Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
Our agenda today includes national security in the Far Eastern Federal District. Many of these issues have already been raised during my working trip to the Far East. As you know, from the results of that trip concrete directives have been given to the Government of the Russian Federation, above all in the sphere of economic policy in the region and the development of its energy and transport infrastructure. I would like the Government representatives to report on the fulfillment of these directives.
I believe it is right and reasonable that the problems of the Far East are being discussed at the Security Council. That region calls for a special approach both in terms of the strategic view of its prospects and in terms of organising the day-to-day work of all the levels of government. The geographical remoteness of the region from the centre of Russia, and the length of the sea and land borders make security more of a challenge here than anywhere else.
Furthermore, the district still faces serious demographic, infrastructure, migration and environmental problems. Economic imbalances are still a source of social tension.
In recent years we have seen increased attempts by criminals to directly influence the development of the most effective sectors of the economy. The criminals stop at nothing. The murder of the Governor of the Magadan Region, Valentin Tsvetkov, is one tragic example. The heads of law enforcement bodies must keep the investigation of that crime under very close review.
All these factors have an adverse impact on the quality of life and the social and economic development of the Far East. They limit Russia’s potential for successful integration into the Asia-Pacific Region, which is today a key region in terms of world economic ties. The economic and political interests of many countries are focused and intersect in that region.
Let me go over the key issues that I think need to be discussed. First of all, the issues of securing the foreign policy interests of Russia. The military-political situation in the Asia-Pacific Region is on the whole stable. But there is a danger of many deferred conflicts flaring up, as you all know very well.
The activities of transnational crime and international terrorist organisations pose a serious threat to the stability and sustained development of the region. We should be ready to promptly react to any threats to the national security of Russia relying on our military potential and on the activities of the law enforcement agencies and secret services.
To this end, much needs to be done to enhance the combat readiness of the Pacific Fleet, and the troops of the Far Eastern Military District. It is necessary to upgrade the work of the entire law enforcement system and the border and customs services. The priorities are to ensure the personal security of Russian citizens, to protect the economy against infiltration by criminals, to fight contraband, drug-trafficking and illegal migration.
I would like also to dwell on issues of economic development. Some serious steps have recently been taken in that direction, above all in the framework of the Federal Programme of Economic and Social Development of the Far East. However, there are still many issues on the agenda to be attended to.
First, the rational use of natural resources. That task should be tackled with due account to internal market demands and the district’s export potential.
Second, improving the transportation and energy infrastructure in the district. And one of the priorities there is the continental transport corridor projects.
Third, it is extremely important to have a flexible and consistent tariff policy in the region. That is particularly relevant for the energy sphere, passenger and cargo carriage by all types of transport.
Fourth, it is necessary to create conditions for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and the creation of new jobs. The labour and scientific-technical potential of the district must be tapped effectively.
Obviously, to turn around the situation in the Far East it is necessary to use modern economic levers and managerial technologies. Close coordination between federal, regional and local governments is a must. And of course this work should take into account the whole range of factors that influence the situation – both internal and international.
In this connection I believe that the problems of the development of the Far East must remain a special concern of all the federal bodies, including the Security Council.