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Chief of FSB unit gathering intelligence on Ukraine replaced

Saturday, 22 June 2024, 16:20
Chief of FSB unit gathering intelligence on Ukraine replaced
Sergei Beseda. Photo: FSB: Pros and Cons magazine

Sergei Beseda, the head of the 5th Service of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), a unit  responsible for gathering intelligence on Ukraine on the eve of the full-scale invasion in February 2022, has been replaced.

Source: Vazhnye Istorii (Important Stories), a Russian news outlet, citing its own sources

Details: The media outlet reported that Alexei Komkov, formerly the deputy head of Russia's counterintelligence service, has taken over Beseda’s position as chief of the FSB's 5th Service.


The sources said Beseda became an adviser to FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov.

Vazhnye Istorii cites two sources – a former Russian intelligence officer and an acquaintance of Beseda.

The FSB's 5th Service deals with intelligence gathering inside Russia and in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Russian leader Vladimir Putin relied heavily on information provided by this particular FSB unit when deciding to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the media outlet noted.


Shortly after the invasion began, it became evident that much of the intelligence provided by the 5th Service was inaccurate. The article says the Russian authorities were confident that Russian forces would not face serious resistance on their way.

Early on in the full-scale Russian invasion, a number of media outlets even reported that Beseda and his colleagues had been detained for providing inaccurate intelligence about Ukraine. However, these reports were not confirmed by sources from Vazhnye Istorii.

Now, the formal reason for Beseda's resignation is that he has reached his 70th birthday, the maximum term of service.

"However, this personnel decision is explained not only by formal reasons: there is a fierce struggle within the FSB between various power groups for several high-ranking positions to be vacated this year, including Bortnikov's own," the article says.

The FSB director will turn 73 this year (he is not subject to age restrictions due to his high rank as an army general) and has long been "asking for retirement for health reasons," Vazhnye Istorii's sources say. One of the candidates for his place is Sergei Korolev, First Deputy Director of the FSB, who is associated with the leaders of the Russian underworld, including Russia's "No. 1 assassin" Aslan Gagiyev.

Alexei Komkov, appointed head of the 5th Service, is considered to be Korolev's protégé.

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