Super Spy Agency in the Works

The government is close to creating a centralized body along the lines of the FBI in the United States, as part of a major restructuring of the investigative departments of multiple state security and law enforcement agencies, a report said Tuesday.

The new Federal Investigative Service, or FSR, will absorb the investigative arms of the so-called power agencies -- a plan with a long history -- to streamline the chaotic and often counterproductive process of conducting multiple criminal investigations, RBK Daily reported.

"The decision to create the FSR was simply settled and passed down after the presidential elections," an Interior Ministry source told the newspaper. "The remaining organizational details will be finalized in the summer, and the new agency will emerge by September."

The idea has been bandied about for nearly a decade, since at least 1999, when Dmitry Kozak, then a member of the presidential administration, proposed similar reforms. At present, many bodies within the security apparatus maintain their own investigators, creating friction and conflicts of interest.

Some of the agencies reportedly being brought into the new body are the Investigative Committee of the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service and the Federal Drug Control Service.

The FSB, Prosecutor General's Office and the Investigative Committee all refused to comment for this article.

While the decision has reportedly already been made, the question of who will head the agency remains open. Names being floated include Alexander Bastrykin, the current head of the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General's office, and the Interior Ministry's chief investigator, Alexei Anichin.

Andrei Soldatov, an independent expert on the Russian security services, expressed doubts about the plan's likelihood for success. The groups within the security apparatus stand to lose too much, he said, and are fearful of surrendering turf, especially during a time of political transition.