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Security Service of Ukraine

The Security Service of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Служба Безпеки України (СБУ); Sluzhba Bezpeky Ukrayiny) or SBU, is Ukraine's law-enforcement authority and main government security agency in the areas of counterintelligence activity and combating terrorism.

Security Service of Ukraine (SSU)
Служба Безпеки України (СБУ)
Security Service of Ukraine Emblem.svg
Service insignia
Flag of the Security Service of Ukraine.svg
Service flag
Agency overview
FormedSeptember 20, 1991
Preceding agency
Jurisdiction Ukraine
Headquarters32–35, Volodymyrska street, Kiev, 01034 [1]
Employees29,000 (November 2017[2](30,000 in February 2014[3])
Agency executive
Parent agencyPresident of Ukraine
WebsiteOfficial website
Counterintelligence Department Logo
Department "K" (Fights corruption and organized crime)
Badge of the Investigation Administration

Contents

Duties and responsibilitiesEdit

The Security Service of Ukraine is vested, within its competence defined by law, with the protection of national sovereignty, constitutional order, territorial integrity, economical, scientific, technical, and defense potential of Ukraine, legal interests of the state, and civil rights, from intelligence and subversion activities of foreign special services and from unlawful interference attempted by certain organizations, groups and individuals, as well with ensuring the protection of state secrets.[4]

Other duties include combating crimes that endanger the peace and security of mankind, terrorism, corruption, and organized criminal activities in the sphere of management and economy, as well as other unlawful acts immediately threatening Ukraine's vital interests.

OrganizationEdit

The general structure and operational methods of SBU appear to be very similar to that of its predecessor (KGB of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) with exception of Ukrainian Border Guards and department responsible for security of high-rank state officials. Both of them became independent institutions. However the SBU keeps under control special operation units Alpha with bases in every Ukrainian province. According to British political expert Taras Kuzio the organizational structure of SBU remains to be as bloated in size as the Soviet Ukrainian KGB because the total number of active officers as high as 30,000. It is six times larger than British domestic MI5 and external MI6 combined together.[5]

StructureEdit

  • Central Apparatus (consists of some 25 departments)
    • Main Directorate on Corruption and Organized Crime Counteraction
  • Regional Departments (26 departments)
  • Special Department
  • Anti-Terrorist Center cooperates with numerous ministries and other state agencies such as the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Emergencies, State Border Guard Service, and others.
  • Educational Institutions
    • National Academy of Security Service of Ukraine
    • Institute in preparation of Service Personnel at the National Law Academy of Yaroslav the Wise.
    • Others
  • State Archives of the SBU
  • Special Group "Alpha"

DirectorsEdit

All Ukrainian Extraordinary Commission (Cheka)Edit

Department of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs

  • Isaak Shvarts, December 3, 1918 – April 2, 1919
  • Martin Latsis, April 2, 1919 – August 16, 1919

Directorate of Extraordinary Commissions and Special DepartmentsEdit

Special Commission of the All Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee

Central Directorate of Extraordinary CommissionsEdit

Special Commission of the Council of People's Commissars of Ukraine

All Ukrainian Extraordinary Commission (Cheka)Edit

Special Commission of the Council of People's Commissars of Ukraine

State Political Directorate (GPU)Edit

Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Ministry of State Security (MGB)Edit

Committee for State Security (KDB)Edit

Security Service of Ukraine (SBU)Edit

HistoryEdit

Soviet eraEdit

The All-Ukrainian Cheka was formed on December 3, 1918 in Kursk[19] on the initiative from Yakov Sverdlov and Lenin's orders. The commission was formed on the decree of the Provisional Workers' Peasant Government of the Ukrainian SSR and later adopted on May 30, 1919 by the All Ukrainian Central Executive Committee. To support the Soviet government in Ukraine in Moscow was formed a corps of special assignment with 24,500 soldiers as part of the All-Ukrainian Cheka. In spring 1919 there was created the Council in fight against counterrevolution and consisted of Adolph Joffe, Stanislav Kosior, and Martin Latsis. In its early years the security agency fought against the "kulak-nationalistic banditry"[20] (against people who opposed creation of collective farms). On August 19, 1920 the All Ukrainian Cheka arrested all members of the All Ukrainian Conference of Mensheviks after accusing them in counterrevolution.[21] On December 10, 1934 the State Political Directorate was liquidated.[19]

