Before the meeting, the President visited the Moscow Interior Ministry Main Directorate, where he saw how ‘02’ police emergency service operates.
The service has been operating since 1971 as a round-the-clock operations base that receives, registers and sends out to the local police stations information from citizens on crimes and incidents.
Mr Medvedev saw how the information is processed and how the city video-surveillance and radio-guided patrol systems work.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues, we are here today to discuss once again the complex range of issues concerning law enforcement in our country, and above all, the issue of preventing extremism.
Our meeting is taking place in the Moscow Interior Ministry Main Directorate’s offices on Petrovka Street. The various threats that other regions face concern Moscow too, of course, as our country’s capital. We have here today the heads of our law enforcement and security agencies, the plenipotentiary presidential envoys in the federal districts, and the heads and governors of various regions. I hope we will exchange information today and discuss several current issues related to neutralising and preventing extremism in our country.
There is no need for me to say again just how dangerous extremism is for our multi-ethnic and multi-faith country. We have taken a number of measures lately to reduce this threat. In accordance with my instructions, the 2010–2012 extremism prevention action plan is being implemented. Also acting on my executive order, the regions have established coordination councils for ensuring law and order. I hope the governors will say a few words on how these councils are working in general and whether there is any need to make changes to the way they are organised. Working groups on harmonising interethnic relations are also operating on a permanent basis.
”There is a clear need for further measures to prevent radicalism among particular social groups, radicalism that goes beyond the lawful limits, and take action to strengthen interethnic harmony in our country.“
At the same time though, as I said at the FSB board meeting in January, and the Interior Ministry board meeting in March, the number of extremism-related crimes registered last year was up by 20 percent. The rise in extremism among young people is especially worrying. This is one of the most dangerous forms of extremism and, sadly, concerns our future.
Radical and nationalist groups are increasingly better prepared and more sophisticated in their tactics. The law enforcement agencies cannot ignore these developments. There is a clear need for further measures to prevent radicalism among particular social groups, radicalism that goes beyond the lawful limits, and take action to strengthen interethnic harmony in our country.
What do I want to draw to your attention at this meeting?
First of all, we need to look at how to improve the mechanisms for coordinating our extremism prevention work, improve the coordination between the federal and regional organisations. We have already made some decisions, but I think we need to go further. There are still cases of different organisations’ duplicating each other’s action, and often a simple lack of understanding of what exactly needs to be done.
Second, we need more active effort to prevent extremism from developing in the first place, above all through education work in our schools and universities. This is obvious. Our country has unique traditions of cooperation between different peoples and cultures, but it is not enough to simply note this fact and not do anything to build on these historic achievements. There is an urgent need to educate the young generation in a spirit of respect for our people’s traditions. This education must not be just a formality. We have all had it up to here with endless formalistic proposals on how to inculcate patriotism in our youth that for the most part achieve precious little result.
At the same time, we see nationalists and radicals trying to play this patriotic tune, or rather pseudo-patriotic tune. We must not give them the opportunity to do so. This is a priority for the regions. You need to have the main powers here and be the ones making the main decisions. I want the governors and the presidential envoys to be directly involved in this work. This is a political responsibility and entirely part of your duties, apart from the law enforcement side of things, which is of course the law enforcement agencies’ responsibility.
“Impunity only encourages new crimes. The heads of the Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service must remember this, as must the regional heads. We cannot let these kinds of crimes go unpunished. Their perpetrators must be brought to justice.”
Of course, civil society organisations need to get involved in this work too. This cooperation needs to be more modern and active, and in accordance with the new laws on the Interior Ministry and the police, I signed today an executive order on public councils set up to work together with the Interior Ministry and its regional offices. This order takes into account the recommendations made by various organisations, including the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights. In accordance with this order, public councils will be established and be approved by the Interior Ministry, taking into account the Civic Chamber’s recommendations. These councils will coordinate issues of public importance concerning peoples and groups’ lawful rights and interests, and facilitate the implementation of law and order and crime prevention policy, including efforts to prevent extremism-related crimes. I want you all to pay attention to this order and make sure it is implemented. What is very important here is that there will be public supervision of the Interior Ministry’s work, so as to make sure that it is transparent, based on modern principles and fully in compliance with the laws in force of course.
Third, although the emphasis is on preventive measures, we also need to make competent use of the powers the law provides to firmly suppress all extremist acts that do arise, and this is the law enforcement agencies’ direct responsibility. We all know that impunity only encourages new crimes. The heads of the Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service must remember this, as must the regional heads. We cannot let these kinds of crimes go unpunished. Their perpetrators must be brought to justice.
Fourth, related to what I just said, is the issue of legislation on preventing extremism. Following the [State Council] presidium meeting in Ufa, I instructed the Government to draw up a draft federal law that would bar people convicted of extremist crimes from working in the civil service and the education sector. I want to know the state of progress on this. This draft law should be submitted soon to the State Duma as a presidential legislative initiative. Furthermore, in April I submitted to the State Duma a draft law toughening the penalties for a number of extremist crimes in the Criminal Code. This draft law also needs to be passed, and the crimes concerned need to be punished according to the new penalties it sets.