'Impostor' in special services sparks scandal in S. Ossetia
Scandal erupts in S. Ossetia around the “impostor” in the special services
In South Ossetia, a high-ranking member of the local secret service – Alexei Maksimov a Russian citizen invited from Moscow, suddenly became the focus of attention. The reason for this was a number of shady facts of his biography which became known thanks to a foreign source. It turned out that Maksimov was attributing to oneself non-existent military merit and awards. Authorities do not comment on the scandalous appointment.
Very little is known about Alexei Maksimov who became the hero of the scandal. According to unofficial information, Maksimov was invited to South Ossetia by the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of South Ossetia Alexei Varziev in 2019.
Within one day, he was allegedly able to obtain citizenship of the republic, was elevated to the rank of colonel and appointed to the post of adviser to the head of the service. Subsequently, he took up the post of deputy head of the SVR. According to sources in South Ossetia, Maksimov has now been seconded to Moscow, where he introduces himself as a representative of the SVR of South Ossetia.
Maksimov first appeared in public during the official visit of the President of Abkhazia Aslan Bzhania to South Ossetia in August this year. It was then that video cameras recorded a newly minted SVR officer in South Ossetia in the forefront of officials of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Maksimov’s story was not known to the public until information about the appearance of such a controversial figure in the South Ossetian special services appeared in foreign sources.
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In particular, South Ossetia drew attention to an investigation published in the alterminfo.blogspot.com blog in Croatian and then reprinted by the North Ossetian weekly Svobodny Vzglyad outlet, from where it migrated to the pages of anonymous Telegram channels.
The article says that in 1991-93 Maksimov Alexey Sergeevich, according to his official biography, allegedly served “as part of a limited contingent of Russian troops of the UN peacekeeping force in Yugoslavia”. However, such a contingent did not exist at that time – the first Russian units as part of the international peacekeeping forces in Bosnia appeared only in 1996.
In addition, a man with the same name – Maksimov Alexey Sergeevich, born in 1973, and also from Leningrad, is listed as an expert at the Center for Military-Political Research as a doctor of economic sciences and a corresponding member of the Academy for Security, Defense and Law Enforcement.
This organization, which operated from 2000 to 2008, was liquidated by the decision of the Supreme Court of Russia. The reason for this decision was that the organization established 73 types of identical state awards, including orders and medals, and also established academic degrees, introduced uniforms similar to military uniforms, as well as military ranks. That, in the opinion of the prosecutor’s office, which filed a lawsuit, “… creates conditions for corruption and discredits the state power”.
Russian prosecutor’s office was actually hinting at the possible sale of academic degrees and awards.
The authors of the investigation write that another similar organization, to which Maksimov has some ties, the International Academy of Informatization, is still operating and is very active. A photo of Maximov is still posted on the page of this organization, which captures the moment of him receiving a high rank from the hands of the president of the academy, Viktor Nabatnikov.
This organization in Russia has been criticized more than once for “spreading pseudoscience” and trading in diplomas and academic degrees and it was even ranked among the destructive totalitarian sects.
That, among other things, did not prevent the “Academy of Informatization” and Maksimov personally from participating in the “Amaranth” project in Afghanistan in 2014. The aim of the project, which along with the “academy” was carried out by the EVRAZIS Foundation and the Timiryazev Russian Agricultural Academy, was an experiment to replace the opium poppy with an unconventional agricultural crop, amaranth.
According to official information, some “agrarians from South Ossetia” also took part in this project. Until that time, no one had heard of the project or the agrarians in South Ossetia.
Appointed for a reason
How did it happen that a person with such a dubious biography was able to occupy a high position in such a closed organization in South Ossetia?
JAMnews requested an official comment from the authorities.
“Maksimov was invited from Moscow, and probably there were good reasons for this”, a source in the Presidential Administration of South Ossetia replied. The administration refrained from other comments.
According to the telegram channel “Abkhazia-Center”, Maksimov not only got a position in the South Ossetian special service but also managed to get his friend named Andrei Zakharchenko into the state security service.
There are too many conspiracy theories even for a secret service officer – this is how Roland Kelekhsaev, deputy of the parliament of South Ossetia of the fourth convocation, comments on the details of Maksimov’s biography and his appointment. He believes that “such processes” are unacceptable in the South Ossetian power structures.
According to Kelekhsaev, he supported initiatives to invite Russian specialists to work in South Ossetia. Since in serious fields, mainly in military positions, it was precisely Russian specialists with a rich experience that were needed.
“The first to be mentioned here are the heads of the Defense Ministry and the Security Council Anatoly Barankevich, Prime Minister Yuri Morozov, the head of the KGB Boris Attoev and other members of our military, who were with the people shoulder to shoulder both in sorrow and in joy. It should be noted both doctors and Russian journalists, and all Russians who are not indifferent to the fate of the Ossetian people. Wonderful people came to the republic, Russian specialists, to whom the people of South Ossetia are grateful and remember with deep respect”, Kelekhsaev said.
However, according to Kelekhsaev, there were also not entirely successful examples when “some visiting officials used the republic for personal enrichment”.
As for Mr. Maksimov, Roland Kelekhsaev considers his appointment to the SVR unsuccessful and controversial, given the ambiguous and scandalous reputation of this man:
“As I understand it, there are questions about this gentleman in Russia itself, and it would be necessary to weigh all the risks, all the pros and cons. I don’t know how they could have accepted this person in the SVR”.
He recalled that the SVR is a structure directly subordinate to the president.
“It is possible that the president got the wrong report, probably, they said that he was an officer from Russia, and automatically the high authority of the Russian military could play into the hands of this person. They could hide the scandalous trail, stretching behind Alexei Maksimov, and they could impose his candidacy. And now, after this scandal, the head of state could and should reconsider the policy of the SVR head Alexei Varziev and draw conclusions from this situation”, Roland Kelekhsaev is convinced.
Cover photo: Anton Maksimov juvnsky, unsplash.com
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