1990s to 2005Edit

 
SSU Headquarters in Kiev

The SBU is a successor of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic's Branch of the Soviet KGB, keeping the majority of its 1990s personnel.[22] Many of whom came from the KGB’s 5th directorate.[22]

Since 1992, the agency has been competing in intelligence functions with the intelligence branch of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Despite this, a former Military Intelligence Chief and career GRU technological espionage expert, Ihor Smeshko, served as an SBU chief until 2005.

According to Taras Kuzio during the 1990s in some regions of Ukraine (Donetsk) the SBU teamed up with local criminals taking part in privatization of state property (so-called prykhvatizatsiya) ignoring its operational objectives and sky-rocketing level of local violence. A notorious incident took place in December 1995 in Western Ukraine when a local citizen Yuriy Mozola was arrested by SBU agents, interrogated and brutally tortured for three days. He refused to confess in trumped up murder charges and died in SBU custody. Later it turned out that the real killer was Anatoly Onoprienko. He was arrested the next year.[5]

Reports of SBU involvement in arms sales abroad began appearing regularly in the early 2000s.[22] Ukrainian authorities have acknowledged these sales and arrested some alleged participants.[22]

In 2004, the SBU's Intelligence Department was reorganized into an independent agency called Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine. It is responsible for all kinds of intelligence as well as for external security. As of 2004, the exact functions of the new service, and respective responsibilities of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine were not regulated yet. On November 7, 2005 the President of Ukraine created the Ukraine State Service of special communications and protection of information, also known as Derzhspetszvyazok (StateSpecCom) in place of one of the departments of SBU and making it an autonomous agency. The SBU subsumed the Directorate of State Protection of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Управління державної охорони України), the personal protection agency for the most senior government officials, which was the former Ninth Directorate of the Ukrainian KGB.

The SBU's State Directorate of Personal Protection is known for its former Major Mykola Mel'nychenko, the communications protection agent in President Leonid Kuchma's bodyguard team. Mel'nychenko was the central figure of the Cassette Scandal (2000)—one of the main events in Ukraine's post-independence history. SBU became involved in the case when Mel'nychenko accused Leonid Derkach, SBU Chief at the time, of several crimes, e.g., of clandestine relations with Russian mafia leader Semyon Mogilevich. However, the UDO was subsumed into the SBU after the scandal, so Mel'nychenko himself has never been an SBU agent.

Later, the SBU played a significant role in the investigation of the Georgiy Gongadze murder case,[23] the crime that caused the Cassette Scandal itself.

In 2004, General Valeriy Kravchenko, SBU's intelligence representative in Germany, publicly accused his agency of political involvement, including overseas spying on Ukrainian opposition politicians and German TV journalists. He was fired without returning home. After a half-year of hiding in Germany, Kravchenko returned to Ukraine and surrendered in October 2004 (an investigation is underway).

Later, the agency commanders became involved in the scandal around the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko—a main candidate in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. Yushchenko felt unwell soon after supper with SBU Chief Ihor Smeshko, at the home of Smeshko's first deputy. However, neither the politician himself nor the investigators have ever directly accused these officers. It is also important to note that the Personal Protection department has been officially responsible for Yushchenko's personal security since he became a candidate. During the Orange Revolution, several SBU veterans and cadets publicly supported him as president-elect, while the agency as a whole remained neutral.

2005 to 2010Edit

In 2005, soon after the elections, sacked SBU Chief Smeshko and other intelligence agents stated their own version of the revolution's events. They claimed to have prevented militsiya from violently suppressing the protests, contradicting the orders of President Kuchma and threatening militsiya with armed involvement of SBU's special forces units. This story was first described by the American journalist C.J. Chivers of The New York Times and has never been supported with documents or legally.

