President Vladimir Putin: Comrades, delegates to this meeting,
This annual meeting of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Collegium is to make an all-round analysis of the agency’s work and outline priorities and tasks for the coming months.
Overall, the security agencies worked well in 2006. The creation of the National Antiterrorist Committee headed by the director of the FSB was a big step in developing the country’s antiterrorist strategy. One of its results has been a real increase in coordination of the different agencies’ counterterrorist work, including operations to neutralise armed groups and their leaders, the most notorious among them, in Chechnya. As I have said on many occasions, our public and our country had waited a long time for the results that were achieved last year.
The general professional level of operations work has increased visibly, as was apparent during the organisation of international events. FSB personnel displayed a high standard of work during the G8 summit and the summit meetings with the European Union.
These achievements are all important signs that the FSB is strengthening its potential and that its different divisions have gained in experience and professionalism. Today, I think we can see how people with greater professional experience are working closely with new personnel to create an efficiently functioning human resources environment. This can be seen in the results achieved. I want to thank the agency’s directors and its rank and file personnel for their conscientious work.
At the same time, however, the task of ensuring our national security requires the FSB to be constantly improving its work.
Above all, the agency must continue to step up efforts to prevent terrorist attacks. You are the ones responsible for coordinating this work, and not only with the other security agencies but also with your colleagues from other state ministries and agencies.
As you know, checks of all the main components of the state counterterrorism system were carried out recently in response to a high state of terrorism alert being declared. All components were important – alerting citizens, and action procedures for the law enforcement agencies and the federal and regional authorities. In this respect, there is matter for reflection and there are things to work on.
New counterterrorism instruments were also on the agenda at the National Coordination Meeting of Law Enforcement Agencies. As you know, a common counterterrorism data base will be established very soon. It will contain fingerprint data on people accused and convicted of terrorism, and other useful information for carrying out day-to-day operations.
It is important to close the loopholes that enable international terrorists to enter Russian territory. The implementation of the federal ‘State Border’ programme is particularly important in this respect. The priority today, like last year, is to equip the most complex sections of the border in the North Caucasus.
We must continue our work to put in place a modern border protection infrastructure. By raising the throughput capacity of our border crossing points we can inject new vigour into economic life in many border regions in the country, and we can use new technology and equipment to be more active in preventing smuggling that damages our marine and natural resources. These are all real steps that help to ensure our country’s economic security.
As you know, the Russian economy has been growing steadily. We must ensure that the business environment in Russia is reliably protected from corruption and economic crime.
Some results were achieved in this area last year. You succeeded in preventing losses to the state, which, according to your estimates, came to some 47 billion roubles. More than 3,000 criminal cases have been opened. But you must be well aware that concrete losses are not the only issue. These kinds of crimes, if they go unpunished, eat away at society and deal a serious blow to Russia’s reputation as a country with a civilised economic environment.
I can only say once again that the public measures the effectiveness of your work in large part by the results obtained by your investigations departments. It would be unwise to get carried away with boosting the numbers through insignificant criminal cases. It is important to concentrate your efforts on thorough investigation of crimes that represent a direct threat to our country’s security.
Finally, we should not forget that Russia’s ratification of international anti-corruption conventions and agreements also opens up new opportunities for fighting crime.
Elections to regional legislative assemblies and to the State Duma will take place this year. Elections are a most important democratic mechanism for the formation of state power, state power that is accountable and elected through a process of healthy political competition.
In this context, not only is it important to ensure law and order, but also to protect society from attempts to push the ideology of extremism and ethnic and religious intolerance to the fore in public political life.
I stress that work in this area must take place within a strict legal framework and that any action on your part must be based on the Constitution and Russian legislation.
Another key priority for the FSB is to make its counterintelligence operations more effective. Modern Russia has an active and multi-vector foreign policy and we are becoming more and more confidently integrated into the world economy. It is important in this respect to prevent leaks of protected political and economic information and ensure reliable protection for promising scientific developments and technology. Russia’s foreign policy positions and its competitiveness on world markets depend to a great extent on this work.
I would like to say a few words about the important matter of strengthening the FSB’s potential, both in terms of human resources and in terms of equipment and financing.
Budget spending on the Federal Security Service increased by 27 percent in 2006, and it will increase by a similar amount in 2007. At the same time, wages within the agency will increase by almost a quarter – more than double the national average. Arms purchases as part of the state defence procurement programme will increase by 20 percent and there will be a more than 73-percent increase in spending on major construction work. I note also that we will pay specific attention to resolving housing problems faced by current and retired security services personnel.
We hope that these measures will make it possible to considerably reinforce and modernise the FSB’s equipment and technical situation. Overall, these measures should provide a big incentive to raising effectiveness and ensuring the professional growth of personnel.
I repeat that the public looks to you for effective protection of the state and society and reliable protection of the rights and freedoms of our country’s citizens.
I am sure that you will make every effort to carry out the tasks before you with dignity.
I wish you success and I thank you for your attention.