President Vladimir Putin: Good evening. Let’s begin with today’s meeting of the National Counter-terrorist Committee (NCC), and then I will ask you to come back to a subject we have been working on closely of late, namely keeping our southern borders covered. What is the NCC’s view on this matter and what have our border guards achieved over this last period? What do we still need to do in the coming future to ensure security in the south of Russia?
Nikolai Patrushev: Vladimir Vladimirovich, the National Counter-terrorism Committee was established in accordance with your instructions and has already held three regular meetings. Work is going according to plan. The committee has also held four away meetings in the regions. The last meeting, in Rostov-on-Don on August 25, was attended by all the heads of the regional counter-terrorist committees.
Also in accordance with your instructions, the Federal Operational Headquarters held a meeting today. The National Counter-terrorist Committee’s mission is to carry out preventive work and to fight and liquidate the consequences, while the Federal Operational Headquarters is directly involved in fighting terrorism itself. This work will also be carried out according to plan.
Concerning the federal targeted programme for equipping the border, it is being implemented in accordance with the decisions taken. By the end of this year, 37 border posts will be equipped and another 35 will be equipped next year. We also need to build seven border command facilities. Construction of three of these facilities is already underway and work will begin on four more very soon. The work will be completed according to schedule.
We also don’t forget, of course, that the border guards need normal living conditions. Four residential buildings have already been built and five more are under construction. Design work has just been completed for another residential building. I do not think we will end up with a disparity between working and living conditions. Everything will be linked together.
Furthermore, two Defence Ministry brigades will also be in place with all necessary facilities and equipment. These are specialised mountain brigades that will be ready to operate in these specific conditions. Work is also underway to equip Interior Ministry brigades.
All of this work will enable us to ensure security in the south of our country, and a high level of security, what’s more. Of course, the operational units already operating in these regions will also be involved in this work. I think that by the end of the year we will be able to speak of serious progress in ensuring a high level of security.
Vladimir Putin: What are relations like with the regional heads in the south of the country when it comes to carrying out this work?
Nikolai Patrushev: There is complete understanding. We needed 72 plots of land allotted in order to set up and equip the border posts, and this land has been allotted. We make use of local resources — construction materials for building the border posts, and locally produced goods. I think that we have mutual understanding in that they are helping us to develop our living conditions. We have built high-quality, modern sports complexes at a number of the border posts, and they are already working. We have one such complex at the Verkhnyaya Balkaria border post, for example. Even people who play sport at a high level would envy the facility built at Yarmolovka. We have also agreed that curator and sponsorship programmes would take place at each border post, as has always been the case with the border guards. We also discussed this in Rostov on August 25.
Vladimir Putin: Do many local people work or serve in the units?
Nikolai Patrushev: Service there is considered very prestigious and local people are interested in serving there. Furthermore, the construction of the border posts has made a good contribution to developing the technical infrastructure in the nearby settlements.