President Vladimir Putin:
As you know, I had a meeting a few days ago with the leaders of the country’s main political parties, including parties that are not represented in the current parliament but that do have a presence on the national political stage. We discussed the fight against extremism. This is why I have decided to hold today’s meeting in a more enlarged format than usual. I want to tell you all about the results of last week’s meeting and outline some concrete steps to carry out the agreements that were reached as a result of our discussion last week.
First, I think it is essential to instruct the Public Health and Social Development Ministry, the Education and Science Ministry, the Regional Development Ministry and the Interior Ministry to draft a programme to support children who are without parental care. I already spoke about this need recently at a meeting at the Kremlin with law enforcement officials. I think we need to develop a special state programme in this area.
Some of our colleagues at last week’s meeting with the political party leaders spoke in favour of increasing liability for crimes motivated by ethnic intolerance and for crimes that we would consider extremist in nature. I ask the Government to reflect on these proposals and formulate its point of view. This concerns not only the Interior Ministry but also the Justice Ministry and the government experts.
There are increasingly frequent calls for us to make effective use of the possibilities we have for work through the Culture Ministry, art unions and the media. This does not mean we need to ban anything. We need to work more actively in the media to promote the necessary programmes and ideas, come up with new initiatives and take the according steps to ensure their coverage in the media.
There is also the question of working with the different ethnic and immigrant communities. This comes under the responsibility of several different agencies, above all, of course, the Interior Ministry’s Migration Service, but other agencies are also concerned by this work. Without the support of the other agencies the Interior Ministry alone is unlikely to be able to organise this work effectively. I ask the ministry to draft a separate programme on working with the different communities and coordinate it with their colleagues by involving them in the work and making it a joint effort.
This is just an outline of the main things that I discussed with the leaders of the country’s political parties. I hope that you will take an active position and that the proposals you come up with will address a broader range of problems and issues directly related to resolving the issue of combating extremism in our country.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on his upcoming visit to Latin America:
Sergei Lavrov: As you agreed with President Lula and President Kirchner, I will be visiting Brazil and Argentina this week. The visit’s main emphasis will be on looking at what still has to be done to implement in full the agreements you reached, including with respect to developing a legal base for our cooperation focusing in particular on creating conditions for building up our ties in the high-technology sector, especially in the space sector (with the Brazilians). Aside from my meetings with the leadership and the foreign ministers of these two countries, I will also have meetings with businesspeople at their request. We will tell them about what we are doing here and what possibilities we can offer. We have already worked with all of our colleagues to prepare all the documents. In Brazil, there will also be a separate meeting with the foreign Ministers of the MERCOSUR member countries. MERCOSUR is a promising regional integration organisation and we plan to sign an agreement with it on developing our political contacts and putting in place a special mechanism for this purpose. This is in keeping with our policy of developing solid partnership ties with regional groupings in different parts of the world, including in Latin America. I will report on the results when I return.
On the introduction of contract-based service for Interior Ministry troops serving in Chechnya:
Vladimir Putin: Rashid Gumarovich (addressing Interior Minister Nurgaliyev), you promised me that there would not be a single Interior Ministry serviceman carrying out compulsory military service in Chechnya by the end of this year.
Rashid Nurgaliyev: As from December 1, all Interior Ministry troops in Chechnya are serving on a contract basis. I went personally to Chechnya yesterday and inspected the new units there, in particular two operations regiments stationed in Gudermes and Urus-Martan. I can inform you that over this year so far we have withdrawn more than 6,000 troops from Chechnya, who were stationed there on a temporary basis. Today we have a group of more than 22,000 Interior Ministry troops stationed there. Your instructions have been fulfilled and all the servicemen in Chechnya today are serving and performing military duties on a contract basis.