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International Last Updated: Oct 9, 2007 - 10:50:34 AM

Putin Appoints ex-Prime Minister New Foreign Spy Chief
By AIA 7/10/07
Oct 8, 2007 - 10:42:43 AM

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Mikhail Fradkov has been appointed the new Director of the Russian Foreign  Intelligence Service (SVR), radio Ekho Moskvy reports, referring to statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the CIS summit in Dushanbe. The former Russian Prime Minister will replace Sergei Lebedev who was appointed to the post of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Executive Secretary. On October 5 the respective decision was made without vote at the CIS summit. Putin also nominated Grigori Rapota, a veteran of the KGB during the Cold War era, to represent the southern Russian region, including the volatile Caucasus area and Chechnya, news agencies are reporting.
Fradkov, 57, served as prime minister under Putin from 2004 until last month before being replaced by Viktor Zubkov in a government reshuffle ahead of parliamentary elections in December and presidential polls next March.


Putin, himself a former officer with the KGB, in July pledged to strengthen Russia's military capability and to step up spying abroad in response to US policies — and he singled out the Foreign Intelligence Service in particular to take a more active role in foreign espionage, The Associated Press writes. DPA marks that the SVR is comparable to the US intelligence agency CIA. By varying estimates, the SVR has 10,000 to 15,000 employees. In recent years, Western intelligence agencies had recorded increased activity by SVR agents in the new European Union member states. Far from the lean years after the fall of the USSR, SVR maintains a large budget and has considerably intensified its activities. „The international situation and internal political interests require the SVR to increase its capacity,'' Putin said at the time, according to a transcript on the Kremlin Web site.

"We know that all CIS heads of state supported Mr. Lebedev appointment proposed by the Russian side," news agency Interfax cited Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Dushanbe. Nazarbayev, who currently holds the rotating presidency in the CIS Council of Heads of State, said Lebedev has proved to be a highly trained and experienced person,agency noted. Nazarbayev also hoped that in the capacity of the CIS Executive Secretary Lebedev would work "for the benefit of the further fruitful cooperation of Commonwealth countries."

“Chairmanship in the CIS is a very problematic issue. It will be discussed by presidents. There are different persons wishing to preside over the organization, but the matter has not been yet clarified, there are several principles followed while changing the chairman, for instance, rotation of the countries in alphabetic order,” a Kremlin representative told news agency ITAR-TASS on the eve of the CIS session. According to the anonymous official, appointing the next executive secretary of the organization was rather crucial. The term of office of the previous secretary, Vladimir Rushailo, was expiring. Belarus was strongly against the former head of the Russian Central Election Committee, Alexander Veshnakov, for the position.

General Sergei Lebedev was born in Uzbekistan on April 9, 1948. He is a graduate of the Chernigov branch of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, the Kiev School of KGB, the Soviet KGB Institute, and the Soviet Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy. Lebedev is fluent in German and English. He worked for the Chernigov branch of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute and was a secretary of the Chernigov city committee of the Young Communist League (Komsomol) in 1970. Lebedev was a conscript of the Kiev military district in 1971-1972. He became a KGB officer in 1973, joined the Foreign Intelligence Service in 1975, and had numerous foreign missions in Germany. In 1998-2000 Lebedev was an official representative of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service in the United States. He was put in charge of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service on May 20, 2000, and became a member of the Russian Security Council in the same year. Lebedev is married with two sons. Lebedev replaced Vladimir Rushailo in the office of Executive Secretary

Source:Ocnus.net 2007

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