Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review

The Kremlin might be interested in removal of Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, political analyst speculates
President Lukashenko’s elder son introduced into Security Council of Belarus
Kyrgyz opposition leader detained in Bishkek airport, faces legal charges
Members of parliament stated discontent with National Security Service of Kyrgyzstan
New Kazakh Prime Minister might have worked for Soviet intelligence
Concessionary terms to be created in CSTO for supplies of equipment to member countries’ security services
Russian Foreign Ministry furious about parallels between deaths of Russian diplomat and ex-security service agent
Poisoned ex-Russian state security service agent’s Italian contact to stay in prison
Ex-Soviet counterintelligence officer recalls meeting Cuban leader in Russia
Poland’s Prime Minister calls churchmen spy scandal ‘a national crisis’
Czech court to deal with case of alleged intelligence agent again

The Kremlin might be interested in removal of Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, political analyst speculates

Lukashenko and Putin  

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko’s press office reported yesterday that he had reached a compromise on the dispute over the price of Russian natural gas exports to Belarus with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, spokesmen for the Kremlin press service and the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said following the report that they were unaware of any new developments in the dispute, Dow Jones Newswires reported the same day.
Observers say the present pressure put on Belarus will most likely misfire, instead of pushing President Lukashenko into a union.
Political analyst Vladimir Filin, talking to the online paper Forum.msk, says after these developments he has no doubts that the idea of a unified state of Russia and Belarus has died completely. However the other idea, of rapprochement and creation of an Eastern Slav union of Belarus and Ukraine, has been getting more and more supporters, according to Filin.
He says normalization of the relations between Belarus and the West will be inevitable and would mean termination of all forms of military cooperation between Belarus and Russia.
In Minsk, in well informed circles behind the scenes, now, probably not without a reason it is rumored that vindictive Kremlin secret services officers quite could “order” even physical elimination of the Belarussian President, Forum.msk is quoting the analyst as saying. Filin reminds of Russian secret service agents’ action three years ago in Qatar where they had blown up Chechen separatist ex-President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev together with casual people, then had allegedly poisoned investigative journalist and politician Yury Shchekochikhin, and had shot his colleague Politkovskaya last autumn and had allegedly poisoned ex-security service officer Alexander Litvinenko. In this connection Filin notices that, first, in the structures of the KGB of Belarus, which are engaged in counterterrorist activity, the methods applied by “the colleagues” from the neighboring state are known well enough, as earlier they had together with them served to Soviet Union; today their Russian counterparts have completely criminalized and sworn the gas pipe, as Filin puts it.
The analyst points out that even Alexander Lukashenko’s elimination would give nothing to the Kremlin. “On the contrary, any new leader of Belarus will unequivocally accept westernized and sharp, in the spirit of [President of Georgia] Saakashvili, an anti-Kremlin orientation, that, by the way, for clear reasons would be easier to exercise by the next President than the current head of the Belarus’ state”.
Mikhail Margelov, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee in Russia’s Federation Council, told a pro-Kremlin website January 9, the following: “Lukashenko has shown that his interests don’t coincide with ours. Friendship with undemocratic rulers cannot be reliable and association with Lukashenko only tarnishes Russia’s reputation”. Margelov, a former KGB undercover agent in the Arab world in Soviet times, is a well-informed and well-placed Kremlin insider, a member of the so-called liberal faction of Putinites that believe close partnership with the West will better serve their (and Russia’s) interests, according to the Eurasia Daily Monitor.

President Lukashenko’s elder son introduced into Security Council of Belarus
Viktor Lukashenko, a Belarussian President’s National Security Aide, has been officially introduced into the Security Council of Belarus according to the presidential decree No 3, dated January 5, 2007, Yezhednevnik reports. The status of Alexander Lukashenko’s elder son in fact is equal to the status of the KGB Chairman or the head of the Interior Ministry, online paper Khartiya’97 notes.
The membership of the Security Council was authorized by the presidential decree No 41 of January 23, 2005. Except the State Secretary, the Security Council includes President, Prime Minister, the Head of Presidential Administration, chairmen of the two chambers of the National Assembly, the Chairman of the National Bank, Finance Minister, and heads of security forces of Belarus.
Until now, the Security Council hasn’t had such a member as an Aide to the President. Thus, as stated by the Yezhednevnik, the status of Alexander Lukashenko’s elder son in fact is equal to the status of the KGB Chairman or the head of Interior Ministry.
Besides, the decree reflects the reshuffling in the leadership of the country’s State Security Committee (KGB). In October 2006, Zenon Lomats was appointed its Chairman.

