A series of surprising arrests of some of Russia's top cybersecurity figures has left the international cybersecurity officials and analysts wondering whether Russia is cleaning house of suspected spies, or going through an internal shakeup of the FSB, Russia's national security service.
At some point in December, Ruslan Stoyanov, a well-respected researcher with the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, and Sergei Mikhailov, head of the FSB's Center of information Security, were arrested by Russian police as part of what Russia's Kommersant newspaper described as a probe into possible treason. No date of arrest has been made public, though Kommersant reported that Stoyanov last logged into his private social media account on December 4, and Mikhailov on December 5. The Moscow-based Novaya Gazeta newspaper cited sources as saying Mikhailov was arrested during a meeting with other FSB officers in Moscow, and was taken from the room with a sack over his head.
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On Thursday, REN-TV, a privately-owned TV channel in Russia, said a second FSB officer had also been arrested in December. They identified the man as Major Dmitry Dokuchayev, and reported he had served under Mikhailov in the the Center for Information Security. In another indication that Russia was seeing a high-level shakedown at the FSB, Kommersant reported that on January 13, the director of the Center for Information Security, Andrei Gerasimov, was fired. He was described as having close ties to cybersecurity companies, including Kaspersky Lab.