A Russian paper has quoted anonymous officials claiming that President Putin plans to leverage his total control of the Duma to overhaul the state security bodies ahead of 2018 presidential elections. The envisioned reforms would see the creation of a Ministry of State Security, or MGB, which would take on many of the powers that formerly belonged to the KGB.

The KGB was the infamous security agency of the totalitarian Soviet state, and it struck fear into the hearts of dissidents and ordinary citizens alike. Upon being dismantled in 1991, its duties were spread among various newly created agencies. In the early 2000s, the Federal Security Service, or FSB (the direct successor to the KGB), oversaw counter-espionage, economic security, and combating internal threats such as terrorism and organized crime.

Now two of these old KGB duties – foreign espionage and the investigation of internal political opponents – would be transferred to the MGB under the rumored plan. It would mark a big step in the direction of a re-centralization of state powers.