff in Rostov.
There are 5
geographic divisions in this region (in the structure of RPU of FSB on JUFO):
the North-Caucasian border division (SKPU) with a HQ in Stavropol, the
Chernomorsko-Azovskoye border division of a coast guard (CHAPUBO) with a HQ in
Krasnodar, the Caspian border division (KPU) with a HQ in Makhachkala, border
division on the Volgograd area with a HQ in Volgograd, border division on the
Rostov area with a HQ in Rostov-on-Don. Border division on the Chechen republic
was created on the basis of Argun border command. This will be the most active
region in Russia.
2004 President Putin matched the troop commitments with the necessary
infrastructure, signing the decree "About measures on maintenance of
border safety in the North Caucasian region". The document provides
construction of more than 70 bordered facilities, several HQ facilities, and
the center of a professional training, and some roads and development of an
infrastructure on places of residing of frontier guards. JUFO accepted all of
the decrees in June of 2005.
July, 2005, after a visit to Dagestan, Vladimir Putin instructed the Minister
of Economic Development and Trade German Gref, to find money for strengthening
of the North Caucasus border. Gref was able to
increasing spending from the original 1,445 billion rbl. up to 6,03 billion
rbl. Much of the spending will to the erection of border facilities, but funds
will also provide for technical control, and also over construction of
habitation for frontier guards.
on all recent changes, commander-in-chief of Internal troop’s general-colonel
Nikolay Rogozhkin declared that former organizational-regular changes have
forced to refuse heavy combat material that not always was justified. Thus, use
of tanks at storm of buildings in city conditions as it occurred in the winter
2004-2005, probably, will be continued.
seem to be following the Spanish model, where the Spanish Parliament passed
legislation increasing the Army operational scope, four days after the March 12th
Madrid bombings. But unlike Spain,
where the Army only supports civil authority, the Russian military has
operational authority. This is a
critical difference with profound implications.
All of the
aforementioned changes seem to leave the FSB republican (regional) divisions in
Southern federal district on periphery of federal attention.
focus has been on the Internal Affairs and Military the FSB has produced unique divisions in power structures which in
a condition to conduct secret-service work in region.
Changes in the punishment system
not significant changes in this area during the year after Beslan tragedy. Last
changes have been made in June 2004, then Federation Council approved amendments to the Criminal code that
established the maximum sentence for terrorism crimes
would be life imprisonment.
only one unsuccessful attempt to change the punishment system after Beslan: In
January 2005 the State Duma has rejected amendments providing punishments of
hostage crisis has had only a limited impact on the security services reform.
The chaos of the response can be partially explained by the confusion over who
had authority during the on going reform process. The tragedy of the September 1-3rd
siege only served to highlight the soundness of the principles being
incorporated in the on going reforms.
Some of those are highlighted below.
- Coordination and information interchange
recognizing the critical importance in coordinating information, the joint
coordination center is still not created. The problem of coordination and an
exchange of the information between FSB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, SVR,
FSO and MO is not solved, the sharing of information with and between
international partners is even worse. Despite the role, the Special Envoy still
has not exercised any authority in these matters. The strategic issues remain open, the daily
sharing of tactical information is no better.
Despite all the changes the new bodies and authorities missions remain
vaguely conceived and poorly defined.
In the North Caucasus while it appears positive to have both of
the coordination centers of carrying out of counterterrorist operations under
the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its army divisions
(Internal troops - VV) rather than scattered across any ministries, Internal
affairs do not posses the experience or intelligence capacity to deal with
terrorism. Again, the creation of new
structures - Groups of operative management (GrOU) for actions during captures
of hostages, is a good first step, it remains unclear who has tactical
responsibility, which is one of the key failings of Beslan.
- Gathering and the analysis of the information on preparing
sources, the tactical intelligence picture has improved with the establishment
of OGV. However there is still no strategic collection and analysis center
focusing on the Northern Caucasus. The rest of the intelligence community has
escaped necessary reorganization. Thus the most critical do not tool in
combating terrorism, intelligence, in not being, nor is it currently capable of
being fully exploited.
