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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Fires Federal Security Service Deputy

President Boris Yeltsin has fired the Federal Security Service deputy director in charge of Moscow and the Moscow region, the presidential press office said Thursday.


Colonel General Vasily Trofimov "has been dismissed for gross violations and flaws in his work," said Yeltsin's spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky, in remarks reported by Interfax.


Neither Yastrzhembsky nor a spokesman for the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, would provide further details.


Trofimov figured in the investigation last June of the alleged removal of half a million dollars from the Russian White House by two top-level Yeltsin election campaign activists.


Yeltsin's campaign manager and future chief of staff, Anatoly Chubais, denied any wrongdoing. Newspaper reports at the time suggested that Chubais tried to intervene with Trofimov to keep the case from going to federal prosecutors. The investigation has since languished.


Trofimov's firing also follows by one day the disclosure that two FSB officers had been detained for alleged involvement in drug trafficking in Moscow. Their names have not been made public, but Interfax identified them as a 39-year-old lieutenant colonel and a warrant officer, both of the service's Moscow branch.


Few official details of the case have been released, but Moscow newspapers, citing unidentified sources, said Thursday that a seizure of MDMA, an amphetamine also known as ecstasy, led a police drug squad to the officers.


The newspaper Segodnya said 400 MDMA tablets were found Dec. 5 in the possession of two girls who were arrested in a McDonald's restaurant on Leningradskoye Shosse while discussing a deal with a third person, who fled as police officers moved in.


The tablets, said to have a street value of $20,000, were supplied by a dealer who was himself arrested on Feb. 10 in connection with a 500-gram cocaine sale. The cocaine reportedly was supplied by the two FSB officers.


A spokesman for the FSB's Moscow department Thursday confirmed only that two officers had been detained in connection with drug-related activities. The case has now been referred to the military prosecutor's office, which often handles criminal cases involving law enforcement personnel.