(TargetLiberty.org) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched a massive purge of his security service, according to reports. Investigators say Putin has sacked around 150 officers, mostly ones who helped prepare February’s invasion of Ukraine.
Putin purged large numbers of FSB agents in retribution for poor Ukraine intelligence, Russia expert says https://t.co/FE7sQ9IQIs
— Military and Defense Insider (@MilDefInsider) April 12, 2022
On April 11, The Times reported more than a hundred agents had been fired from the FSB, Russia’s federal security service, which Putin himself headed in 1998-99. The purge hit the FSB’s Fifth Service, which is responsible for operations in former Soviet republics like Ukraine. The Fifth Service’s Ukraine team, which since last year has expanded dramatically from its normal strength of 10 to 20 officers, is believed to have assured Putin if he launched an invasion his forces would be greeted as liberators. They weren’t – and now the officers who misled the strongman president are reportedly facing the consequences.
Fifth Service Chief Sergey Beseda was arrested and placed under house arrest in March; now investigative service Bellingcat says he’s been transferred to Lefortovo Prison, which was run by the infamous KGB and its predecessors and played a major role in Joseph Stalin’s 1930s purges of the Soviet Army and Communist Party. Officially, Beseda has been charged with embezzling FSB funds, but experts on Russia’s intelligence agencies say his real crime was giving Putin bad advice.
Putin is a former KGB officer and has often relied on the organization’s successors, the FSB and SVR, to achieve his goals. Now the FSB has let him down, and he’s reported to be furious. With some sources claiming FSB officers are actively sabotaging the invasion, his anger isn’t likely to blow over anytime soon.
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