Environmental Ethics
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Ernest Partridge, Ph.D

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A Letter to the Director of the Federal Security Bureau

E. I Cherny, Chair of the Moscow Branch
The Environmental and Human Rights Coalition


To: FSB Director N.P. Patrushev

Dear Nikolai Platonovich!

On December 20 you gave an interview to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. It appears that you were sure that this interview should raise the prestige of your organization. However, it turned out to be the opposite. Every person, who had thoroughly read through your answers, understood that he or she dealt with the organization analogous to VCHK GPU- NKVD-MGB-KGB. All attempts to conceal the similarity failed.

"Loyalty to the rule of law, and not to any particular person. Acting in accordance with law is the guarantee that tragic events of the past will never return," said you. Immediately after that statement you said, "The employee of the Institute of the US and Canada at the Russian Academy of Science, Sutyagin, was detained in October 1999. Investigation revealed facts of Sutyagin's espionage activities and his links to the American Citizen, Joshua Handler, an expert on nuclear safety, who is currently in the USA. Preliminary inquiries showed that Handler was receiving classified information about the armed forces of the Russian Federation from Sutyagin. Unfortunately, some journalists unknowingly depict Sutyagin as an `honest and courageous citizen, standing up to the democratic freedoms."' One can only add here, "agitated applause of the working people," followed by exclamations of "To the bright future relying on the beloved FSB."

What kind of law and field of justice are you talking about, Mr. Patrushev? This law is your own creation. Even the fact that Sutyagin, who had never had any access to classified information, handed over secrets about Russian armed forces to Joshua Handler is your fabrication. Obviously, with respect to Handler, even without any trial, you are certain that he is an American spy.

This NKVD era fiction is embarrassing to read. Even those at FSB who handled Sutyagin's investigation did not dare to accuse him of passing the information over to Handler. There is no such evidence. You have been misled.

Just look at how everything is alike. Your predecessor in the capacity of FSB director in his interview to Komsomolskaya Pravda (July 8, 1999) said, "Unfortunately, foreign secret services, in addition to diplomatic immunity, are actively employing various environmental and public organizations."

Here is another quotation from the interview with the same predecessor, "By the way, the Moiseev case is exactly one of those examples. It does not matter whose intelligence he was working for - South Korean or North Korean." The fact that Moiseyev "was working for" did not raise any doubt in his mind. "Composed counterintelligence experts," as you call them in your interview (who failed to present a single piece of evidence at the trial), provided their own explanations.

Let us point out that both you and your predecessor are calling people spies before a trial. In fact, you are setting the tone. We know, that courts, to be more precise, special judges who handle classified cases, are very obedient. They follow FSB instructions with ultimate precision and receive the commensurate pay raise.

The cases of Moiseyev and Sutyagin against the backdrop of your phrase about "loyalty to law" present the most vivid proof of the opposite. Mr. Patrushev, you are not being straight!

Your words about Sutyagin's spying activities violate the law (somehow you took the function of adjudication upon yourself). Moreover, they constitute a direct violation of Article 49 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. And what about the notion of presumed innocence? How can you say, then, that you are serving the laws of the country? Boisterous espionage cases have nothing to do with espionage. They fulfil a different, political task, namely, to intimidate whole strata of the population and silence them down. Gaining reign of the government and redistributing property become very simple in silence.
Today cases of Nikitin, Pasko, Soifer, Moiseyev, Sutyagin, Schurov and others are treading the path towards the year 1937. There is still a chance to stop. Do secret service people who are in power these days want to stop?

We're convinced that the vicious alliance of FSB (investigation), procuracy (conviction), and court, which was created in Soviet times and is still flourishing now, is capable of destroying laws and even the foundations of the Constitutional system.

New Secret Service

You are saying that the FSB is a new kind of secret service. However, the history of your agency goes back to the formative days of a criminal organization, namely, the Emergency Committee, the criminal character of which is common knowledge to everybody today. You shamelessly call yourselves agents of the Emergency Committee. You said, "The 20'b of December has been informally celebrated among secret service employees as the Day of the Emergency Committee Agents for many decades."

We have no doubt that you feel spiritually close with thugs from the Emergency Committee who took and murdered hostages, who organized the first concentration camps in the history of mankind - the camps of death, which were later copied by Hitler and modern FSB agents. This is why we are unable to move forward. This is why Russia is pulled back by the chains of the past and the Russian genetic pool distorted by terror.

