One month ago, as it became clear that the Russian President’s Ukraine story was about to fall apart, a bizarre thing happened, despite his supporters still forecasting his imminent victory. Sergey Beseda, head of the FSB's foreign intelligence department is believed to have been detained. This FSB is the domestic part of the former KGB, and the majority of foreign intelligence is the domain of SVR or GRU.
At the time, it was believed that Putin was exercising his power because his army's invading force wasn't greeted by a throng of admiring Ukrainians who were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to be ruled by their race-supremacy Slavic friends; rather, a shower of anti-tank missiles greeted them. Instead of Kiev being destroyed in just 72 hours and demonstrating to the world the unstoppable power of the Russian Army, the war was, at the moment of his arrest, going on for three weeks without tangible progress toward meeting any of Putin's declared winning conditions.
It turns out that Beseda wasn't the only head that was rolled. The Times (London, not New York) has an important story about the fate of an intelligence agency under an absolute government when they screw up.
A “Stalinist” mass purge of Russian secret intelligence is underway following the removal of more than 100 agents. The agents were fired and the director of the department that is responsible for Ukraine was sent to jail.
As an indication of the fury of President Putin over the ineffectiveness of the invasion, approximately 150 Federal Security Bureau (FSB) officers have been fired as well as some who were detained.
The people who were fired were members of the Fifth Service, a division created in 1998 during the time that Putin was the director of the FSB, to execute operations in nations of the ex Soviet Union with the aim to keep them within Russia's orbit.
Beseda, who is currently subject to investigation, is detained on the official accusation of embezzlement. However, the motive behind his arrest lies in the botched attack, which was blamed on poor intelligence about Ukraine's political climate.
If we were to do this each time the CIA is a pawn, perhaps we could have an enlightened foreign policy; however it's not the same story.
The former chief of the service, Sergei Beseda, 68 has been deported into Lefortovo jail in Moscow after being put under house arrest earlier this month. Lefortovo facility was used by NKVD, which was the predecessor of the KGB, for torture and interrogation throughout Stalin's Great Purge of the 1930s.
Andrei Soldatov, an expert on the Russian security forces, said that by transferring Beseda Lefortovo, Putin had sent a “very strong message” to other elites within Russia.
“I was surprised by this,” said the Russian to 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.”
Lefortovo, a FSB-run prison, features an in-ground shooting area, complete with bullet holes that were left during Stalin's purges, when the prison was used for mass executions.
In an article in The Moscow Times, Soldatov said that it could be possible Beseda might have provided details to the CIA.
There's another intriguing perspective in the story.
The month before, FSB officers also conducted search warrants at over 20 residences throughout Moscow of associates who were suspected of having contact with journalists.
If you remember, at the beginning of March, there were reports of assassination attempts on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The report revealed that mercenaries associated in conjunction with the Russia-backed Wagner group, as well as Chechen special forces. failed in their efforts to overthrow the Ukrainian president, as they were defeated by anti-war elements of the Kremlin's Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB. “They would be going in there with a very high-profile mission, something that the Russians would want to be deniable — a decapitation of a head of state is a huge mission,” an unidentified official spoke to The Times.
As a result of the FSB purge investigation, there are multiple reports that the long-time Putin catchfart and domestic policies expert, Vladislav Surkov, has also been arrested, possibly as a co-defendant with Beseda.
This is all it takes to suggest Putin is throwing in the woodchipper any person involved in providing information to support the decision to attack Ukraine. Is he preparing the ground to claim that he was misled and manipulated into committing to invade Ukraine by a group of scammers that lost his money?