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Yeltsin Names Career KGB Officer to Head Security

Moscow, July 9 (RFE/RL) -- President Boris Yeltsin's press service says Yeltsin today named career KGB officer Nikolai Kovalyov to be director of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).

Kovalyov became acting head of the FSB after Yeltsin sacked its former director, Mikhail Barsukov, last month.

The FSB, the main successor to the Soviet KGB, is responsible for internal security in Russia and has wide powers to conduct surveillance, make arrests and interrogate citizens.

Kovalyov, 46 years old, started his career in the Soviet KGB 22 years ago. When the KGB dissolved in 1991 he remained in the security service, and in 1994 was named deputy head of the organization that would become the FSB.

Barsukov was fired along with two other top Yeltsin aides on June 20, following a reported power struggle with pro-reform officials in the Kremlin.