Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review

Purge in Bulgaria’s security services, National Security Service head sent as ambassador to Africa
Czechs and Slovaks agree to split military archives
Poland’s Communist-era security police members to lose high pensions
Former Polish Prime Minister’s aide cleared of collaboration
Lithuania to extradite suspected Belarusian spy
Lithuania’ s State Security Department forwards new report to parliament
Russian FSB Director to return to Moscow from Arctic expedition to South Pole tomorrow

Purge in Bulgaria’s security services, National Security Service head sent as ambassador to Africa 

Ivan Chobanov  

A surprising purge petrified Bulgaria’s security services, according to Bulgaria’s media. Two of the Chief Commissioners are to leave their offices.
Bulgaria’s chief of the National Security Service (NSS) Ivan Chobanov (55) has been replaced by his deputy to open way for an ambassadorial post, news agency Darik News reported. It is announced in Sofia that Chobanov will be the country’s new envoy to the African state of Zimbabwe. It is rumoured in the corridors of the NSS that Chobanov has taken out classified information from the service’s building.
Zhivko Zhivkov, Director of the National Gendarmerie, has also been dismissed and is being investigated for breaches of office. The reshuffles are at the insistence of Bulgaria’s Minister of Interior Rumen Petkov.
Sources from the Ministry of Interior informed that Chobanov had personally demanded to put an end to his career in the Interior Ministry, Standart News writes.
Major-General Chobanov has been filling the post of the Director of the National Security Service at the Ministry of the Interior since February 2002. Then Colonel Chobanov’s appointment was the result of general consensus and coordination that did not raise objections from any of Bulgaria’s partners, either Eastern or Western, according to The Sofia Echo. Local newspapers wrote that Chobanov’s father was a top officer in the former People’s Militia. Chobanov studied sociology at Sofia University and interestingly that Chobanov was a model for the renowned Bulgaria’s clothes manufacturer Vitosha company in the 1970s. He was a cover face of the most popular fashion magazines and frequently took part in prestigious fashion shows. In the 1990s, when he became a top official at the Ministry of Interior, he was often mocked by the media for his modelling career. Chobanov responded that for a poor student this was one of the ways to moonlight and earn a little extra money.
Chobanov’s predecessor, General Atanas Atanassov, resigned over lack of confidence towards the Service and himself, as the mentioned above paper put it. Atanassov’s deputy at the time, Ivan Drashkov, was appointed acting director and he occupied the position until Chobanov’s appointment. President Parvanov supported Chobanov out of 5-6 candidates for the job. Some of the people were connected with the service, but no one of them was recommended by a political force.
Ivan Drashkov has become the new NSS head; he has served in the system of the Interior Ministry since 1986. The law on the appointment of permanent directors of the NSS and the National Intelligence Service (NIS) requires that they be recommended by the Council of Ministers and endorsed by presidential decree.
Drashkov has received a number of awards, including the highest honour of the Ministry, the “Interior Ministry Sign of Honour.”
Ivan Drashkov, who was deputy head of the NSS, was already appointed temporary head of the National Security Service (NSS) in autumn 2001 after its former chief General Atanas Atanasov quit in November. He was in charge of the counter-intelligence services until Chobanov’s appointment a permanent head of the agency after Georgi Purvanov was sworn as Bulgaria’s President.
In 2001, when Drashkov was the NSS Deputy Director, media revealed that he and his boss had collected discrediting material on more than 50 political leaders, statesmen, public figures, business people, journalists, mayors and retired officers. The records were referred to the Chief Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Slavcho Bossilkov. The operation was codenamed “Assistants”. Some media demanded
General Atanassov’s resignation and suggested a check to find whether the NSS boss had really launched the operation.

Czechs and Slovaks agree to split military archives
Slovakia will finally gain access to documents kept by the Czechoslovakia’s Communist military counterintelligence service concerning citizens of Slovakia, Bratislava-based weekly The Slovak Spectator reports.
It would become possible after signing the respective agreement between Czech and Slovak defence ministries. In the coming weeks, Czech Defence Minister Jirzi Sedivy and Slovak Defence Minister Frantisek Kasicky plan to sign an agreement dividing the former Czechoslovakia’s military archives between them.
The archives contain files chronicling seven decades of the two countries’ common communist history, the paper notes. The files remained in the Czech Republic after the two countries split peacefully in 1993.

Poland’s Communist-era security police members to lose high pensions 



  Kazimierz Michal Ujazdowski 

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) yesterday presented to parliament a draft law which would strip former officers of the Communist-era security police of pension privileges and bar them from working in public institutions, Radio Polonia reports.
It would also declare the security police a criminal organisation.
The law, authored by deputy leader of Law and Justice Kazimierz Michal Ujazdowski, would cover some 20,000 ex-security police functionaries, radio marks. Ujazdowski said that those who took part in destroying the Polish society should not count on any privileged treatment.
Supporters of the draft law underline that former members of the Communist-time security services draw high pensions, while those whom they persecuted live in poverty. They say, however, that for legal reasons the regulation could be difficult to introduce, Radio Polonia adds.
Meanwhile the presidential amendments to the recently adopted new law on vetting have returned for debate to parliament. The draft aims to restore individual declarations from candidates to public posts and penal procedures in vetting issues.

