Did Russian secret services avert military coup in Sverdlovsk?
August 9, 2011 3 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The Russian intelligence services arrested members of an illegal paramilitary unit that planned an armed insurrection in one of central Russia’s biggest cities. According to reports from Yekaterinburg, the administrative capital Russia’s Sverdlovsk province, leaders of the alleged paramilitary unit hoped that their action would lead to a nationwide rebellion, eventually resulting in a military coup in Moscow. Several people were arrested by security forces of the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service a few days before August 2, the day when the alleged insurrection was to have taken place. Sources from the FSB say that the plotters were working on a four-step plan of action. First, they planned to attack the FSB’s Sverdlovsk district command center, the Russian Ministry of the Interior’s regional headquarters, as well as the offices of Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, and capture or kill all senior staff. They would then blow up key power stations around Yekaterinburg, effectively shutting down the city’s electricity network. Taking advantage of the widespread confusion among the regional security apparatus and the population, they would move to seize local weapons depots. The alleged insurrection plan called for distributing the seized weapons among members of Yekaterinburg’s urban poor, in an attempt to widen the base of the rebellion. The plan’s final step viewed a widening insurrection in Yekaterinburg as a spark that would trigger similar Libya-style uprisings across Russia, resulting in a coup that would depose the current government in Moscow and replace it with a transitional military regime. According to news reports, the FSB arrested several leaders of the alleged insurrection, including former members of the Russian military, who are said to be linked with the People’s Militia, an insurrectionist group composed by former military and intelligence officials, led by Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov. Kvachkov, a retired Colonel in the Russian Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU), was arrested in December of 2010 on charges of planning “an armed rebellion for the forceful seizure of power in Russia”. In an editorial on the arrests in Yekaterinburg, The Moscow Times notes that “it is inconceivable that anyone in the Kremlin or White House [the Russian state’s administrative headquarters in Moscow] would seriously believe that these misfits could have overthrown the government”. The editorial adds that “the only threat to the existing regime is if oil drops below $100 per barrel”. Later on, however, it censures the fact that the Russian media and public have remained indifferent toward this story. “A country that did experience a very real attempt at a military coup 20 years ago now shows little concern over the threat of a new one”, concludes the paper.