Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Drug Cop's Arrest Under Appeal

MTYury Chaika
In the latest development involving apparent infighting among security agencies, the Prosecutor General's Office has appealed a court decision to place a senior drug police official under arrest.

Moscow's Basmanny District Court, which sanctioned the arrest of senior Federal Drug Control Service officer Alexander Bulbov by Federal Security Service agents, received the appeal from prosecutors Oct. 8, a court spokeswoman said Tuesday. It will now be passed on to the Moscow City Court for consideration, she said.

The Federal Security Service, or FSB, and the Prosecutor General's Office both denied on Tuesday that infighting or politics were involved in the appeal to free Bulbov.

Prosecutors have "the right to oversee how investigations are carried out," an FSB spokesman said.

"Nothing political is going on," he said.

The appeal has nothing to do with the "conflict that is going on between the Federal Security Service and the Federal Drug Control Service," a prosecutors spokeswoman said.

"We are just doing our job," she said.

Bulbov and two other drug enforcement officers were arrested Oct. 1 in Domodedovo Airport, and Bulbov was accused of ordering illegal wiretaps and accepting bribes from private firms in exchange for official protection.
Alexander Bastrykin
Analysts say the arrests -- conducted by the FSB together with the newly formed Investigative Committee -- show the increased competition between security agencies as President Vladimir Putin prepares to leave office in March.

A spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee, a semiautonomous agency under the auspices of the Prosecutor General's Office, refused to comment.

Bulbov has said his arrest was meant as revenge by the FSB for his investigation into purported smuggling rings linked to the agency.

In a rare public airing of dirty laundry, Federal Drug Control Service chief Viktor Cherkesov, a longtime ally of Putin, wrote an article in Kommersant last week in which he maintained that the arrests revealed a bitter conflict among the country's special services.
Alexander Bulbov
Communist State Duma Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin, a former prosecutor who spearheaded Duma opposition to the creation of the Investigative Committee, said Prosecutor General Yury Chaika had no choice but to appeal Bulbov's arrest.

"It was not necessary to arrest him," Ilyukhin said. "There is no proof that he did what he is accused of. His arrest was simply revenge for his investigations involving top FSB officials."

Calls for comment to the Federal Drug Control Service went unanswered Tuesday. But a high-ranking source in the agency told Interfax that prosecutors correctly "reacted to violations of the law in General Bulbov's detention."

Political analysts said Tuesday that the appeal showed that Chaika had chosen to back Cherkesov in the spat, while Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin -- whose committee took over a majority of prosecutors' investigative powers -- has thrown his weight behind the FSB.