Former Polish Prime Minister’s aide cleared of collaboration 


A court in Warsaw has cleared Malgorzata Niezabitowska, the former press aide of Poland’s first Prime Minister, after Communism collapsed in 1989 Tadeusz Mazowiecki, of allegations that in the 1980s she collaborated with the totalitarian regime’s security police, Radio Polonia reports
In 2005, Krzysztof Wyszkowski, activist of the anti-Communist opposition, co-founder of the Free Labour Unions in Poland, editor of the Tygodnik Solidarnosci, accused her of collaboration with the Communist secret police, the SB.
One-time Solidarity activist Niezabitowska herself denied that she had ever supplied information to the security police and claimed that the documents on file were counterfeited and her alleged code-name fabricated. She said that the only real document was an interrogation report from 1981.

Lithuania to extradite suspected Belarusian spy
Sergey Monich, 40, the Belarusian citizen suspected of spying against Polish interests lost his appeal on yesterday against extradition to Poland from Lithuania where he was detained, news agencies are reporting from Vilnius. Lithuanian prosecutor Rozita Pozarskiene expected him to hand over to Poland next week, according to the news agency ELTA. Belarusian diplomats were angry over the decision.
Monich was arrested in Vilnius by the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office and State Security Department on November 25, 2006 at Poland’s request. A month later a Vilnius regional court said there were no reasons he could not be extradited to Poland. Poland said in a warrant for Monich’s extradition that sufficient evidence had been gathered to suspect him of spying against Poland, news agency Interfax notes.
Monich claimed in the court that he had never engaged in espionage and that it was a setup organized by his acquaintance from Poland, the agency says. His lawyers argued his detention violated the European convention on human rights and that he was deprived of “a just trial”. AIA reported earlier that on January 2, Monich and two of his defence lawyers appealed the ruling to extradite him to Poland with Lithuania’s Court of Appeals. The appeal requested that the ruling, passed by a district court in Vilnius, be overturned.
Poland suspects Monich of instigating espionage activities, including the gathering and transfer of information about Poland to a foreign intelligence service. Janusz Kacmarek, Polish chief prosecutor, earlier claimed at a press briefing in Vilnius that Monich had been recruiting Polish citizens in Lithuania and gathering information from them for a reward.

Lithuania’ s State Security Department forwards new report to parliament
State Security Department (VSD) of Lithuania late yesterday transferred to the Board of the Sejmas (parliament) an «Analytical Report on the Basis of the Operative Investigations», online paper Penki kontinentai reports.
In its comment the VSD marks that it is exactly what the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence had demanded – a material, specifying names of politicians and business-groups, higher officials and the former public figures. Algis Kaseta, a member of the committee, confirmed to journalists that the received report corresponded to requirements of the commission.
This document became an element of an intrigue and a grave conflict between the parliament and the ex-head of the VSD, Arvydas Pocius, after he had initially promised to submit the report and then given up his intention, simultaneously having made an intriguing statement that the document contains surnames of known people whom he does not wish to compromise in an inappropriate time. He also pointed out that the data, contained in the report is the result of operative check up, that requires additional work. Such a statement seemed unacceptable to many, and for different motives – some perceived it as revolt or insubordination, others – as a political intrigue that had started up rumours and conjectures in the society, the third – as just simple danger tickling nerves.
Reply of the VSD followed the visit of the country’ s President to the Security Service the same morning, with an aim ‘ to encourage the security officers’ , as the President had said. After the dialogue with the secret police officers, Valdas Adamkus made an unexpected enough statement that it was necessary to promulgate all the materials which have been received by the parliamentary committee during the investigation of the VSD activity.
Penki kontinentai comments that a concise report of the commission on the investigation was already published by the daily Kauno diena, and the whole report on the investigation is about 2,000 pages that would hardly have it readers.

Russian FSB Director to return to Moscow from Arctic expedition to South Pole tomorrow 

  Nikolai Patrushev 

The Russian aviation expedition on the South Pole, devoted to forthcoming International polar year, has been completed, radio Mayak reports. Vice President of Association of Polar Explorers of Russia, Vladimir Strugatsky, told news agency ITAR-TASS that “in the morning on January 13, the Ruslan plane with participants of the Arctic expedition, headed by Artur Tchilingarov, will make landing at the capital-city airport Vnukovo”. “Onboard the plane there will be helicopters Mi-8, that for the first time have reached the South Pole and have made landing to a glacial dome in height of 2835 metres above the sea level,” he added.
AIA reported last weekend that two Russian Mi-8 helicopters of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) landed in the Antarctic’s centre on January 5, having made leap from South America across the Drake Strait, covering 4,000 kilometres and landed at a place where meridians converge, next to the American Antarctic station Amundsen-Scott. The helicopters were carrying members of a Russian Antarctic expedition, including Federal Security Service (FSB) Director, Nikolai Patrushev, his First Deputy and head of the Russian FSB Border Service, Vladimir Pronichev, as well as head of the World Meteorological Organisation and Director of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, Alexander Bednitsky, who met American winterers there. 

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