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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow FSK Chief Sacked After Clash

President Boris Yeltsin named a new counterintelligence chief for Moscow on Thursday replacing Yevgeny Savostyanov, had who clashed with the head of his bodyguard, Alexander Korzhakov.

A spokesman for the Federal Counterintelligence Service said Lieutenant General Anatoly Trofimov was succeeding Savostyanov in the job overseeing intelligence in Moscow and as deputy director of the service, the FSK. He could give no other information about Trofimov.

Savostyanov meanwhile gave the first detailed account of his sacking in December and said Korzhakov, who runs Yeltsin's bodyguard, had personally engineered it.

In an interview in Obshchaya Gazeta published Thursday Savostyanov said that Vladimir Gusinsky, the director of MOST Bank, had telephoned him at midday on Dec. 2 and reported that a group of armed men was underneath his headquarters in the former Comecon building in central Moscow. The group that Savostyanov sent down to investigate clashed with the armed men who turned out to be members of Korzhakov's guard.

Three hours later Savostyanov was in the office of his boss, Sergei Stepashin, when they received a call from Korzhakov and the head of the Kremlin guard Mikhail Barsukov. Stepashin handed the receiver to Savostyanov, who was told that he was being fired.

"The sacking of a deputy without the agreement of the chief is a very unencouraging signal, especially in our structures," Savostyanov commented.

Savostyanov was an appointee of former Moscow mayor Gavriil Popov, and thus belonged to the alliance of Moscow politicians and bankers clustered around the MOST group, which is now at virtual war with Korzhakov.

The bank is suing Korzhakov after an interview with Argumenty i Fakty this week in which he lashed out at MOST Bank. He accused the bank of corruption and punned crudely on Gusinsky's name, saying that he enjoyed "hunting geese."

MOST spokeswoman Tatyana Brilyakova said that Gusinsky was expected back in Moscow shortly but not Thursday as anticipated. She stressed that he was keen to return to Moscow despite what the bank calls a "physical threat" against him by Korzhakov.

"If I were in his place I would be careful," Brilyakova said.

Thursday's newspapers interpreted Korzhakov's interview as a show of strength by a man believed to be one of the most powerful figures in the Kremlin.

"Generally speaking, the level of Major General Korzhakov's public activity is a universal indicator of the level of the president's incapacity," Segodnya commented.