Russia's Federal Drug Control Service (FDCS) head Victor Ivanov responded swiftly and forcefully today to circulation of a rumor that his agency would be shut down at the end of this year. At a press conference this evening, Ivanov nailed the report as part of a campaign against him by the drug mafia and its protectors. In a dozen speeches and interviews since last November, Ivanov has identified those protectors as the international banking institutions, which are addicted to drug and other criminal money flows. Most recently, in his June 26 speech in Argentina, Ivanov again insisted that a separation of investment/speculative from normal commercial banking (the Glass-Steagall principle) was imperative, in order to isolate and stop the drug money flows. (See EIR of July 13, "Ivanov: Attack the Drug Trade with Glass-Steagall.)
Today's attack on Ivanov and the FDCS came in the form of a report by the Rosbalt news agency, citing "highly placed anonymous sources in the Russian government," that the FDCS would be eliminated at the end of this year. The source claimed that the Finance Ministry has allocated no funding for the FDCS in Russia's 2013 budget, but that it might be replaced with a new agency to "fight corruption." The alleged basis for this action would be that the FDCS, founded in 2003 and headed by Ivanov since 2008, had been assessed as ineffective on grounds that 60% of drug-related crime cases and 70% of all drug seizures are done by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (the national police force), with the FDCS, the Federal Security Service (FSB), and the Federal Customs Service accounting for the remainder.
Ivanov said, according to the official news agency Itar-Tass, "I can state officially that the FDCS will not be disbanded in 2012 or any other year. The information that was circulated reminds me of the situation a year ago, when, right on International Children's Defense Day, the so-called Global Commission on Drug Policy published its famous report saying that the war on drugs had been lost and it was time to move to legalize narcotics. That, too, was greatly publicized in the media and online. Behind it was a well-financed campaign by the main beneficiaries with an interest in drug money making its way into banking and financial networks, because this money gets legalized through the world financial system. I think that the bestial muzzle of the drug mafia is sticking out from this campaign, as well." RIA Novosti reports that he reiterated the point, saying that behind the GCDP were "the interests of persons who provide protection for drug trafficking; and the campaign which has now been launched against us also involves them."
Ivanov directly countered the anonymous source, saying that the FDCS uncovers 85% of all the cases of organized crime activity discovered by Russian law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, he pointed out that the FDCS is the only agency working on drug money laundering.
As for the FDCS being shut down, Ivanov added, "On Saturday there was a session of the government to approve budget parameters for all law enforcement and military agencies. I was there and argued my approach, related to these early budget drafts. If the plan is to disband us, why discuss our budget?"