President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Officers, generals, and admirals,
I am happy to congratulate you on your appointments to new senior positions and on conferment of your senior and special military ranks. You are assuming your duties at a fairly dynamic time – a time when the Armed Forces are being modernised and a time of serious change within the law enforcement agencies of our nation.
Our key goal is to build a modern, effective, efficient army and a well-functioning law enforcement system. I am counting on you to be active participants in all of these processes and changes, and to achieve measurable results and success in serving your homeland and the people of our nation.
Our nation has all the necessary opportunities to create exactly this kind of Armed Forces and law enforcement system. Still, it must have all the modern instruments that will guarantee its sovereignty and national security – instruments that can help maintain international security and a strategic balance in the world.
You know well that a lot has been done recently to strengthen the Armed Forces. We have initiated a series of purchases of high tech weapons for high alert units, we are strengthening our strategic nuclear deterrent force, and we are creating an integrated aerospace defence system. Russia is regaining its status of a full-fledged maritime power. And recent events made it clear that we have correctly indentified and formulated the key tasks of giving our Armed Forces new features.
One of the main measures of effectiveness of any state is its ability to ensure security for its citizens. All of Russia’s security agencies face challenges in countering one of the most dangerous threats in modern times: terrorism. This involves particular approaches and plans, which we discussed at the recent expanded board meetings of the FSB and the Interior Ministry. Nevertheless, the situation in the North Caucasus remains complicated – I also spoke about this during my Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly last year – which means that staff at the FSB, the Interior Ministry, and other special agencies will be facing increased demands. We must continue our anti-terrorist activities in all of these areas.
The internal affairs agencies have been allotted a serious task of protecting the rights and lawful interests of our citizens. Today, the Interior Ministry is undergoing major reforms in all areas of its activity; measures are being taken to optimise the Ministry’s staff and structure and organize its functions. Naturally, all this must be done without losing any efficiency of the Ministry’s performance in the key areas of its activity, without compromising the agency’s efficiency but rather improving it. We must work really hard to detect crimes, bring order and improve safety on the roads, fight corruption with an iron fist, including inside the system, and counter criminal pressure on business. Naturally, we must also work to prevent crimes from occurring.
The Government has been instructed to approve the concept of our correctional system development until 2020; the key goal of this concept is to create a modern penal correction system, improve detention conditions for suspects and defendants and bring all criminal legislation in line with international standards. Our society expects the Federal Penitentiary Service to take effective measures for rehabilitation and subsequent social adaptation of convicts. Furthermore, we need to make greater use of punishments alternative to imprisonment.
The Federal Intelligence Service faces some very important tasks. Its analytical and operational work is a factor that significantly influences the process of making key domestic and foreign policy decisions. Foreign intelligence agencies must constantly be aware of new trends emerging around the world and keep track of the complicated processes occurring internationally.
The Federal Drug Control Service must really focus on detecting drug trafficking routes, especially at Russia’s southern borders, and curbing drug-related activities by criminal gangs. At the same time, it must work unremittingly to prevent drug use, particularly among young people. Its staff must work in collaboration with colleagues from other agencies engaged in similar tasks to create an effective national system for monitoring these processes. The Federal Protection Service also plays an important role in the functioning of the higher bodies of state power. This service must do everything to carry out its work well and effectively.
Also present today are representatives from Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, which constantly and repeatedly confirms its high level of professionalism. Well-coordinated and efficient work by its rescuers was especially necessary in the aftermath of the accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydroelectric Station and during tragic events in cities throughout our nation. In addition, they are in frequent demand abroad, as our rescuers are highly regarded in other countries.
Colleagues, we will soon be celebrating a very important event in our nation’s history: the 65th anniversary of our Victory in the Great Patriotic War. 65 years ago, our grandfathers and our fathers saved our nation and the entire world from the threat of Fascism, and our nation knows no greater honour than a ‘Soldier of Victory.’ The heroic military feats and moral examples of that victorious generation remain extremely important for the patriotic education of today’s young people.
I am certain that we have all the opportunities we need to make the service in our Army, Navy, and security agencies something to be proud of, so that our people strive to take on this work, to love it, and to fulfil all of their duties with honour.
I would like to once again congratulate you on your new posts and ranks. I wish all of you success and good health!
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We do not often hold events of this kind in this hall, a place that is special for every person and every citizen in our nation. These events are infrequent, that’s why they always remain in people’s memories. First and foremost, they are memorable to those who receive a new military or special rank, or those appointed to a new post. But that is not the only purpose of these undertakings. Their purpose is for all of us to clearly understand the tasks that stand before each and every one of senior officers present here today, and the challenges that must be addressed by your agencies. I already spoke about this, but I want to just add one important consideration.
In recent years, in spite of our current economic problems, we have made a major, positive step forward. This does not mean that we have resolved all our problems – we still have a great deal of them, and every senior officer present here can name a significant number of troubles faced by his or her agency. But we recognise that our nation’s Armed Forces, law enforcement agencies, and special services are nevertheless better off and have greater opportunities than they did just a few years ago. Now, what can we do next? We must do more than simply maintain our recent achievements; we must also significantly improve our work.
I know that each of you has support from a large number of staff. I would like you to convey to them my wishes for success in their service as the head of state and Commander-in-Chief. We will certainly continue our policy – formulated some time ago – to support our Armed Forces, law enforcement and security agencies, because without their effective work, we cannot have an effective government, we cannot guarantee sovereignty, and therefore, we cannot ensure the security of our nation. We will continue not only to improve our professional opportunities, but to resolve social problems as well. This is extremely important for our servicemen, as well as every law enforcement or special service officer, because everyone here has their own families, and all of your subordinates have their own families, and all of them follow closely on the decisions that we are making.
It is true that we were recently able to make headway one of our more difficult problems – the problem of providing housing to servicemen – since this was one of the oldest and most complicated problems that we inherited. I would like you all to know that we will continue working in this area both in regard to our Armed Forces and our law enforcement agencies and special services. Everyone who is serving their homeland should have decent living conditions – normal conditions that correspond to those provided by the world’s leading nations. After all, Russia is a leading nation, even in spite of the fact that we are currently resolving difficult challenges in modernising our economy and creating a modern society.
I would like to once again sincerely congratulate you on this day. This truly is a special day for everyone here. I congratulate you, your families, and your loved ones, and I wish you all success in your service!