Rescuers digging for survivors after bombing of an apartment building on Kashira Road in Moscow, Russia, 13 September 1999. This and other similar terror acts in Russia were used by Putin to start another war in Chechnya. According to former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko murdered by his former FSB colleagues in London and other experts, the FSB conducted the bombings on Putin's orders to boost his election chances. (Image: Wikipedia)
Drawing on his contacts that he had developed with the criminal world during his first years in the KGB, Vladimir Putin in 1998 when he was head of the Russian FSB created the mixed intelligence-criminal group that blew up the apartment blocks the following year and powered him to the presidency, Artyom Kruglov says.
Putin, Kruglov says, created the FSB’s Special Assignments Center in 1998 by combining the Alpha anti-terrorist spetsnaz groups with the Vympel group of professional diversionists and “a certain super-secret subdivision which initially was called the special operations service and then became Administration S.”
The last includes both professional FSB officers and people from prominent criminal groups, many of whom Putin came into contact with in the murkiest part of his KGB career, the five years before he was dispatched to Dresden, the analyst says.
“The closest ties of the Special Assignments Center were with the organized criminal group in Izmailovo. The Center is its protector.” Over the last two decades, the regime has gone after all kinds of criminal groups but not this one, an indication of its special relationship with the Kremlin leader.
Kruglov suggests that there is “yet another moment of the history of the Izmailovo criminal group: In 1993 Yeltsin disbanded the Vympel group when it refused to storm the Supreme Soviet. Immediately 600 well prepared diversionists and liquidators found themselves on the street.”
The Izmailovo group took them in and then five years later, Putin as head of the FSB integrated both in his special group which he was then in a position to use for criminal acts such as the bombings in 1999 as well as various “wet” operations against his opponents at home and abroad.
As a result, Kruglov argues, “the Izmailovo group even now is the most powerful criminal syndicate of Russia.” And this means, he continues, that “we must look truth in the face and recognize that a criminal-Chekist of the very worst kind rules in Russia.” Those involved are all “covered with blood,” involved in theft and other criminal activities.
But Putin’s decision in 1998 did not come out of nowhere, the analyst says. Its roots are to be found in the period between 1979 and 1985 when the future president was a KGB officer whose job of trying to entrap foreigners required him to work with “criminal and anti-social elements” including “prostitutes of both sexes, illegal traders in goods, and those involved with illegal currency exchanges.”
Out of that milieu and from that experience, Putin gained the contacts and allies that he used to become president and has used to stay there.
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