Tell us, Mr. Patrushev, can the agents of the modern German secret service consider themselves successors of Hitler's Gestapo? I'm sure that they would be deeply hurt by a mere mention of such a similarity. So why does the connection with a criminal organization of the past not insult your agents? Does it inspire them?

Maybe this is the reason why even today your agents don't burden themselves with proof of evidence. They are quite satisfied with composing statements of "guilt." In the best case scenarios, they are content with the "queen of proof' of Mr. Vyshinsky, i.e., "confession," which is quite along the lines of VCHK, NKVD, KGB, and Malyuta Skuratov.

Your colleagues still think that such a closed agency as FSB (just like GPU, VCHK, NKVD, and KGB in their times) does not have to substantiate its accusations. A mere statement of guilt is considered sufficient. In the opinion of your colleagues, courts should make accusations based on such grounds. If such kind of trials end in exoneration, FSB agents turn livid.

It is quite curious that FSB never really specifies what has been passed on by the party accused of espionage. Usually espionage implies the involvement of two sides: one is gathering information and the other is receiving it. In such case the situation turns into a paradox: foreigners who have received the information know everything. However, we, the citizens of this country, don't even have a right to know what is already known overseas.

So why don't "neo-aristocrats" feel like telling their society information already known to foreign intelligence services, which by virtue of that knowledge has stopped being a secret even if it used to be classified prior to its leaking abroad? Isn't it absurd? Of course it is. Nevertheless, it is based on rather simple and practical considerations of the FSB: if citizens learned about what is considered to be classified espionage materials, if courts conducted public trials for such kind of cases, the activities of the FSB would turn into a farce. Their fabrications and falsifications would become evident.

Maybe this is why, according to your own words, quoted in Komsomolskaya Pravda, "We have not refused from our past."

Secret Service Agents in Power 

It is not a secret that all Russian agencies have been staffed with secret service people since the times of the Soviet Union. There are a significant number of secret service experts in the President's administration, in the National Security Council, and, especially, in administrative departments of the government. A number of the President's representatives and governors in the regions are people from the secret service.

Until recently, even the State Committee on Fishing was headed by the FSB General, Ermakov, who had managed to staff this agency (which did not suffer from a lack of FSB people) with one more team of his former colleagues. Experts from the industry compassionately smiled at the decisions made by those secret service reps, assuming those decisions to be made out of ignorance.

Has the amount of corruption subsided? It has grown. These days we can't even tell the difference between rank and file corrupt officials and secret service agents. They are united by a common deed: the former are stealing and taking bribes and the latter are providing a safe haven (serving as a "roof' (krysha)). Is this a secret to anybody?

If true professionals are replaced with secret service agents at such a rate, it is quite possible that the whole country would need a smile of sympathy.

Saturation of organizations with secret service personnel is not limited to the government. A vast number of FSB people are working in finance. Somebody has assumed that they would be instrumental in tracking down crime in this field.

The flight of capital from Russia proves that they have not been effective. The FSB representatives actually responsible and employed by banks and other financial institutions have already been accused of financial violations.

True efficiency has been displayed in fishing out environmentalists, journalists and scientists, who are accused of espionage. Human rights activists face obstacles created in order to disrupt their activities. With a high level of certainty one can assume that this field attracts a significant portion of FSB resources. The explanation is simple: there is no shooting and awards and stars are handed out in due time.

If the FSB were a real secret service agency (not a gendarmes' service agency) and worked efficiently, they would first and foremost paralyze the flight of capital. Then we would learn about the names of high-ranking bureaucrats from the resulting criminal cases. We would know about all those who commission murders and spread corruption. The reality is saddening: no names and no criminal cases. There are only tremendous amounts of money hidden in overseas banks, investors robbed of their investments, and "suspended" murder cases (including murder for political reasons).

The only couple of known names belong to politically unacceptable mass media "oligarchs," who are silenced down by way of confiscation of their property. No other successes have been reported at this front.

The absurd total control over the industrial facilities and political views of citizens has been preserved. Everybody is familiar with the socalled curators from FSB, who take care of practically all organizations in Russia (including the most innocuous ones, which cannot by any means have any secrets in their possession).

There were times when the Communist Party's ranks encompassed millions of people. The remaining task was insignificant: convert all of the adult population into communists, and then communism would be achieved!

