President Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers and generals,
I congratulate you on your new appointments and on your promotion to new military ranks. I hope that in taking these new steps in your military careers you will make full use of your experience and the powers you have to more effectively address the professional tasks before you, above all, the work on modernising the armed forces.
We need to make our armed forces mobile, much better armed and equipped and we must seriously raise the level of combat preparedness.
It is equally important to improve the quality of operative troop management. I note that in terms of the number, and more importantly, of the quality of military exercises for command staff and troops, this recent period has seen a very full programme. It is important to keep up this work and to continue to improve the way the armed forces work together to fulfil their missions.
As you know, considerable funds have been allocated this year for equipping the army and navy with modern arms – considerably greater funds than in previous years, in any case. A number of units have received the latest models of armoured tank and aviation equipment. Your direct task, and the task of the servicemen, is to master it and make it operational without delay.
Improving the moral and psychological climate in the armed forces is a matter that requires serious attention. The army is founded on respect for its rules and regulations. Commanders at all levels must therefore take measures to reinforce military discipline. Breaches of the law within the armed forces are absolutely unacceptable, and even more so are attempts by officials to silence and cover up these cases. I am not even referring here so much to cases of bullying as to law and order and discipline in the armed forces in general.
In this context, work on preventing these kinds of situations is of particularly great importance and, as mentors and officers, you play an especially significant part in this work.
From year to year the state has been taking serious measures to improve the social status of servicemen. Considerable funds were allocated this year to housing construction for servicemen. Using the new individual account-mortgage system, servicemen beginning their service now will start receiving housing as from 2008. A number of other social issues are also in the process of being settled, including the creation of a system of professional education for servicemen. The aim of this system of education is not only to improve the level of training but to raise the prestige of military service and make it more attractive.
The fight against terrorism remains a key area of work for the armed forces and all of the security and law enforcement agencies. The terrorist threat has still not yet been completely neutralised in the North Caucasus. The Interior Ministry Collegium held a meeting recently and I noticed the statistics that were presented. A lot has been done. An immense amount of work has been carried out, but 95 percent of all cases of terrorist activity were in the Republic of Chechnya. The figures for all the other republics in the North Caucasus were considerably lower. We must keep this in mind. We must not ever forget it. The security and law enforcement agencies and the armed forces must be on the offensive in the fight against terrorism and coordinate closely all their efforts.
The National Anti-Terrorist Committee aims at raising the effectiveness of this work. The regional offices of the Federal Security Service are responsible for overseeing the regional headquarters, while the general supervision is in the hands of the director of the Federal Security Service, Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev.
The fight against terrorism remains the priority for the Federal Security Service and we need visible results, significant results, in this area.
One of the primary tasks is to modernise the border infrastructure. The FSB Border Guards Service is currently carrying out large-scale work to put in place the necessary infrastructure on the country’s borders. Nevertheless, more work still needs to be done within the State border of Russia Programme to better protect the stretches of our borders where the situation is most complex.
Looking at the work of the Interior Ministry, the recent Interior Ministry Collegium that I mentioned noted in particular the need to work on combating serious and very serious crimes and also economic crimes.
The work of all the lower levels of the police force – city and district level – needs to be thoroughly overhauled. It is to police officers at this level that people come with their problems and complaints, and it is based on their work that the public judges the state’s ability to protect them from violence and arbitrariness.
Finally, much more effective use must be made of crime prevention in the fight against crime. I am sure that only systematic crime prevention work can help to really lower the crime rate in our country. In addition to this recidivist crime also needs to be given more attention. I just discussed this problem with the President of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, who is also concerned about the rise of recidivist crime in the country.
The need to strengthen Russia’s international positions places demands of the highest order on the Foreign Intelligence Service. The Service’s priorities are to improve its operative and analytical potential and take the right reaction to the possible emergence of new threats for Russia.
The personnel of the Emergency Situations Ministry worked effectively last year. The introduction of the unified system for the prevention and liquidation of emergency situations is one of the main results of the ministry’s work.
The task today is to improve the standards of monitoring and supervision of the operation of technically complex facilities and facilities used by large numbers of people. This concerns above all shopping centres, sports and health and recreation facilities and large transport hubs.
The drugs control authorities also have serious tasks before them. One way to achieve results in this work is to increase international cooperation. We expect effective work in preventing attempts to use Russia as a transit route for drugs trafficking to other countries.
The Federal Guards Service is displaying a high level of professionalism in the way it carries out its duties and I hope that its personnel will continue their reliable and effective work.
In conclusion I would like to say that I am confident you will justify the trust that has been shown you and I wish you success in your work and good results in your new posts.
I wish you and your families health and happiness.