Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon dear colleagues and participants in the meeting!
Today at the traditional meeting of the board you must analyse the results of work done by the special service in 2005 and determine its future orientation
As a whole the tasks that were put forward one year ago have been accomplished. Divisions of the FSB have worked satisfactorily, competently and increasingly coordinated their activities with other law enforcement agencies. We were able to achieve significant results in counterterrorist activities in the northern Caucasus. A large number of leaders of bandit gangs have been taken out of action. Many channels by which bandits receive information, money and weapons have been uncovered and blocked. The operation in Nalchik was an example of successful work by the Russian law enforcement agencies as a whole and by FSB employees in particular.
However the situation in the northern Caucasus is still complex. And it must remain under constant supervision. Therefore a strict uncompromising struggle with terrorism shall remain one of your priorities in the year to come.
Today counterterrorism activities must be accomplished in a more systematic and methodical way. It is here—and I have already said this more than once—that the analytical component of your work is especially important. We must compile a maximum amount of information on all trends and changes that take place in international terrorism, including its ideological and social base. And only this way we can find effective methods to fight against terrorism and coordinate cooperation with other law enforcement agencies.
In addition, it is necessary to further develop international cooperation in counterterrorist operations. I know that there have been visible success in this field. And it is not only a question of increasing ties between allies in the Commonwealth of Independent States, Collective Security Treaty Organization or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Our partnership with the United States, France, Germany, China and a number of other Asian states has reached a new level.
Today the FSB cooperates with more than a 100 special services and law enforcement agencies from 67 countries. And I expect that the organizational structures and mechanisms that we have already developed shall be actively put into practice. It is obvious that we must use the experience we gain from such cooperation not only in the field of counterterrorism, but also with regards to combating organized crime and illegal trafficking of weapons and materials that could be used for weapons of mass destruction.
Yet another extremely topical problem concerns protecting our society from displays of excessive nationalism and extremism. Such crimes represent direct threats to Russia's stability and to the unity of our multinational people.
While it is necessary to react strongly to acts of extremism that actually take place, we cannot allow incitement to national and religious intolerance, something that is just as destructive, to go unpunished.
It is impossible to ensure Russia's internal and international security without protecting our state border in a reliable way. In 2005 according to the programme 'Russia's State Border' the Border department of the FSB has done a great deal to strengthen border areas. As a result, a number of routes that allow international terrorists to smuggle weapons and drugs on Russian territory have been blocked. One of the consequences is that the operational capacities of border guards working along the most difficult border, that in the northern Caucasus, have increased.
At a similar meeting here, from this very stand, I spoke about the difficulty and the importance of accomplishing these tasks. It is pleasant for me to see that these tasks are being accomplished. I travelled to the border this year and looked at what is happening there. You have done very well! Excellent work. And the border guards feel absolutely differently. The effectiveness of their work has increased.
In the same way we must work at accomplishing our main task—the struggle against terrorists. To purposefully crush them wherever necessary, in all caves, to look for these caves and destroy them just like the rats that hide in them. Purposefully, just as the border guards are equipped to do so today. I was pleased. Excellent work!
Along with this our most important goal in the near future is to completely modernize the border infrastructure so that it corresponds to today's requirements. It must be convenient for those who work along it and for those who cross it legally. It must help the development of civilized economic relations as well as cultural and educational ties between peoples.
A traditional area in which the FSB works remains counterintelligence. You are well aware that states always use intelligence to vie for political and economic influence throughout the world. Foreign intelligence services have tried and will try to again to gain access to our state, industrial and technical secrets. Not only have we still got enough of what our foreign partners using special devices could pay attention to, we have new developments in our military and civil spheres. And the political situation will result in more and more interest being taken in Russia.
This implies an increased demand for high-quality operative and analytical work done by counterintelligence agents. It also implies improving your technical capacities and arsenal.
The secret nature of counterintelligence activities is clear. However, at the same time it is necessary to communicate more to society about the results of your work. This will ensure that society at large supports your activities and help the work of the special services themselves.
I shall separately address a theme that has had a significant impact among our society. I am referring to the fact that we recently uncovered and documented agents from foreign intelligence services, several employees of separate structures working in Moscow under diplomatic cover.
Russian counterintelligence accomplished its work professionally. And we can only express regret that this scandal has cast a shadow on non-governmental organizations. But this was not your doing. It is necessary to be fastidious in finding out who offers financial help.
In our country, just like in any other democratic state, these organizations constitute a significant part of civil society—I am referring to non-governmental organizations. They are called on to carry out important functions concerning protecting citizens' rights. All citizens, including those sitting in this room. And we intend to support and develop these functions in every possible way. And of course it is precisely for this reason that non-governmental organizations must operate in strict conformity with the law. And the way they operate and their sources of financing must be as transparent as possible in the interests of society.
The task that stands before the special services and all law enforcement agencies consists in creating the necessary conditions so that these organizations can operate efficiently. But at the same time you must protect society from any attempts by foreign states to use these organizations for interfering in Russia's internal affairs.
In conclusion I would like to thank you all for the results of your work in 2005. I am confident that the personnel of Russia's FSB will continue to do everything to protect our state and our citizens from the existing and potential security threats in a reliable way.
I wish you success.