It seems that the current FSB leadership has been blessed with the same idea: if all agencies and structures of the government are staffed with FSB representatives, then order and prosperity in Russia are guaranteed.

This profound and dangerous misconception may throw Russia several decades back in time. Prosperity will be guaranteed only to secret service bureaucrats who have penetrated the government. Maybe they will make up for the unfairness of the initial stage of privatization and redistribute the property in their own favor.

Should the society, distorted by genocide, be suffering again?

Modern "neo-aristocrats"

You call your colleagues "neo-aristocrats." It is a rather ambiguous assessment. Well, God will be your judge.

One of the "neo-aristocrats" is asking his wife: "A month ago your husband visited London. Did he meet any foreigners there?"...

The head of the Federal Department of the FSB in Primorsky Region is convinced that a naval navigation map can be used for targeting high precision weapons! Don't they sound like true intellectuals, Mr. Patrushev?

The investigator handling Moiseyev's case says: "If you keep silent, we will arrest your children as liaisons. They will be placed in the adjacent prison cell." Does not this person sound noble?

Moiseyev's case is unsurpassable in the primitive nature of fabrications, forgery, and lack of evidence. Even so, Sutyagin's case promises to be even more false.

Another "non-aristocrat," who gave his name as Nikolai in his interview to Rossyiskaya Gazeta, said, "In the past Moiseyev would have been quietly executed. Now the times have changed." He was speaking with regret. Here it is - the real truth about FSB accidentally uttered by its agent.

Such inadvertent words contain a lot more essence than multiple interviews of FSB leadership can. Nikolai has clearly shown a face of the secret service without any make-up on.

Honestly speaking, such people seem to be totally deprived of honor (which can be only lost once). So who has been given the honor, to which you refer in your interview as "to nobody"?

Let us have no illusions about the aristocracy of the past. For three hundred years they reaped the crop of slavery in Russia. But even the noble class of the past would refrain from such FSB behavior. This is the privilege of "neo-aristocrats."

Here is a side thought, "Maybe you would like to revive the stratified society in Russia? Then you already have one class -neo-aristocrats/secret service agents. You only have to select a czar out of these neo-aristocrats." Rumors are that this insane idea is already circulating among those who have power. Is this true?

The results of FSB activities are clear. The nation and its armed forces are paying a high price for the significant "achievements" by your service in fighting terrorism, corruption, and large scale stealing.

Over the last ten years, the country, which had freed itself from a disgraceful brand of imperial evil, has acquired a disgusting charisma as the empire of thieves (with a slant towards terrorism and thuggery).

The apprentices of KGB are involved in terrorist operations in Chechnya. The KGB was training terrorists in order to fight the global imperialism. Having successfully learned from the KGB, they are now training Islamic militants in order to fight Russia. "Don't dig a pit for others and nobody will dig one for you," says one Russian proverb. We were digging a pit for America and the democratic countries of Western Europe into which we have fallen ourselves.

The public is well aware of the following facts:

  • foreign terrorists are managing military operations in Dagestan;

  • residential and government buildings have exploded in Moscow and other cities in Russia;

  • foreign special forces are using Russian money abroad; 

  • corrupt bureaucrats are flourishing;

  • those who commissioned and carried out scandalous assassinations have not been arrested;

  • the Basayev and Chattab types are enjoying their freedom;

  • innocent people are branded as spies and sentenced in fabricated cases.

Everybody knows about these "accomplishments" of your service. Wasn't it supposed to prevent all of the events listed above? That's at least what is prescribed in the FSB Law.

If people like Basayev and Chattab had gone to trial before the so-called "second war" (which is the task of Lubyanka professionals), there would have been no war at all.

In the meantime, the number of people in the FSB (without those organizations, which were turned into separate agencies) is about the same in the Soviet KGB.

Myths and legends are spread around about the FSB in order to raise the reputation of this agency. They say that it is the only place to find honest and corrupt-free individuals. This is where the cream of the crop is working. This is the organization, which has always been staffed with first-rate professionals. Neoaristocrats, as you call them.

One can agree with the statement about first-rate professionals with one comment: they specialize in political investigations (capable of only fighting dissidents) and in the area of protection of smug communist officials. This is what they have always known how to do. It is simple and safe. Everything else is just fairy tales.

