The Russian President replaced the FSB, previously responsible for informing the Kremlin about what was happening in Ukraine, for the GRU. At the head of the agency is Vladimir Alekseyev, accused of poisoning Sergei Skripal and Alexei Navalny.
Looking for culprits for the strategic mistakes in the invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin chose to point the finger at the Kremlin’s secret services. Following the failures of the FSB (Federal Security Service), the Russian President dismissed the successor of the former KGB and put the military spy agency, GRU (Central Intelligence Department), in charge of intelligence in the occupied country on 24 February.
According to an article published on Monday by independent investigative journalists Irina Borogan and Andrei Soldatov, Vladimir Putin transferred responsibilities to Vladimir Alekseyev, a name already known in the international press. The GRU, an organ of the Moscow Ministry of Defense, now assumes the duty to provide the Kremlin with information about “military operations” and help in the conquest of Ukrainian territory.
Alekseyev, at the top of the GRU, is accused of masterminding the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018. The same substance — Novichok — was used two years later to poison Alexei Navalny, leaving Putin’s critic in a coma. for two weeks.
It is not known when this change took place, but tensions between Putin and the FSB have been evident since March of this year. Journalists Borogan and Soldatov had already denounced the removal of General Sergei Beseda, former leader of the FSB’s 5th Service, created to fill the void left in the area of espionage abroad after the fall of the USSR.
Detained and imprisoned in Lefortovo, Moscow prison, Beseda was accused of embezzling funds intended for Russian troops and providing incorrect information to the Kremlin on the eve of the war – it is possible that he will be tried for treason. For weeks, the information transmitted to Putin would have been inaccurate, as the President only got what he wanted to hear, rather than the reality and difficulties on the ground.
Dissatisfied with the FSB, the Russian President has also decided to clean up more than 150 agents, as reported in April by the Russian journalist from Bellingcat, Christo Grozev.
But the story of Sergei Beseda’s expulsion continues in Borogan and Soldatov’s investigation for the Center for European Policy Analysis. After the alleged arrest, Beseda was seen entering, on 29 April, the FSB headquarters in Moscow. How? Putin will have realized that it was a mistake to arrest his great spy in Ukraine, for a public demonstration of the failure of his secret services. “Putin is insurmountable [when he says] that the war has been going ‘according to plan,’” the journalists explain. To stay true to this narrative, he pretended that “nothing ever happened to Beseda.”
The Central Intelligence Department has kept a low profile about the war in Ukraine, where several of its agents have already been killed. Attention only turned to the GRU when Microsoft accused him of being responsible for computer attacks on the Ukrainian government.
Source: With Agencies