The SBU is widely suspected of illegal surveillance and eavesdropping of offices and phones.

An episode of human rights abuse by SBU happened during the case of serial killer Anatoly Onoprienko. Yuriy Mozola, an initial suspect in the investigation, died in SBU custody in Lviv as a result of torture. Several agents were convicted in the case.[24] The SBU remains a political controversial subject in Ukrainian politics.[25]

2010 to 2014Edit

The former Security Service of Ukraine Head Valeriy Khoroshkovsky was involved in several controversies during his tenure. The rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv Borys Gudziak heavily criticized a visit from the SBU, forcing Khoroshkovskiy to apologize. Later the head of the Kiev Bureau of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Nico Lange, was detained for a short while and released only after several high-ranking officials from the German Chancellery vouched for him. The Security Service described the incident as a misunderstanding. Khoroshkovskiy, as the Chairman of the SBU, eliminated the main competition of Ukrainian TV-giant Inter,[citation needed] officially owned by his wife Olena Khoroshkovskiy, in the face of TVi and Channel 5. In July 2010, Konrad Schuller of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that Khoroshkovskiy had connections with RosUkrEnergo.[26][27][28] The most important source of Khoroshkovskiy's[clarification needed] came from RosUkrEnergo.[citation needed] The President's spokesperson, Hanna Herman, in an interview with this newspaper, did not dispute that Dmytro Firtash was one of the sponsors of the Presidential Party of Regions, with the help of which Khoroshkovskiy was appointed to the position of the State Security chairman. Khoroshkovskiy denied any connections to RosUkrEnergo. However it is a fact[citation needed] that Firtash possesses certain privileges in Inter. Schuller also stated that the SBU acts in direct association with RosUkrEnergo, arresting their main opponents (see RosUkrEnergo) in order to recover their invested money in the recent[which?] presidential campaign. Khoroshkovskiy having declined to give an interview to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Schuller posted a quote from one of his other interviews:

When Minister of Finance Fedir Yaroshenko resigned on January 18, 2012, Khoroshkovsky replaced him in the post on the same day.[11] Khoroshkovsky is also the owner of U.A. Inter Media Group which owns major shares in various Ukrainian TV channels including Inter TV.[29] 238 members of the Verkhovna Rada voted for Khoroshkovsky, however the head of the parliamentary committee for the National Security and Defense Anatoliy Hrytsenko stated that the committee accepted the decision to recommend Verkhovna Rada to deny the candidature of Khoroshkovskiy on the post of the chairman of Security Service of Ukraine.[30]

Khoroshkovskiy said the SBU's main duty was to protect the president rather than the interests of Ukraine. On July 26, 2010 it arrested an internet blogger, producing a warrant for his arrest the next day. SBU accused the blogger of threatening the President of Ukraine, citing his comment "May thunder strike Yanukovych!"; he was released after a short discussion.[31] However, SBU showed a rather passive reaction to the statements of the Russian state official who claimed that Crimea and Sevastopol belong to the Russian Federation.[32] Protest group FEMEN said that after the early 2010 election of President Viktor Yanukovych the SBU attempted to intimidate the FEMEN activists.[33]

On May 22, 2012 Volodymyr Rokytskyi, Deputy Head of the SBU, was photographed in public wearing a $32,000 luxury wristwatch despite the fact that its price amounts to his yearly official income. The instance happened at a joint Ukrainian-American event dedicated to fighting the drug trade.[34]

The SBU uncovered seven spies and 16 special service agents in 2009.[35]

A large number of arrests and searches occurred in 2011.[36]

2014–presentEdit

In February 2014, numerous documents, hard drives, and flash drives, including data on over 22,000 officers and informants, were stolen or destroyed in a raid on the SBU allegedly ordered by President Viktor Yanukovych.[37]

Late February 2014 opposition MP Hennadiy Moskal released papers that showed the SBU had allegedly infiltrated the late 2013-February 2014 anti-government Euromaidan protest.[38] According to BBC Ukraine analyst Olexiy Solohubenko many tactics discussed in the paper had indeed been performed.[38]

