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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, comrades.
Today at the Federal Security Service board meeting we will review the results of the FSB’s activities in 2012 and set the priorities for the future.
I would like to begin by praising the work of the employees in FSB headquarters, local offices, and special units, and to commend your competent and courageous actions while neutralising both internal and external threats.
I would draw your attention to the fact that improving the quality of operations and intelligence work is an everyday process. We must consistently enhance the FSB’s capacity to address the entire range of current and future challenges relating to security. I am referring to protecting our national interests and ensuring the stable development of our nation, as well as infallibly protecting our society and citizens from potential risks.
At a recent Interior Ministry board meeting I cited a number of counterterrorism statistics. Just last year more than 60 special operations were carried out under the auspices of the FSB’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee. The organisers and perpetrators of bloody terrorist acts were duly punished. Dozens of terrorist crimes were investigated and prevented. In total there were ninety-nine such crimes, including six acts of terrorism. Perhaps this is one of the most important results of your work.
However, the figures relating to uncovered and prevented crimes speak to the fact that you are operating in a difficult, stressful environment. As a matter of fact you know this very well, and today’s terrorist attack in the Caucasus bears witness to this. Therefore all anti-terrorism forces must be highly organised and ready to mobilise as quickly as possible.
I would ask you to elaborate a system of precaution measures to be activated in case of elevated terrorist threat, to the smallest detail, to perfect automatism. The main thing here is protecting human lives. We must provide reliable anti-terrorist protection for social and industrial facilities, infrastructure, transport, energy, and naturally for the major public, international events which will soon take place in Russia.
The most important aspect of your work is forestalling and preventing terrorism. It is necessary to protect people, and young people in particular, from being drawn into terrorist groups and the criminal underground.
The direct link between extremist and terrorist groups is clear. Therefore we must act as decisively as possible in order to neutralise extremist structures and thwart attempts by radicals to use the potential of modern information technology, the Internet, and social networks to diffuse their propaganda.
Effectively countering extremism requires that you not only plan special operations carefully, but that you also conduct them in an unimpeachably legal and juridical way. There is no room here for broad interpretation.
The constitutional right to freedom of speech is inalienable and inviolable. However, no one has the right to sow hatred or destabilise our society and country, and thereby endanger the lives, well-being, and peaceful existence of millions of our people.
A strong, competent and mature civil society is taking shape in Russia. People are increasingly accepting responsibility for what is happening in their country, city and municipality. They are expressing their views, launching initiatives, actively using organisations and associations, and increasingly availing themselves of the new rights of establishing political parties. Naturally these processes must and will receive state support.
However, I nevertheless want to emphasise that no one holds a monopoly that gives them the right to speak on behalf of all Russian society, especially the entities managed and financed from abroad as they inevitably serve others’ interests.
The regime governing the activities of NGOs in Russia is in place, and it also applies to funding from abroad. Obviously, these laws must be complied with. Any direct or indirect interference in our internal affairs, any form of pressure on our country or on our allies and partners, is unacceptable.
Recently we have heard a number of, to be perfectly honest, nervous, angry statements regarding integration processes within post-Soviet space. We put them down to the emotional rhetoric that some politicians engage in. Close integration is an objective, global process which cannot be stopped — including on our territories — by shouting and criticising.
Nevertheless we can expect – and as you know we are indeed faced with – various attempts to impede our integration efforts by employing a number of instruments of pressure, including the so-called mechanisms of soft power.
I want to emphasise that Russia’s sovereign right and that of our partners to build and develop our integration projects must be duly protected. I would ask you to work closely with your colleagues and partners from Belarus, Kazakhstan and other countries involved in various integration processes in this respect.
Another crucial FSB activity is counterintelligence. Last year counterintelligence operations allowed us to identify and stop espionage being carried out by 34 officers and 181 agents of foreign secret services, 12 of whom were caught red-handed.
Espionage primarily concerns promising domestic technologies and pilot projects, Armed Forces and the military-industrial complex upgrading and development plans, and the most important political and economic data.
We need the most up-to-date means of organising our counterintelligence activities, including protecting classified information. This also applies to increasingly frequent attempts to breach national electronic databases.
In the near future we must create a unified detection system to prevent and resist computer attacks on Russia’s information resources. It is necessary to solve this problem as quickly as possible in the very near future.
Today increased demands are being placed on the FSB’s Border Guards Service. We must develop infrastructure that allows us to cooperate in border protection with our partners and neighbours, and improve the tools and methods with which we protect our border, as well as the technical equipment of border guard agencies.
We must also strengthen the system monitoring the enforcement of legal regimes. We must do this not only along the border, but also in border areas, on the continental shelf, and in the Russian Federation’s exclusive economic zone.
In general I expect you to undertake more activities designed to ensure economic security, protect interests of the state and of Russian business. I am talking about protecting our companies from unfair competition and direct discrimination in foreign markets, anti-corruption measures, and combatting organised crime.
However – and I would like to place particular stress on this – it is unacceptable to get involved in business disputes, to put pressure on businesses, or to cause various artificial obstacles and barriers to implementing investment projects. Such professional and moral misdemeanours must absolutely be decisively erradicated. This is precisely what I am expecting of you.
The development of the human resources potential of the Federal Security Service is crucial for the successful implementation of your tasks. Employees must receive all they need: from all necessary modern technology to a fitting salary and benefits package.
As you know, since January 1, 2013 personnel salaries increased by about 40 percent. For the first time in the past twenty years we can say that even though there probably still are some problems here, it is generally true that practically all those in need have received permanent housing. Last year alone more than 11,000 people on waiting lists received the keys to new apartments. The service housing fund has grown significantly as well. We will continue to work on these issues.
Of course, veterans, and particularly families of employees killed on duty, must receive special care. This is our shared professional and moral duty.
In conclusion, I would like to once again thank Federal Security Service employees for their faithful service. I expect that you will accomplish the tasks set for you with the highest levels of professionalism.
Thank you for your attention.