President Vladimir Putin: We shall start today’s meeting by discussing the tragic events which occurred in Moscow on Saturday – the terrorist attack that was committed in the capital. Above all, of course, help must be given to those who suffered: we must do everything in our power to help those who are in hospital; moral and material aid must be given to the relatives of those who lost their lives.
We have never been in any doubt that the bandits active in the Caucasus have links with international terrorist organizations. Today, after a series of terrorist attacks, I think that we can talk about something else. We can talk about the fact that the organizations active in Chechnya do not simply have links with international terrorism, but they are an inalienable, highly dangerous part of an international terrorist network.
I want to stress once again that no state can led by terrorists. Russia will not do this, because even the very first step on this path would mark the beginning of the state’s disintegration, and then the number of victims would rise into the tens, hundreds and thousands. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the secret services and the law enforcement agencies must redouble their work through channels with their foreign partners to extradite to the Russian Federation bandits who have committed crimes on Russian territory. We must enhance this work as part of the anti-terrorist coalition.
Every effort must be made within the country to develop preventative work, to put up barriers in the way of crime, particularly at civil establishments. Indeed, the very method of committing the crime, the channels and sources of financing, and most importantly, the crime directed against the peaceful civilian population, is convincing proof of what I said earlier. That the bandits active in Chechnya are part of an international terrorist network. It is pointless carrying out preventative work with these people. They need to be hunted out of their basements and caves where they still hide and eliminated. At the same time, I would particularly pay attention to the fact that the terrorists’ main task today is to disrupt the processes of the political settlement in the Chechen Republic. Those Chechens who want restoration and social rehabilitation can do this. We have created all the conditions for this: adopted a decision and the Law on Amnesty, adopted the Constitution of the Chechen Republic, giving it the widest autonomy. We are preparing and helping Chechnya elect its own president and parliament. However, people who do not want to see Chechnya restored are pursuing different aims. They are recruiting their followers and perpetrators from among the local population, but their missions have nothing in common with the interests of the Chechen nation. And such people, I repeat, have to be eliminated.
I would like to stress that decisive actions must be pinpoint and selective. We must not give into the provocation towards which the terrorists are pushing us. They are trying to achieve this, believing that our actions will be unprofessional, that they will touch upon peaceful citizens who will then turn away from the processes that have started today in Chechnya. We cannot allow this to happen. I spoke about this today at a meeting with the heads of the law enforcement agencies and secret services, as well as the Prosecutor General of Russia.
Now, a few words about the current problems. I have signed several laws that the Government worked on with State Duma deputies. The matter in hand concerns the reduction of value added tax by 2% and removing a sum of up to 1 million rubles out of the taxable base for citizens buying property. I hope that this will not simply work in theory, but will also lead to noticeable economic results. I know that it was very hard for the Government to compensate for the fall in taxes connected with value added tax cut. I do not rule out that this will need additional work with the regions, the business community and deputies. The decisions have been adopted and now they need to be implemented.
We need to actively prepare for the autumn session of parliament. There is little time and I would like to remind you once again that it would be extremely desirable to see the economic law for 2004 adopted not simply on time, but a little earlier, with account for the forthcoming elections to the State Duma.