Kremlin sources said the "Ministry for State Security" — which will be known by the acronym "MGB" — is set to officially take shape before Russia's 2018 presidential election. It will reportedly look a lot like the infamous KGB in its power and the role it serves.
The security service will reportedly conduct criminal investigations and oversee Russia's other law enforcement groups. The country's investigative bodies in charge of overseeing political trials will reportedly see most of their power transferred to the MGB. "The result would be a single powerful security structure, sitting at the heart of the state's enforcement machinery, much as the KGB once did in the Soviet Union," wrote ABC News Monday.
An anonymous Russian Federal Security Service agent described what the change will look like to the Russian newspaper. "If before we [FSB agents] only provided support for investigations, then now we’ll be tasked with managing their progress from the moment criminal charges are filed, up until the cases go to court," the source told Kommersant, noting that these were high-profile cases, including allegations of corruption.
The biggest hurdle for the creation of the MGB is reportedly cash. Mired in two years of recession, Russia's "rainy day fund" has shrunk from $91.7 billion in 2014 to just $32.3 billion this month, reported CNN Money. Slumping oil prices have hit Russia especially hard, with that rainy day fund expected to shrink to $15 billion by the end of 2016. It will reportedly cost at least $308 million just to pay current employees who don't want to serve in the new system.
The KGB — which effectively enforced a police state during Soviet-era Russia through mass surveillance and persecution of opposition — was disbanded in 1991 when the Soviet Union fell. Putin joined the KGB in 1975 at age 23 and spent 16 years working for the intelligence agency.