Mikhail Barsukov

Mikhail Ivanovich Barsukov (Russian: Михаил Иванович Барсуков; born on 8 November 1947) is a former Russian intelligence and government official. His most notable post was as the short-lived head of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in mid-1990s.

Mikhail Barsukov
Born(1947-11-08)November 8, 1947
Alma materMoscow Higher Military Command School,
M. V. Frunze Military Academy
AwardsOrder of the Red Star
Espionage activity
Allegiance Soviet Union
Service branchKGB
RankArmy General
OperationsKizlyar-Pervomayskoye hostage crisis

Early life and educationEdit

Mikhail Barsukov was born in the city of Lipetsk, the capital of Lipetsk Oblast region in western Russia, the son of Ivan Barsukov, a Soviet Army non-commissioned officer serving as a radio communications operator.[1] In 1955, he began his studies at the Lipetsk School No. 5 and finished high school at the Lipetsk School No. 12. Upon completion of high school studies, Barsukov enrolled in the Moscow Higher Military Command School of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR in 1966.[2] He studied tactics, strategy and military leadership for four years, prior to earning a commission as a KGB junior lieutenant in 1970. Barsukov also studied at M. V. Frunze Military Academy sometime during his career, though exact dates are unavailable.[3]


Kremlin Regiment of the KGBEdit

Barsukov spent the majority of his career moving up through various officer ranks of the Kremlin Regiment, a paramilitary KGB (Ninth Chief Directorate) force responsible for the security of the Soviet seat of power political power and the highest levels of political leadership. In 1970 he was assigned to this regiment as a platoon commander, continuing onto higher positions but maintaining the same assignment of security operations in the first sector of Kremlin compound, which housed Senate building. By 1991, Barsukov achieved the position of deputy Commandant of the Kremlin, prior to the complete dissolution of the Soviet Union.[4]

Commandant of the Kremlin & Head of Main Administration for Protection (FSO)Edit

Barsukov career took a decisive upswing after the establishment of the Russian Federation and Boris Yeltsin's ascent to power as the President of the newly formed country. Barsukov build a relationship with President Yeltsin through his bodyguard, Alexander Korzhakov.[5] In December 1991, he was appointed the Commandant of the Kremlin, and in June 1992, Head of the Main Administration for the Protection of the Russian Federation (GUO).[6]

The GUO replaced the Ninth Directorate of the KGB and took over its responsibility of protecting the country's leadership, a role somewhat analogous to the US Secret Service. Barsukov unequivocally pushed for the service's expansion, and he transformed the GUO into a more capable organization with a personnel increase of 50-100 percent, expanding on the Ninth Directorate's 10,000 person staff. At Barsukov's initiative in 1992, the GUO assumed responsibility for presidential communications, with GUO alone deciding who gets ATS-1 and ATS-2 hot lines.[7]

In 1993, Barsukov displayed loyalty to Yeltsin in the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis, when Yeltsin resorted to force in order to dissolve the Russian legislative body, the Supreme Soviet. During the ten-day crisis, the Russian Armed Forces and security services besieged the legislators by Presidential order. As head of the GUO, Barsukov helped organize the final assault on the Duma.[8] Prior to the assault, Yeltsin transferred temporary control of the Alpha and Vympel special units to Barsukov. Alpha and Vympel were the considered the top Spetsnaz units in Russia, and they subsequently led the assault. He personally ordered several of the defenders of the Supreme Soviet to the isolation cells at the infamous Lefortovo Prison.[9]

FSB DirectorEdit

On 19 July 1995, President Yeltsin promoted Barsukov to the rank of Colonel General and appointed him as the head of the KGB's successor agency, the FSB.[10] In August, he became a member of the Security Council of Russia. Rumors circulated in the Russian media that Barsukov intended to return the FSB's organizational structure to resemble the old KGB. Quickly, he promoted confidants close to himself and Alexander Korzhakov, namely head of FSB Director of Counter-Intelligence Viktor Zorin and Deputy Director of the FSB Anatoly Trofimov. Furthermore, Barsukov managed to get the Alpha special unit permanently assigned to the FSB.[11]