Kyrgyz opposition leader detained in Bishkek airport, faces legal charges 

  Temir Sariev 

Kyrgyzstan’s Prosecutor General has filed charges against opposition lawmaker Temir Sariev, one of leaders of For Reforms opposition movement, alleging that Sariev attempted to leave the country with $100,000 of undeclared money, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty‘s Kyrgyz Service reported.
Sariev told RFE/RL he had only $10,000 with him, which is usually the maximum legal amount an individual can carry abroad without declaring it, and that the money was from his brother to buy goods in Turkey.
News agency Regnum, referring to sources at National Security Service and administration of Manas Airport, reports that the opposition politician was taken from the flight, the money was ceased, a protocol on it was signed, preliminary investigation materials were drawn up. After that he was released.
Sariev immediately called a press conference to announce that it had not been a detention and that he had had only $10,000 with him, according to Internet newspaper Tazar. Sariev has denied the charges, saying he became angry when customs officials stopped him as he tried to board an airplane to Istanbul. The lawmaker said he had told the officers that he was carrying $100,000 as a joke. He said that comments he made to the customs officials about the amount of money he had with him at the time were not serious. The sum of $100,000 was allegedly put in the document by customs officials. According to the politician, several officers of secret services had been waiting for him in the terminal. They approached the lawmaker when he had passed registration. Sariev then said that the actions of the National Security Service were actually so stupid that he did not even want to lodge a formal protest. Press Service of the National Security Service declined to comment but confirmed the fact of detention. The respective documents were forwarded to the government inspectorate and then to the Prosecutor General’s Office. Spokespersons for the National Security Service, Customs and Manas Airport declined any comments or were unavailable for comments, according to
Sariev said he had arranged a meeting in Istanbul with some European scientist who was supposed to help him chart his future political activities. He said he did not think that the scandal had been orchestrated to keep him from this appointment. “I’m convinced that the operation was intended to smear my name,” Sariev is quoted by as saying.
Members of the opposition For Reforms movement have called the allegations against Sariev politically motivated.

Members of parliament stated discontent with National Security Service of Kyrgyzstan
Smuggling grows in Kyrgyzstan because the servicemen of the National Security Service (SNB) of Kyrgyzstan supervising customs on the country’s frontiers, have been taking bribes in especially large sizes, Internet paper Online Zhurnalist reports. It is especially appreciable on the Kyrgyz- Kazakh border post Ak-Zholta, according to the member of the Zhogorku Kenesh (Kyrgyz parliament) Ulugbek Ormonov.
«I have a lot of facts, showing that the SNB servicemen have been taking bribes from the chiefs of customs departments, and they in turn pass the illicit goods into the market of the country», Online Zhurnalist is quoting Ormonov as saying. Murat Sutalinov, Chairman of the National Security Service, answering the criticism of deputies on the corruption of customs authorities, marked that, with a view of struggle against corruption, he already had dismissed some customs employees. Discontent with the SNB work was stated also by number members of parliament.
Last September Kyrgyzstan’s security forces came in for heavy criticism in parliament as the MPs demanded they be held accountable for what they called their heavy-handed antiterrorist policies in the country’s south. Many lawmakers emphasized that the fight against terror should be conducted within the framework of the law and with due respect to human rights. Also September 2006, the head of Kyrgyzstan’s security service tendered his resignation and so did all the leadership of the security service after a ‘drugs-smuggling’ scandal involving an opposition leader.

