Thank you for staying with me, as we work our way through this historical op-ed by VZGLIAD reporter/analyst Evgeny Krutikov. It gets really interesting, and is well worth the effort. Everybody should know this history.
Where we left off, the State Security Committee (KGB) of the Russian Republic had been split off from the central KGB of the Soviet Union itself. All in preparation to dissolve the Soviet Union as an entity. Initially the Russian KGB consisted of only 14 men, who shared a couple of offices in the Russian White House – the name given to the main Russian government building in Moscow. And not to be confused with the White House in Washington DC, although, to be sure, the time would come, if not already there, when the former White House would be receiving its marching orders from the latter!
These 14 cadres were isolated from the local KGB organs and had little contact with anyone.
Moreover, according to the agreement reached on 5 May (recall the backroom deal involving Yeltsin, Gorbachev and Kriuchkov), it was stated that the KGB middle-level management of the Moscow city and oblast would remain (for the time being) subordinate to the all-Union KGB management. Big reorgs can’t be done in a single night. Baby steps, people.
The job of managing the Russian Republic KGB was handed to a 44-year-old man named Viktor Ivanenko. Here is a brief biography of this functionary:
Born in 1947 in the remote (Western Siberian-Ural) district of Tiumen, Viktor Valentinovich Ivanenko graduated from a technical college in 1970 with a specialty in “Automata and Telemechanics”. Pursuing his engineering interests, Ivanenko simultaneously graduated from KGB University in 1971. For the next 20 years he worked his way up the ranks of the Soviet KGB, mostly in the Tiumen area. Ivanenko’s biography does not state exactly when he moved to Moscow; but from May 1991, as we have seen, he took charge of the newly-minted Russian Republic KGB and moved into his new office in the White House. There, he provided Security and Defense services for the Yeltsinites. As Krutikov remarks, “The transfer into the service of Yeltsin on the part of various functionaries who had no other career perspectives in the all-Union agencies — this was a normal phenomenon of that time.”
During the so-called “Putsch” of August 1991, during which Communists and Soviet patriots attempted (unsuccessfully) to roll back the counter-revolutionary events that were underway, Ivanenko proved his loyalty to the Yeltsinites. He got on the horn and called every KGB operative that he knew, begging them to take the side of the Yeltsinites in this clash. In fact, Ivanenko was later to brag that he himself personally arrested Kriuchkov. Who, as we saw earlier, was one of the three conspirators (along with Yeltsin and Gorbachev) who first came up with the plan to carve-out the Russian KGB from the all-Union KGB. Well, maybe Kriuchkov had not really considered all the ramifications at the time; or maybe he was left out of the main loop, who knows?
In any case, we all know the history of this battle: Yeltsin won, and was able to complete his mission of destroying the Soviet Union.
On 26 November 1991, Yeltsin signed a decree (“ukaz”) which renamed the KGB of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) into the so-called “Agency of Federal Security of the RSFSR” (AFB), under the Directorship of Viktor Ivanenko As Krutikov points out, the re-branding was a stylistic attempt, on the part of the “democratic forces” to distance themselves from the old horrible Soviet KGB.
Well, you know what they say about revolutions eating their young. And the same goes for counter-revolutions, I reckon. In January 1992 Ivanenko was “let go” from his job, due to “cuts and redudancies”, or maybe just to spend more time with his family. The real reason, according to the wiki piece I linked, was that he had “creative differences” with Boris Yeltsin. Namely, Ivanenko had spoken out against a planned merger of the AFB with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Office politics can be a bitch. As those of us know, who work in offices.
Don’t cry for Ivanenko, though. He is not only still alive, but still prospers. The Yeltsin-Putin era has been very very good to him. Including major political as well as economic appointments, for example Head of Security at Gazprom, and then a similar job for Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos Oil Company. Ivanenko became a successful capitalist in his own right. His job at Yukos (a sort of glorified mall-cop position, coupled with the duties of a lobbyist), accrued him 0.9% of Yukos shares. This doesn’t sound like much, but given the awesome wealth amassed by this company, it was enough to make Ivanenko a very wealthy man. Worth at least 110 million American dollars.
Leaving Ivanenko behind to enjoy his wealth in peace:
In the next segment Krutikov goes on to describe how the plan to dismantle the Soviet KGB — a plan birthed in May 1991 — was unleashed full force in the post-putsch months.
[to be continued]