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Federal Security Service headquarters, Moscow, Russia

May 19th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The FSB (Federal Security Service) is a domestic state security agency of the Russian Federation and the main successor of the Soviet Cheka, NKVD, and KGB. Its headquarters are in Lubyanka Square, Moscow.

FSB is engaged mostly in domestic affairs, while the espionage duties were taken over by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (former First Chief Directorate of the KGB). However FSB also includes the FAPSI agency, which is involved in electronic surveillance abroad. In addition, FSB operates freely at the territories of the former Soviet republics, and it can conduct anti-terrorist military operations anywhere in the World if ordered by the President, according to the recently adopted terrorism law. All law enforcement and intelligence agencies in Russia work under guidance of FSB if needed. For example, GRU, spetsnaz and Internal Troops detachments of Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs work together with FSB in Chechnya.

FSB is responsible for internal security of the Russian state, counterespionage, and the fight against organized crime, terrorism, and drug smuggling.

FSB is a very large organization that combines functions and powers like those exercised by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Protective Service, the Secret Service, the National Security Agency (NSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, United States Coast Guard, and Drug Enforcement Administration. FSB also commands a contingent of Internal Troops, spetsnaz, and an extensive network of civilian informants . The number of FSB personnel and the budget remain state secret, although the budget was reported to jump nearly 40% in 2006. The number of Chekists in Russia in 1992 was estimated as approximately 500,000 .

Some observers note that FSB is more powerful than KGB was, because it does not operate under the control of the Communist Party as KGB did in the past. Moreover, the FSB leadership and their partners own most important economic assets in the country and control Russian government and State Duma. According to Ion Mihai Pacepa, "In the Soviet Union, the KGB was a state within a state. Now former KGB officers are running the state. They have custody of the country’s 6,000 nuclear weapons, entrusted to the KGB in the 1950s, and they now also manage the strategic oil industry renationalized by Putin. The KGB successor, rechristened FSB, still has the right to electronically monitor the population, control political groups, search homes and businesses, infiltrate the federal government, create its own front enterprises, investigate cases, and run its own prison system. The Soviet Union had one KGB officer for every 428 citizens. Putin’s Russia has one FSB-ist for every 297 citizens."

[Source: Wikipedia]

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