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  Wednesday, June 19, 2019
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Monday marks the 87th anniversary of the emergence of security bodies in Russia
Monday marks the 87th anniversary of the emergence of security bodies in Russia. On that day in 1917, the Soviet of People's Commisars (Soviet Russia's government) adopted a resolution establishing the Russian Emergency Committee (VChK headed by Feliks Dzerzhinsky), a body for fighting counter-revolutionary activities and sabotage. It existed till 1922 when it was transformed into the State Political Department. Security Agencies' Day has been celebrated as a professional holiday in Russia since 1995 (December 20 was earlier celebrated as Chekist's Day). The new holiday was established by a relevant decree of Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin. There are several security services in today's Russia, including the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the Federal Guards' Service (FSO) and the Main Department for Presidential Programs. In the Soviet times, these bodies were departments within the State Security Committee, or KGB. In 2003, President Vladimir Putin undertook to reform a number of law enforcement ministries and agencies. The Interior Ministry's State Committee on Countering Trafficking in Illegal Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, for example, was transformed into the State Committee for Control over the Turnover of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Gosnarkokontrol). In 2004, the Committee became the Federal Service for Control over the Turnover of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances as a result of the administrative reform. The president's Federal Frontier Service (FPS) and Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information (FAPSI) were abolished. Almost unchanged in structure, FPS became part of FSB, while FAPSI's functions were delegated to FSB, FSO and the Defense Ministry. Chronicles indicate that secret services have existed in Russia from time immemorial. However, until the mid 17th century, the methods of ensuring Russian princes and tsars' security rested on the tradition and precedents, rather that a firm legislative base. The secret services' legislative base dates back to 1649 when they were indicated in the Code of Tsar Alexis, who took the crown in 1645. Later on state security was ensured by Peter the Great's secret office, the Senate's secret expedition, the third department of Emperor Nicholas I and Alexander II's personal office and other departments. The Russian security agencies' historical background is reflected in the FSB's coat of arms where the Russian Empire's two-headed eagle hovers against the background of a shield and a sword, the secret services' symbol in the Soviet period.
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