While Barsukov's reign as the FSB chief lasted under one year, in this short time he managed to make several significant contributions to Russia's security. In the wake of Chechen terrorism related to the First Chechen War, he established a Counter-Terrorist Center within the FSB's Department for the Protection of the Constitution and Counter-Terrorism. The Alpha unit made up the principal assault and hostage-rescue operational component of the new center.[12]

Kizlyar-Pervomayskoye Hostage CrisisEdit

On 9 January 1996, a group of several hundred Chechen gunmen under the command of terrorist Salman Raduyev attacked an airfield and hospital in the Russian city of Kizlyar. Using civilian hostages as human shields, the Raduyev's forces attempted to escape toward Chechnya. When they took fire from Russian forces, they stopped in the Russian village of Pervomayskoye, taking hostages at a mosque and local schools. Western media called the event the Kizlyar-Pervomayskoye hostage crisis.[13] Barsukov immediately took control of the operational headquarters handling the crisis.[14] Reportedly, Baruskov and Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov declared (incorrectly) that the terrorists had executed the hostages inside the village, and authorized soldiers to use Grad rockets to bombard the village.[15]

Election Fraud Scandal & Firing from FSBEdit

On 19 June 1996, Yeltsin's re-election campaign managers Sergei Lisovsky and Arkady Yevstafyev, were arrested while leaving the White House of Russia. This began the so-called Xerox Affair, where security agents detained the campaigners at the behest of Barsukov and Alexander Korzhakov, discovering $500,000 in a copy-paper box carried by one of the men.[16] Eager to distance himself from a corruption investigation during the election campaign period, Yeltsin fired Barsukov and Korzhakov, along with their staunch ally First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets.[17] Deputy director of the FSB Nikolai Kovalyov replaced Barsukov, who had served less a year as the head of the agency.[18] Barsukov remained jobless until the fall of 1997.[19]

Post-Intelligence CareerEdit

In September 1997, Yeltsin appointed Barsukov as head of the Presidential Administration's Directorate for Special Installation (formerly the Fifteenth Directorate of the KGB).[20] Furthermore, in December 1998, Barsukov gained a more important post, as the head of the Chief Director for Military Inspection subordinate to the Security Council of Russia.[21] His current job remains unknown.

Honours and awardsEdit


  1. ^ Barsukov Bio Archived 2010-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, Agentura.ru
  2. ^ Barsukov Bio Archived 2010-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, Agentura.ru
  3. ^ Intelligence Profile, Russian Security Intelligence
  4. ^ Barsukov Bio Archived 2010-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, Agentura.ru
  5. ^ Barsukov Bio Archived 2010-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, Agentura.ru
  6. ^ Personnel Pages, Institute for Social Progress and Local Self-Government
  7. ^ Russian Special Operations Units: Federal Protective Service, Systema Spetsnaz
  8. ^ Personnel Pages, Institute for Social Progress and Local Self-Government
  9. ^ Intelligence Profile, Russian Security Intelligence
  10. ^ Mikhail Barsukov Facts, Russian Celebrities and Officials
  11. ^ Barsukov Bio Archived 2010-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, Agentura.ru
  12. ^ [Chelokhine, Serguei and Charles A. Lieberman. 2010. "Reforming Power Structures: Russian Counter-Terrorism Response To Beslan," in M.R. Haberfeld & Agostino von Hassell's A New Understanding of Terrorism: Case Studies, Trajectories and Lessons Learned (p. 252). New York: Springer. ], Reforming Power Structures: Russian Counter-Terrorism Response To Beslan
  13. ^ Hostage Affair Continues in Dagestan, Radio Free Europe, 11 January 1996
  14. ^ Personnel Pages, Institute for Social Progress and Local Self-Government
  15. ^ Russian Soldiers Discuss Bungled Hostage-Rescue Mission, CNN, 23 January 1996
  16. ^ Boris Yeltsin Bio Archived 2013-01-22 at archive.today, Engology.com
  17. ^ Interview with Yuri Felshtinsky, Article Directory
  18. ^ FSB History, FAS.org
  19. ^ Personnel Pages, Institute for Social Progress and Local Self-Government
  20. ^ KGB Structure Archived 2011-04-23 at the Wayback Machine, Agentura.ru
  21. ^ Barsukov Bio Archived 2010-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, Agentura.ru
Preceded by
Sergei Stepashin
Director of FSK/FSB
1995 — 1996
Succeeded by
Nikolay Kovalyov