Your agency has always been involved in falsifying information - not just during Stalin times. Do you recall the case of "spy" Scharanski? He could have been quietly executed too. Today they would still call him a spy. Has anybody been held responsible for his case? Of course, it never happened. This is where such "elegant" fabrications as the Babitsky case and the Gusinsky case have come from. The same is with the earlier cases of Nikitin, Pasko, Soifer, and Moiseyev. Now we can add Sutyagin and Schurov...

However, when dissident Russian journalists are killed (Igor Domnikov is one of the most recent victims), FSB remains silent.

Now, let me introduce some famous FSB cadre. Mr. Ugryumov has been appointed the deputy director of the FSB. He used to be the head of counterintelligence of the Pacific Navy, where, with his quiet consent, sailors were dying of starvation, munitions storage facilities exploded, material resources of the Navy were being stolen, and the case of Pasko was being "cooked." During Mr. Ugryumov's time in office, the FSB of the Primorsky Region fabricated the case of the Distinguished Scientist of the Russian Federation, Professor Vladimir Soifer. That case blew up like a soap bubble as soon as the public got involved.

The lack of coordination of the FSB central body with its regional branches is really shocking. The regions don't obey! The head of one of the FSB's central body's departments acknowledged at the meeting with the environmentalists a year ago that the case of Soifer had been a mistake. The FSB apologized to him. However, the agents of Primorsky Region FSB 
continue the harassment of Professor Soifer, saying that they don't care about what is being said at Lubyanka offices in Moscow.

Such contradictions within the secret service agency threaten the whole country. What kind of security are we talking about! In the mean time, Mr. Verevkin-Rochalsky has been promoted. He has become a lieutenant-general and has been appointed a deputy minister on taxation and fees collection.

The case of Pasko was reconsidered upon involvement of the FSB. Grigory Pasko is a man of integrity, a naval officer, and a journalist. Due to his contributions Russia has received millions of dollars for the creation of a radioactive waste storage and disposition system. Such an officer is an honor for his fleet. Only in Russia is prison confinement used in recognition and gratitude! It is obvious that FSB is to blame under these circumstances.

Igor Sutyagin is a brilliant scientist, an analyst who has never had any access to classified information. He is incarcerated because one neoaristocrat is convinced that I. Sutyagin is a spy. This investigator was capable of drawing only one illogical conclusion based on all 15 editions of a document, which are totally unrelated to the conclusion. Bravo, Mr. Patrushev! Congratulations with recruitment of such high-brow intellectuals - analysts and "strict investigators."

The fate of Sutyagin shows that "innovators" from your agency have invented a new kind of crime - "analytical espionage." This is a new weapon aimed at all educated citizens of Russia.

If they report to you that Sutyagin is indeed a spy, and you are not playing a game created by somebody else, you better deal with those who report. Something is not straight there. By the way, please ask somebody to find out (at least for your own sake) who benefits from the the incarceration of the brilliant expert on both Korean countries, Mr. Moiseyev. It must be beneficial to somebody!

Such attitude of authorities and the FSB, in particular, to talented scientists results in their desire to leave Russia. Who wants to lead life in prison instead of being engaged in creative activities?

Sometimes, it seems that the FS13 is deliberately ousting scientists from Russia - those who are really brilliant analysts and intellectuals. Your agency turns journalists into people who repudiate the developing system. Diplomatic corps members are forced to feel that they can't serve the system, which they perceive as punitive. So whom does the FSB serve? Russian society, nation, citizens, or a group of some villains?

Today society succeeds in protecting only select individuals. Hence is the question: How many innocent people (whose cases never got publicized) have been sentenced? Here is another question: How many real spies are quietly conducting their business, while the "composed counterintelligence experts" are terrorizing honest people in order to fulfil somebody's criminal will?


Today the FSB and the military determine what should be classified in Russia. Opinions of experts and laws, related to these issues, are ignored (even when prominent scientists of the Russian Academy of Science express their views). The Law on the State Secret is ignored. Six academicians from the Russian Academy of Science have studied materials of Professor Soifer and determined that these materials are not classified. Their conclusions are meaningless in comparison to the naval officers' and FSB's opinion (everything is classified).

Should not we accept these people to the Russian Academy of Science? You will say, this is absurd. Of course, it is absurd. However, this is our reality. You are wondering, why the reputation of Russian science is declining, why talented people are leaving Russia? I don't wonder about it at all.

