16 February 2015
Russia is preparing to liquidate its Federal Drug Control Service (FKSN) before the end of the month, according to a report in the newspaper Vedomosti, which says Vladimir Putin signed an executive order to this effect in late January.
Vedomosti says it’s obtained a letter from Larissa Brycheva, the head of the Kremlin’s legal department, addressed to Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko, where she discusses the dismantling of the FKSN, explaining the decision as budget optimization necessitated by Russia’s economic crisis.
The FKSN’s role fighting drug-trafficking crimes is expected to pass to the Interior Ministry, while the Health Ministry will likely inherit the FKSN’s other functions (including the creation of anti-drug advertising and facilitating the rehabilitation of drug addicts).
According to Kommersant newspaper, the agency’s current chief, Viktor Ivanov, could join the Kremlin as an advisor to Putin, after the FKSN’s liquidation.
Vedomosti was unable to get a comment over the weekend from representatives of the FKSN, Interior Ministry, Kremlin, or government. Two of Vedomosti’s sources in the Duma confirmed that they’ve heard about plans for a decree that would liquidate the FKSN, and MP Vadim Solovev says he knows about a proposed redistribution of the FKSN’s functions to the Interior Ministry and Health Ministry.
The first reports about the possible liquidation of the FKSN and the Interior Ministry taking over its policing functions started appearing in the media in late January, when the Finance Ministry was said to support the move as a way to cut federal spending. The FKSN reportedly opposed its own dissolution.
On February 4, several government ministries apparently appealed to President Putin with reforms that would lay off 27,000 FKSN employees and transfer the remaining 7,500 to the Interior Ministry, saving the government about 30 billion rubles ($480 million).
The FKSN has existed since 2003 and employs about 35,000 people. The agency reports directly to the president.