Date: 8 August 2017

The change of the cyber Chekist chief

The Russian Internet has gained a new trustee from the Federal Security Service (FSB). Andrei Gerasimov, who has been in charge of the Information Security Centre (CIS) since 2009, has been replaced by Sergey Skorozdov. Gerasimov has retired – but his removal is related to the spy scandal at the CIS FSB.


The 18th FSB’s Information Security Centre is part of the counterintelligence. It supervises the entire IT sector in Russia. Since November 2009, it has been led by General Andrei Gerasimov, who also happens to be a deputy to the head of the 1st FSB Service specialising in counterintelligence. Under Gerasimov’s rule, whom many consider to be the FSB General Boris Miroshnikov’s man, the CIS – thanks to his knowledge and operating capabilities – gained considerable influence on Lubyanka. However, it also led to a conflict with another strong centre: the powerful Internal Security Department (USB FSB), which is connected with Igor Sechin. Another rival to the CIS, having similar powers, is the FSB’s Information Protection and Special Communications Centre.

It is possible that the Internal Security Department lay behind the attacks on Gerasimov’s closest associates. At the beginning of December 2016, Colonel Sergei Mikhailov, the head of the 2nd Operational Management of the CIB FSB, was arrested along with his subordinate, Major Dmitry Dokuchaev. Mikhailov was Gerasimov’s right-hand man. Apart from the two FSB officers, two civilian hackers were also detained. Despite the fact that the trail has not started yet, all men have been accused of alleged spy activity in the interest of the USA. In January, just after the arrests and resignations of several other CIS staff members, there were some reports stating that Gerasimov was also dismissed. It turned out to be untrue. Due to Gerasimov’s contribution, the management of the FSB allowed him to leave honorably: half a year later and for retirement.

The new chief of the CIS will have to gather the new leadership of his subordinate structure. Sergey Skorozdov was previously a deputy to Gerasimov, specialising in detecting cybercrime, and before he even came to the CIS he dealt with the FSB’s migration policy. He will be officially announced as the new CIS leader on July 26, 2017.

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