The Federal Security Service of Russia decided to significantly expand its powers: from the right to organize the defense of its buildings ("in connection with the increase in the number of armed attacks on objects of security agencies") to activities "on information security of the Russian Federation in the information and psychological sphere." It is these points that are contained in the bill prepared by the department of amendments to the presidential decree "On improving the powers and structure of the FSB", which provides for the possibility of expanding the powers of the service.
Experts assessed this initiative differently. Thus, lawyer Konstantin Tropaidze explained to bfm.ru journalists that the complex concept of "information and psychological security" is not defined in the legal field:
“When some law enforcement agencies and structures, individual officials, divisions, the FSB have their own sources of information, including telegram channels, where they merge their own vision of certain processes, of course, there should be some kind of service that has its own conclusions about such games "under the carpet" will be reported to the president. All this should be under close supervision, someone should be an expert in this sense, someone should be an arbitrator, make independent opinions. If such a structure is created, we'll see, time will tell how it will recommend itself..."
Federation Council Senator Franz Klintsevich predictably accused the West of starting a "psychological war" against Russia, which must be resisted by all means:
“Today we have a very subtle, intelligent, highly professional information and psychological war against Russia to discredit it due to internal contradictions and our objective problems in many areas: this includes corruption, and some economic problems that have objectively arisen, which are cleverly used people with the involvement of foreign Western special services, specialists who find people and manipulate public consciousness and information. Until now, everyone has dealt with this problem. One way or another, the information content is controlled by the presidential administration. But there must be a structure that will give an absolutely clear legal assessment with the subsequent possible bringing people to justice through the courts. My service at one time was associated with the conduct of such special information and psychological operations against the enemy. In my military profession, I understand very well how this is done. I'll tell you more: the West has always dealt with this issue".
Political analyst Alexander Morozov was extremely skeptical about this initiative:
"The FSB is expanding its powers, they are going to" ensure security in the information and psychological sphere. " That is, they want to plant another crowd of idlers who will look for who creates information that has a negative psychological impact on the people. The initial idea is clear: if people are depressed or depressed, it is because they have "read a lot of bad things." And who produces the "bad"? who purposefully instills psychological uncertainty in our people?
We must look for who. This requires methods, monitoring, and operatives to conduct preventive work with the producers of negative information. Maybe a person produces negative information about what is happening in the country for a couple of months, and if you talk to him, then he will stop. Foreign centers will be identified that create psychological instability in our society. A huge scope of work. We need to create a department..."
Media analyst Vasily Gatov translated the question into a purely practical sphere:
“Well, this is a simple idea: if we bring the number of FSB employees to about 1.4 million people, that is, 1% of the population, they will have a plan to recruit, say, 10 informers for each. Then there will be order in the country - after all, one out of ten will definitely report!".
And blogger Leonid Baranov revealed the "magical" background of this initiative:
"Changing an opinion about a country is equivalent to changing a country, and protecting an opinion is equivalent to protecting a country. That is, by changing your mind, you can change the country. By changing the opinion about the economy, you can raise the economy, by changing the opinion about the law enforcement system, you can make it more fair. Etc. This is some kind of magical thinking. Consciousness is primary, matter is secondary..."