New Kazakh Prime Minister might have worked for Soviet intelligence

Karim Masimov  

Karim Masimov, the former Vice Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, has predictably become the country’s new head of government. He is known as a protégé of the middle son-in-law of the country’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Timur Kulibayev.
The former officer of the Soviet KGB, Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who filled the Prime Minister’s office in the middle of the 1990s, used this post for creation of his own political base and preparation for a storm of the presidential post, Moscow-based daily Moskovsky Komsomolets writes. Since then President Nazarbayev does not allow any of prime ministers to sit up on the post for too long. Ex-Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov was considered a quite good chief of the government, though. But, having understood that 3,5 years in the post of the head of the government is indecently long to the Kazakhstan measures, Akhmetov himself has asked for resignation. The paper says he has been remunerated for his comprehension— he got the first in history of the country post of a civil Minister of Defense in the new cabinet.
Media say the new Prime Minister, Karim Masimov, is a person with rather exotic biography. According to his official biography, Masimov started his career at a post of an employee of the USSR trade mission of the People’s Republic of China. However it is considered behind the scenes in Kazakhstan that in reality in China Masimov worked for the Soviet intelligence. He is a fan of several kinds of single combats and is an expert on the Chinese and Japanese poetry, the paper adds. Such interests of Masimov do not cause general delight in the Kazakh capital, as many reproach the new Prime-minister in excessive pro-Chinese moods, according to Moskovsky Komsomolets. Masimov’s appointment is one more proof of strengthening of influence of the middle son-in-law of the President, Timur Kulibayev, and his spouses Dinara, the daily marks.

Concessionary terms to be created in CSTO for supplies of equipment to member countries’ security services
The principle of preferential military and technical cooperation that has been functioning in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), is planned to be distributed to deliveries of special techniques and equipment for the law enforcement agencies and security services of the CSTO member-states, news agency Interfax-AVN reports.
«A corresponding draft agreement is under preparation for these purposes in the CSTO Secretariat at the moment. Its purpose is to escalate allied relationships in the sphere of counteraction to transnational challenges and security threats», Secretary General of the CSTO, Nikolai Bordyuzha, told the Interfax-AVN.
On May 15, 1992, CIS Collective Security Treaty (CST) was signed by Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan; Azerbaijan and Belarus signed it the following year. On October 7, 2002, the six members of the CST signed a charter in Chisinau, expanding it and renaming to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Russian Foreign Ministry furious about parallels between deaths of Russian diplomat and ex-security service agent
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has called absurd the reports that have appeared in mass media concerning possible link between the death in London of the former Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Igor Ponomarev, with the death of the former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Alexander Litvinenko.
«Such conjectures are simply absurd. The death on October 30, 2006 of the former representative of Russia at IMO Ponomarev was, according to the conclusion of the British doctors, who tried to render him an urgent medical aid, consequence of acute heart insufficiency», says a comment of the Department of Press and Information of the ministry, published on the ministry’s website.
As AIA already reported, on January 7 German weekly magazine Focus published a report telling that shortly before poisoning of Litvinenko, the Russian diplomat had died at similar mysterious circumstances also in London. A heart attack was declared the reason of Igor Ponomarev’s death, though Ponomarev had no UK post-mortem or inquest due diplomatic status and his body was quickly flown to Russia. A pal said Ponomarev’s family was shocked as he had no heart problems. And they were puzzled by his link to “intelligence consultant” Mario Scaramella, who met Litvinenko the day he was poisoned, according to The Sun. Experts believe symptoms, like an acute thirst in Ponomarev’s case, were consistent with poisoning by polonium-210, the radioactive substance that killed Litvinenko. Ponomarev’s death came hours before he was due to meet former KGB agent Litvinenko’s Italian contact Mario Scaramella with whom he wanted to go to the appointment with the Russian ex-security officer, according to the late diplomat’s relatives.
Ponomarev’s relatives, according to the Focus, do not exclude that the destruction of the Russian diplomat is connected with the poisoning case of the former FSB officer.

Poisoned ex-Russian state security service agent’s Italian contact to stay in prison
Mario Scaramella, the Italian contact of Alexander Litvinenko and Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, who is now under investigation by prosecutors for international arms smuggling, divulging official judicial secrets, conspiracy, international trafficking in radioactive materials, and the dumping of hazardous waste through unauthorized third parties, will stay in a Rome prison, radio Ekho Moskvy reports.
Scaramella was arrested last month by Italian police and his offices have been searched by police several times. The court officials have declined to transfer him under a house arrest, radio notes. Italian prosecutor’s office accuses Scaramella of slander and submitting false information.

