Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly dismissed nearly 150 Federal Security Bureau (FSB) agents —and thrown at least one department head in prison.
“All of those ousted were employees of the Fifth Service, a division set up in 1998, when Putin was director of the FSB to carry out operations in the countries of the former Soviet Union with the aim of keeping them within Russia’s orbit,” the London Times reports.
“Authorities placed Sergei Beseda, the former head of the Fifth Service, under house arrest last month. He has since been moved to the FSB-run Lefortovo prison in Moscow, The Times reported. The NKVD, the KGB’s predecessor, used the prison for interrogation and torture during Stalin’s 1930s Great Purge,” Fox reports.
“I was surprised by this,” Andrei Soldatov, an expert with the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), told The Times. “Putin could have very easily just fired him or sent him off to some regional job in Siberia. Lefortovo is not a nice place and sending him there is a signal as to how seriously Putin takes this stuff.”