After the overthrow of Yanukovich in the February 2014 Ukrainian revolution the new SBU head Valentyn Nalyvaichenko claimed to have found his new office building empty, saying "the agency’s former leadership had all fled to Russia or Crimea. There were no operative files, no weapons. Institutionally, the place was totally destroyed".[39] Nalyvaichenko also claimed that at that time the agency was heavily infiltrated by Russian spies.[39] Indeed, Nalyvaichenko predecessor Oleksandr Yakymenko with about 15 former SBU top officials surfaced in Russia a few days later.[37] Allegedly in the months following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution thousands of Ukrainian spies switched sides and began reporting to Russia during the 2014 Crimean crisis and the pro-Russian unrest in east and south Ukraine.[37] At the end of 2014 235 SBU agents, including the former counterintelligence chief and his cousin, and hundreds of other operatives had been arrested and 25 high treason probes against Yanukovych-era SBU officials had been launched; also all regional directors had been changed, as well as half of their deputies.[37] In July 2015 Nalyvaichenko claimed “There’s no longer a total infiltration of Russian agents. The danger is no longer widespread”.[39] The arrested agents were replaced by new recruits from western Ukraine, many of them in their early twenties.[37] To test loyalty, all SBU agents are subjected to recurrent interrogations and lie detector tests.[37]

In June 2015, the Kyiv Post reported that a deputy chief of the SBU, Vitaly Malikov, had supported events leading to the annexation of Crimea.[40] According to February 2016 official figures of the Ukrainian parliamentary Committee on National Security, after Russia's annexation 10% of SBU personnel left Crimea.[41] According to the SBU itself (in November 2017) 13% did so.[42]

Human rights and freedom of speech violationsEdit

According to reports of UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, the SBU personnel is accountable for multiple cases of human rights abuses including enforced disappearings, sexual violence, and torture.[43][44]

In the 2016 Amnesty International and human Rights Watch reported that the SBU operates secret detention facilities where civilians are held incommunicado being subjected to improper treatment and torture.[45]

In December 2017 the UN mission in Ukraine expressed concerns about a situation with "freedom of opinion and expression" in Ukraine which facing "mounting challenges". According to the UN reports the SBU is taking advantage of broad interpretation and application of Ukrainian Criminal Code against independent Ukrainian journalists, bloggers, and media activists.[46]

Service medalsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Official website of the authority. Contact Us". Ьфк2017. Archived from the original on 2017-03-13. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ "У СБУ розповіли, скільки співробітників працює в спецслужбі". glavcom.ua. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-10-20. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  4. ^ "Objectives and Duties of the SSU". Official website of SBU. Archived from the original on 2010-04-18.
  5. ^ a b Kuzio, Taras (2015). "The Security Service (SBU)". Ukraine. Democratization, Corruption and the New Russian Imperialism. p. 467. ISBN 978-1-4408-3502-5.
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  7. ^ a b c Chysnikov, Volodymyr. КЕРІВНИКИ ОРГАНІВ ДЕРЖАВНОЇ БЕЗПЕКИ РАДЯНСЬКОЇ УКРАЇНИ (1918–1953 рр.) [Directors of organs of State Security of the Soviet Ukraine] (in Ukrainian). SBU. Archived from the original on 2017-02-17.
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  12. ^ a b "Yanukovych names new Kalinin as state security chief". Kyiv Post. February 3, 2012. Archived from the original on February 9, 2012.
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  33. ^ "The Entire Ukraine Is a Brothel". Spiegel Online. 5 May 2011. Archived from the original on 3 November 2011.
  34. ^ Головний борець із корупцією з СБУ носить годинник дорожчий за його річну зарплату. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 23 May 2012. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012.
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  40. ^ Sukhov, Oleg (28 June 2015). "Video appears to show top security official supporting Kremlin-backed separatists (VIDEO)". Kyiv Post. Archived from the original on 1 July 2015.
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External linksEdit