Is FSB Trying to Rewrite History?

IN RG INTERVIEW, FSB HEAD BORTNIKOV GIVES HIS OPINION OF SECURITY AGENCIES’ PAST ROLES IN SOVIET UNION, THEIR LEGACY IN TODAY’S RUSSIA

FSB MAKES SURE ITS PRIORITIES ARE PROPERLY PLACED. (By Vladislav Fronin. Rossiiskaya gazeta, Dec. 20, 2017, p. 1. Condensed text:) Editors’ Note. - Ahead of Security Agency Workers Day, Rossiiskaya gazeta editor in chief Vladislav Aleksandrovich Fronin met with the Russian Federal Security Service [FSB] director, Army Gen. Aleksandr Vasilyevich Bortnikov.

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Question. - Aleksandr Vasilyevich, on Dec. 20, Russian security agencies will mark their 100th anniversary. Why don’t you count your history from the Peter the Great era, as other ministries and agencies do - for instance, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Internal Affairs Ministry? After all, both intelligence and counterintelligence agencies already existed at that time.

Answer. - Indeed, agencies tasked with intelligence and counterintelligence functions, with enforcing law and order and protecting borders in some form or another, had existed in Russia ever since a centralized Russian state was established, but 100 years ago they were first organized into a unified system under a single command.

The upcoming anniversary is a good occasion for making sure that priorities are properly placed, as well as for responding to certain controversial issues, including those arising from a prejudiced attitude toward events of bygone years. After all, as you know, analyzing facts outside a concrete historical context deprives us of an opportunity to objectively assess the past, understand the present and forecast the future.. . .

Q. - Even now, FSB officers are often referred to as "chekists."1 Aren’t you disturbed by such parallels with the VChK, which was created as the "punishing sword of the revolution"?

1[This expression is based on the second and third letters of the Russian acronym VChK, which stood for the All-Russia Extraordinary Commission for ...

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