Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues and participants of this meeting.
Your department was created as a special service to fight the drug trade. It was created to increase the effectiveness of this work and to coordinate the efforts of central and regional structures working in this area.
With these goals in mind, I would like to briefly summarise the initial results of the service’s work, and discuss plans for the future.
The drug trade and crime connected with it are among the most serious threats to the security of the Russian Federation. It was after evaluating this threat, and encountering it to its full extent, that we created a special service, a service with considerable power.
Drugs kill thousands of our fellow citizens. They do not just kill them directly, but also through the spread of AIDS and other infectious diseases. Profit from the illegal trade of drugs has become the financial basis for various types of criminal activities, including organised criminal groups and international terrorists.
We must admit that in recent years the level of drug use in Russia has grown, and the structure of the drug trade has expanded. Currently, two thirds of crimes connected with drugs fall into the category of grave and extremely grave crimes.
It is clear that it is necessary to further analyse and consolidate the legal base of the war on the drug trade, and also to improve the state system of fighting the illegal drug trade, as, unfortunately, work in this area has not yet brought the results expected by society.
The fact is that an established, well structured and extensive network of drug trading has arisen in Russia, including manufacture, transport and distribution of drugs.
Russian drug crime is becoming a part of the international drug mafia, and has already established an entire system of work at all levels, including legalising income from drugs abroad. Only when we come to understand the source of the threat, the scale of the threat, can we fight against it. Fight effectively, with clear results.
To achieve this, we should adopt the following priorities: above all, the financial base of the drug mafia needs to be minimised, and in the long term, to be liquidated. Its economic bases need to be undermined. To this end, we must fight against the legislation of income from criminal business, and cut off the channels for transferring money.
I want to stress that in addressing these tasks, your service is called upon to play a key role. You have the task of detecting the channels used for this transfer of money. I hope that you will do this effectively together with the recently created financial intelligence service.
We can effectively fight the illegal drug trade only through combined preventive, educational, medical and law-enforcement measures.
It must be clearly understood: drug addiction is a dangerous disease. It is at the same time a social disease and a disease of individual people. And we must think seriously about creating an accessible system of treatment and rehabilitation for people suffering from drug addiction.
The accessibility of drugs needs to be reduced, especially for young people. At the same time, it should be admitted that in themselves neither repressive policies nor legalisation of drugs, which have both been tried in various countries around the world, are able to fully solve this problem.
And finally, we need to direct preventive measures towards working with young people and social groups which are most susceptible to the threat of drug abuse.
To do this, there must be a thorough analysis of ways to implement the current federal programme to oppose the threat of drugs. The programme which already ends this year.
We need to draw the right conclusions and develop a specific and realistic plan of action, even if it is not a universal one, for the near future. This plan should be a practical one, and the result of it should be obvious, as I have already said.
Thirdly, the task of liquidating extensive networks of drug trade and criminal groups working in this sphere remains important. This task is to a large extent an operational one. And your service, in cooperation with other federal departments and regions, should think about how to combine efforts in this area.
I stress once more: we have a legal base and the resources for your most decisive actions.
Incidentally, when I talked of cooperation, I assumed that the jurisdiction will be divided between different bodies and departments working in this area. Your service is at the core of this, and should carry the main burden of work in this area.
To continue. For the war on the drug trade, wide social support is required. You will not be able to manage without the assistance of civil society organisations which combat drug addiction and drug trade. And here, collective educational work is very important, preventive and anti-drug campaign. We should oppose open and concealed promotion of drugs with the words and deeds of authoritative public leaders, and representatives of religion and cultural elite.
Another important aspect: drug trade is international. And so constant exchange of experience and information, and coordinated activity with colleagues in other countries, can greatly increase the effectiveness of the war on drugs.
Primarily, of course, this concerns our partners in CIS countries. And we must at least ensure efficient work within the framework of the CIS anti-drug programme for 2002–2004 and the Central Asian Memorandum on Cooperation in Controlling the Legal Manufacture and Trade of Drugs.
I expect that effective means for fighting the drug threat can be found in the format of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Here, of course, efficient cooperation needs to be established with the border guards of both Russia and the CIS.
And finally, based on the international obligations of the Russian Federation, thought should be given to more effective ways to opposing smuggling of drugs and psychotropic substances from abroad.
The main task is to stop the transit of drugs through the territory of our country. To do this, as I have already said, the combined work of the FSB Border Service and colleagues from neighbouring countries is required. We need to stop attempts at drug smuggling, and not allow the expansion of transnational criminal groups in Russia.
Incidentally, the Security Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs need to develop unified and clear methods with our partners in the CIS in this area. I primarily mean cooperation in the border sphere. This, I should note, is not only a concern for Russia, but also for our partners in Western Europe and North America. It is a major international problem, and it must, of course, be solved together. The Interior Ministry should take the necessary steps in this area. We should understand clearly what we can expect in working with our partners, especially in Central Asia.
In conclusion, I would like to stress: in fighting the drug threat, not just aggressive tactics are required, but also precise calculation, and systematic and effective decisions.
I am sure that you realise the full extent of the responsibility that now lies on the system of bodies for controlling the drug trade and psychotropic substances, on every section of the department, on every employee. The task is extremely important. And I sincerely wish you success. The country expects results from you.