- Prosecution of terrorists and reflection of subversive and
the practice of "countercaptures" had been expanded and legalized.
This act of intimidation is largely ineffective and contradicts fundamental
Russian legislation. The recruitment and
deployment of some of these units actually exacerbates the crisis and can widen
the potential of interethnic conflict. The lack of control of these unites also
raises worrying questions. The key concern is the lessons being learned in the
region are being misapplied. Indiscriminant application of force rarely works
in a rural environment but is especially counter-productive in an urban
setting. As terrorism moves to a more urban domain a new set of skills and
tactics will have to be developed. Russia is preparing to fight a
conflict that is already over.
largely negative lessons of the past, Russia is developing appropriate
measures. The growth of quantity divisions of Internal troops of MVD, army and
Border service, and of FSB in region is
growing. The coordination structures are in place but need to be utilized. The
security services seem to recognize the application of force has been
counterproductive and are exploring more appropriate uses of their resources.
transfer of capabilities from FSB to Internal Affairs is significant.
Traditionally the three main activities of state security agencies were:
revealing, prevention, and suppression of crime. Counter-terrorism, and most
particularly counter-insurgency, requires a different set of skills. The
Ministry of Internal Affairs has more capabilities, but it needs to utilize the
resources of the FSB to maximize its advantages.
clearing gap in capabilities involves countering terrorist financing. Despite
the actions taken by the US
after the 9/11 attacks, Russia
have still not developed a national strategy for combating terrorism or
criminal financing. This would seem to be an area that the FSB can be most
effective if only bill in the Duma “About Counteraction to Terrorism” was
hostage crisis has had only a limited impact on the reform of the security
services. While the system for fighting terrorism has evolved in positive
directions between 2004 and 2005 the system to prevent terrorism remains
The authors would like to thank ASRC experts - both Russian
and foreign, for their help. The authors would also like to gratefully
acknowledge the kind help of Dr John Harrison, Research Fellow and Manager of
Terrorism Research in Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies (IDSS), Nanyang University,
authors would also like to thank Mr. Adam Dolnik, Research Associate &
Manager (Training), International Centre for Political Violence and
Terrorism Research of IDSS for his
- The Decree of the President of
the Russian Federation
¹1167 13.09.2004 "About urgent measures on increase of efficiency of
struggle against terrorism".
- The Decision of Advice of
chapters of the states CIS on the Antiterrorist center of the
states-participants of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Minsk, 1.12.2000)
- The Order of the Ministry of
Internal Affairs of the Russian
Federation ¹731 10.11.04
"Questions of the divisions (organizations) directly subordinated to
the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia"
- The Decree of the President of
the Russian Federation ¹1293 11.10.2004 "About the special
representative of the President of the Russian Federation concerning the
international cooperation in struggle against terrorism and the
transnational organized crime"
- The Decree of the President of
the Russian Federation
¹61 22.01.2001 "About measures on struggle against terrorism in
territory of the North-Caucasian region of the Russian Federation"
- The Decree of the President of
the Russian Federation
¹1255 23.09.1999" About measures on increase of efficiency of
counterterrorist operation in territory of the North-Caucasian region
- Natalya Gorodetskaya "FSB puts ahead" The
- The Decree of the President of
the Russian Federation
30.06.2003 "About additional measures on struggle against terrorism
in territory of the North-Caucasian region of the Russian Federation"
- Ramzan Kadyrov's interview to
- Newsru.Com 25.11.2004
""Special razvedgruppa" from employees of FSB, the Ministry
of Internal Affairs and GRU will catch Maskhadov and Basayev"
- Andrei Soldatov, Irina Borogan
"Heavy face and others" The Moscow News ¹35 2004
- Andrei Soldatov, Irina Borogan “FSB
Reform: Changes are few and far between” The Moscow News ¹38 2004
- Andrei Soldatov, Irina Borogan
“Russian FSB Distancing Itself From 'War That Cannot Be Won' Against
Terrorism” The Moscow News ¹5 2005
- The Board and a sword
21.07.2005 "To strengthen boundaries"