President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Officers,
I would like to congratulate you on your new appointments and your new military and special titles.
Strengthening our officer corps has always been and will continue to be a government priority. You are entrusted with ensuring Russia’s security and providing dependable protection for all our citizens. The power you have been given (of which you have a great deal, and will have even more in your new appointments) must first and foremost help you reach new results to address a new level of challenges – the challenges our nation is facing today.
As you know, the number of threats worldwide has remained stable; the nature of the threats themselves is changing, as is their urgency, but unfortunately, the overall situation has remained very similar for decades. This means that our attitudes on organising security should be modern, but they should also take into account both the new, present-day threats, and those that have existed in the past and remain today.
We are building various kinds of contacts with our allies. I feel this is very important in order for us to have friendly borders and for your service and your work to be slightly easier. To do this, we are determined to build our partnerships and allied relations with many states and international institutions, such as the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Both of these organisations are intended to ensure peace, stability, and security to their member-states.
The creation of the CSTO’s Collective Rapid Reaction Forces was a special decision; we hope that it will help to counteract the threats in Central Asia, or at least mitigate many of them.
We are also making various other decisions intended to improve international stability, and contacts are being made at the highest level. I hope that these decisions will be implemented.
As you know, we recently held a long-awaited and complicated Russian-American summit at the highest level. Still, we tried to move forward on the most difficult issues. I can tell you one thing: at the very least, we are talking – we are not insulating ourselves and continuing to follow an agenda of our own, which does not take into account any suggestions from other partners in the international community. In any event, we will continue our dialogue on strategic offensive arms and on the future of the anti-missile defence system that the United States had planned to build in Europe. These talks will continue, and naturally, I will keep you informed about all the decisions we make.
We are also making arrangements to support the fight against terrorism, in particular, by allowing military transit to Afghanistan. This, too, is an important direction, especially given that many of the officers and generals present have first-hand knowledge regarding the number of problems stemming from Afghanistan and Pakistan and the number of militants and drug traffickers that enter the Russian Federation from that region.
We will be improving our defence capacity in accordance with our own decisions and in order to fulfil our international obligations. The Russian National Security Strategy through 2020 and many special decisions prioritise giving the Armed Forces a makeover. We need to improve the level of operational management of troops and provide them with the latest technology. In this regard, the priorities have not changed – rather, there have been changes to our goals, our deadlines, our targets, and our means to achieve those priorities. We have made all decisions pertaining to timelines, so we must follow them without fail.
Clearly, we must also work on fulfilling high-quality government defence orders. Even despite our financial difficulties, the characteristics of government defence orders remain at the same overall level as we had planned earlier.
Social protection for all officers, all contract servicemen, and everyone who serves in the ranks of the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies represents an equally important challenge. We will be dealing with this challenge as diligently as we are currently addressing the issue of service pay increases, and among other measures, we will continue our transition to a new financing system for individuals, as set forth by the order, serving in constantly battle-ready units and equated units. We will work to improve the system of social protection and build housing. This is an absolute priority that cannot change under any circumstances, and this priority will be fulfilled. We have set plans to accomplish all this within a set timetable, and that is what we must do. Even construction needs to be ahead of the timetable.
The key focus in the work by law enforcement agencies should remain on defending citizens’ rights and freedoms, fighting corruption, and ensuring social and economic security. The Ministry of the Interior must be more active in fighting extremism, improving the efficacy of measures aimed at the prevention of juvenile delinquency, and reinforcing neighbourhood police inspector service – in short, it should fulfil all of the Interior Ministry’s traditional duties, and do so thoroughly, in full accordance with the law.
The FSB’s key challenge is the fight against terrorism. As recent events in Ingushetia, Daghestan, and Chechnya have shown, the situation in the North Caucasus remains very complicated, despite the many steps we have taken to mitigate its problems. The FSB faces many challenges stemming from this region.
The National Anti-Terrorism Committee is tasked with improving coordination among law enforcement agencies. Incidentally, the recent Caucasus-2009 military exercises, one of which I took part in, have shown that through coordinated activities, we can greatly improve the effectiveness of measures we take involving the Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies, and the FSB. This is certainly something we need to work on.
Clearly, we need to continue providing counterintelligence in strategic areas – this is still the FSB’s responsibility, as is continuing border development. This is another one of the priorities for which we have budgeted large sums of money, and which has already provided some results.
As before, our government leaders need current data from the Foreign Intelligence Service regarding potential threats, as well as analysis of situations in conflict areas and throughout the world.
The Federal Migration Service is tasked with improving mechanisms for allocating quotas and helping normal migration processes in our country, because such processes are taking place throughout the world, and we, too, are at the centre of human migration. But all of these processes must follow the law, without damaging the interests of our citizens, and opportunities must be created for individuals entering the Russian Federation to obtain jobs and permanent residence.
The Ministry of Emergency Situations is responsible for developing and strengthening the disaster management system. The number of emergencies that the Ministry of Emergency Situations must respond to is not getting lower, since these emergencies often occur independently of human activity. Thus, it is particularly important to be prepared for them.
The Special Facilities Service also has particular fields of expertise. We must fully tap its potential in resolving challenges in defence and certain other areas.
As for the Drug Control Agency, unfortunately, the number of problems in this area is not diminishing, and is in fact growing very rapidly. And of course, the goal of that agency is to work on prevention, and cut off drug-trafficking routes, determining how they are financed, by cooperating with other agencies and corresponding departments in other states. This work is already underway, but it must be done more actively.
Comrades, I would like to congratulate you again on your appointments. This is always a very happy moment, a milestone in the life of any officer. I sincerely congratulate you, and I wish you professional success, and happiness in all areas of your life, including at home.
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I would like to congratulate you one more time, and say that we really must do everything we can to carry out the goals and functions in the government agencies where you work.
I would also like to say that in spite of certain changes in the global situation, you and I understand that problems can occur quite unexpectedly along a complicated, troublesome vector, and we must be ready for them.
Just over a year ago, the infamous events took place in South Ossetia which, frankly, led to a great deal of changes in our nation, and altered the geopolitical situation in the Caucasus. These were difficult, dramatic events, and regardless of what people may say about it, I can tell you that everyone who took part in those events operated very well. I am referring to our officers, some of whom lost their lives there, and those who made critical decisions in managing those operations, helped those operations, and neutralised the related threats.
Why am I bringing this up now? Because time passes very quickly; since then, global events, my meetings with state leaders, and subsequent decisions have all shown that everything we did was done to defend our country, and it was done to defend our state interests, as well as the lives, freedom, and the dignity of a very large number of people living in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. You know, not long ago, I visited South Ossetia for the first time. It is a small, impoverished, and troublesome republic, which chose its path long ago, and which was the victim of boorish aggression. When I met with various people (these were spontaneous encounters on the street, not with leaders, but with ordinary people), their eyes shone with genuine gratitude and tears for the support that we offered during that operation. It is easy to see their point of view. Had we not acted decisively, consistently, and effectively, then many of these people simply would not be alive today.
This goes to show that all of the painful decisions made by Russia were the right ones, and the subsequent course of international events has proven their rectitude.
I would like to once again express my sincere hope that you will be faced with the smallest possible amount of dramatic events and difficult decisions, of the kind that we must all sometimes make. Still, one way or another, it is certain that you will always have individual decisions to make.
I wish the best of luck to you, and happiness to your families.