Let me one more time remind you of Igor Sutyagin. Since the fall of last year he has been incarcerated in a preliminary investigation center. His relatives and society are still unaware of what crime has been committed by the expert on disarmament from the Institute of the USA and Canada. Joshua Handler, the American intern at the Institute, who used to work with Sutyagin, is known as a man of integrity and an active supporter of disarmament. After his apartment was searched (agents confiscated even the newspaper Izvestia and research materials brought from the U.S.), he "voluntarily" left Russia. Those are the assets of FSB!

Many people think that the case of Sutyagin was initiated in order to confiscate American space imagery and analytical materials from Handler, who brought them from the U.S. for his work. The FSB machine never goes in reverse. This is why Mr. Sutyagin is spending his second year in prison paying for the FSB's desire to study Handler's analytical materials. Somebody must have come up with this strange and silly scenario!

Here is another example. Justine Hamilton from the U.S. (University of Kansas), who was trying to organize a cultural exchange with students of Voronezh University, at the end of her term came back to Voronezh from Moscow (where she accompanied a departing American delegation). She was detained and interrogated by FSB agents at Voronezh Airport. They demanded a confession of her being a CIA agent.

Upon her return to the U.S., Justine Hamilton found out that, according to FSB records, she had been expelled from Russia for espionage.

It has been proved that she has never been arrested or expelled. She has never been involved in any espionage activities. Her contract was over, and she left Russia. What does this mean? They must have recorded her as an unveiled spy after she left.
Isn't it an example of an operational success! One should be rewarded, promoted and compensated. If there are no real spies, somebody has to be appointed to be one. Even if it has to be done in secret.

The fact that fabrication and falsification of cases is becoming a common norm and rule in Russia causes serious concern. Typically, this happens due to the absence of professionalism. That's why "basaevs" and "chattabs" have encountered no hurdles in their terrorist activities for so many years. Nobody wants to deal with them - it is too dangerous. It is much easier to work with environmentalists, journalists, students, and interns or diplomats.

Criminal Investigation

The example of one of the FSB department's activities in the area of political search (letter from the head of Kasimovsky District FSB Office (Ryazansky Region) dated 11/8/98, No. 16/320) is included in the Appendix. Even such an apolitical organization as Rainbow Warriors is attracting the attention of your agency.

Reading through this document one comes to understand who the FSB is really working for, what kind of information is being gathered, and how this information is supplied to private commercial businesses and petty bureaucrats! This document illustrates what our taxpayers are paying for.

It turns out that the system of totalitarian political investigation transplanted to the democratic Russian soil did not ripen into a law-abiding agency protecting the citizens and the state from illegal activities.

The armed team of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union will always remain an anti-society system with an engrained urge to fabricate and falsify and be totally unrestrained. New make-up or new names will not change this organization.

A profound reform is required in order to transform this gendarme organization into an efficient secret service agency. Who will conduct such a reform? Former KGB officials who are currently in power? I doubt it.

It has become obvious that, without a drastic reform of the security services and without civilian control over security service, the society is at risk of being thrown back to its terrible past (with the appropriate consequences).

The FSB should remember about the fate of General Pinochet and his forces. He made tremendous efforts to stop the "Communist Plague" and "planned economy" in Latin America. We can thank him for this accomplishment. But even such achievements don't justify mass executions of people. Let's not forget about Mr. Milosevic. It is unlikely that he will get away from justice. 

The world has changed. Today, evil deeds and lawlessness cannot remain unpunished even if they are committed for the benefit of some abstract state. Nowhere in the world today do goals justify the means of their accomplishment.

We only have one request for you: please sort out the situation with the many disgraceful espionage cases. Close these cases for the absence of corpus delicti. You must know better than anybody else that all cases mentioned above have nothing to do with espionage or inflicting damage upon national or military security. You know that your colleagues have sent honest people to trial. Public opinion is also aware of that. We think that you even know the names of directors who have staged these espionage performances. Please stop them! Do not disgrace yourself, do not pillory the FSB again, Mr. Director.

These are the ideas, Nikolai Platonovich, which have been inspired by reading you interview, which you gave on December 20, 2000, to Komsomolskaya Pravda.

I. E. Cherny
The Environmental and Human Rights Coalition
Chair of the Moscow Branch.
January 29, 2001.

Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He has taught Philosophy at the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He publishes the website, "The Online Gadfly" (www.igc.org/gadfly) and co-edits the progressive website, "The Crisis Papers" (www.crisispapers.org).  Dr. Partridge can be contacted at: gadfly@igc.org .