Ex-Soviet counterintelligence officer recalls meeting Cuban leader in Russia

  Vladimir Gladkikh 

Ex-Soviet counterspy Vladimir Gladkikh has worked in 11 countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil and the United States. Nowadays he is colonel of the Voronezh directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia and in this capacity he has told some of his comic and eccentric experience to the Argumenti i Fakty weekly.
While Cuba is on tenterhooks over Fidel Castro’s fragile health, colonel Gladkikh recalls among the episodes of the Cuban leader’s visit to Voronezh, Russia, in 1972. Gladkikh was appointed a commandant of Castro’s private residence, a local guest-house.
He recalls that once about midnight he bypassed the house where Castro stayed, with the purpose of security check. Castro was sleeping on the second floor; in the middle of summer, infernal heat, and he was filled up on the bed in his military uniform and warm climbing boots!
Gladkikh says Russians at once established normal relations with officers of Cuban security services accompanying Castro. They used to play table-tennis in a hall there for hours. Once at night the wooden floor had unexpectedly begun to creak and sleepy Castro appeared had come down to the security guards. He unexpectedly suggested playing table-tennis with him. Gladkikh, a champion of the regional directorate, had approached his superior, the chief of Moscow Protection Service Directorate, Orlov, asking how he should play against Castro. Orlov had smiled and hardly audible said to play a fair game. Gladkikh had won the Cuban leader in the game. Castro had got angry and thrown his racket in Gladkikh’s direction. Cuban leader obviously did not love to lose, the colonel concludes.
During a two-day stay in Voronezh there was only one state of emergency; the son of the Cuban leader, Dias-Balart, had not returned to the guest-house to spend the night. Russian security officers wanted to give the alarm, but the Cuban security guards have dissuaded them, according to Gladkikh. As they had correctly assumed, Castro’s son had spent the night in a student’s hostel with some local girl.

Poland’s Prime Minister calls churchmen spy scandal ‘a national crisis’
The resignation of two top Roman Catholic clergymen over alleged ties to Communist-era secret police has left Poland facing a “national crisis,” the country’s Prime Minister said, according to The Northwest Herald.
Speaking on state Radio 1, Poland’s Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski praised Pope Benedict XVI for accepting the resignation of new Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, calling it “the right decision.” The Rev. Janusz Bielanski, the dean of Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral, left his post for similar reasons a day later.
While the government has passed new laws widening the number of public officials that must be screened for possible ties to the Communist-era intelligence service, many say the church has fallen behind the rest of society in dealing with penetration of its ranks, the paper writes.
Although General Czeslaw Kiszczak, ex-Interior Minister under Communists, told church officials in 1990 that the secret police had destroyed all its documents on clergy, it now turns out that microfilm of some of those files survived, Polish media have reported. Kiszczak declined to comment when asked on TVN24 television about the alleged burning of the files.
Marek Zajac, a commentator for the respected Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny says it seems to be a painful “mental breakthrough” for many church leaders that past agents will be outed. Zajac said two “radically different” ideas have emerged inside Poland’s church on how deal with evidence of clergy who collaborated. “One camp … thinks that you have to bravely deal with the security service archives, that there’s no other way out,” Zajac said. “The other camp thinks instead that we shouldn’t look into the archives, but that we should wait. Some voices say we should close the archives for 50 years until everyone in them is dead.”
“If the church doesn’t deal with the security services’ archives, journalists will, and the church’s authority will be undermined,” he said.

Czech court to deal with case of alleged intelligence agent again
The Supreme Court of Czech Republic today decided that the Prague City Court would have to deal again with the case of Jaroslav Benak, an alleged former military intelligence officer suspected of divulging classified information, news agency CTK reports.
The Supreme Court made its decision according to a proposal by state attorney Martin Omelka. Benak has been accused of having disclosed classified data on the case of his colleague to a Czech Radio reporter. His act could allegedly threaten the activities of the Czech secret services in Belarus and the Russian Federation, according to CTK.
The news agency adds that Benak, 46, was employed at the Transport Ministry. According to the media, he also worked as a military intelligence agent and he was a superior to another agent, Roman Liener.

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