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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Security Council Chief's Future in Doubt

APIgor Ivanov
Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov has submitted his resignation, a State Duma deputy said Monday, possibly over frustration about waning political influence.

Political analysts speculated, however, that Ivanov might be the target of a campaign to oust him.

Interfax and Vedomosti reported Monday that Ivanov had notified President Vladimir Putin about his decision to quit two weeks ago and that Putin would reply by the end of this week.

The Duma deputy confirmed the reports. "Yes that's true," said the deputy, who asked to remain anonymous and hung up the phone.

Ivanov said Monday that he was working as usual, adding, "Let's wait for an official announcement," Izvestia reported.

Repeated attempts to reach Ivanov and other members of the Security Council for comment were unsuccessful. A Kremlin spokesman said Putin had nothing to say about the issue.

Ivanov, who served as foreign minister from 1998 to 2004, feels powerless in his job, the news reports said.

"He feels that he is not on the job and that no one takes him into consideration," a source identified as close to the Kremlin told Vedomosti.

The Security Council, which advises the president, wielded formidable clout under Ivanov's predecessors but has lost influence as more policy-setting powers have been vested with the Federal Security Service and other security and defense agencies.

The Vedomosti source said Ivanov could become ambassador to a European country. An unidentified lawmaker told the newspaper, however, that Putin might refuse to accept the resignation.

Interfax said Ivanov intended to take a job involving research and teaching.

Ivan Safranchuk, an analyst with the World Security Institute, said the talk about Ivanov's resignation probably had originated from someone who wanted the position for himself.

Sergei Markov, a Kremlin-connected analyst, said he believed the talk was an attempt to discredit Ivanov. "I do not think that Putin will have Ivanov dismissed," he said.

Ivanov's appointment as secretary in March 2004 was seen as a demotion, although analysts said at the time that they expected him to elevate the status and role of the council. But Ivanov was no match for outgoing Secretary Sergei Ivanov, lacking the current first deputy prime minister's charisma and close ties to Putin.

Safranchuk stressed that although Igor Ivanov was not always in the media spotlight, his work was very important. "He has been crucially involved in negotiations with Iran about halting nuclear proliferation," he said.

Ivanov in March delivered a Russian ultimatum to Iran to meet the United Nations Security Council's demand for the suspension of its enrichment program, The New York Times reported at the time.

Safranchuk said the Russian council's role in government was heavily dependent on its leader. "The secretary has many opportunities," he said, noting that under Ivan Rybkin in the late 1990s the council acted more like a ministry for Chechnya. Under Sergei Ivanov's predecessor, former Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, it focused on fighting crime and smuggling, he said.

Communist Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin said he could not confirm the reports but could not blame Ivanov if he waned to resign. "Ivanov is a brilliant diplomat and a talented politician, but the Security Council is simply not a good place for him," Ilyukhin said.

He said the council needed to be restructured "under legislation initiated from the highest levels."

The council, created by President Boris Yeltsin in 1992, saw its clout greatly increase in 1996 when Yeltsin appointed General Alexander Lebed, then a rival candidate in the presidential race, as secretary. Yeltsin fired Lebed shortly thereafter, and the council's powers decreased as Rybkin struggled to fill the general's shoes. It regained prominence when Putin appointed Sergei Ivanov as secretary in 1999. Under Ivanov, the council has played a key role in shaping national defense and security strategies.