President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Comrades, colleagues,
Today we are meeting in the new headquarters of the Kabardino-Balkarian branch of the Federal Security Service. It is a positive thing to see that we are building these kinds of modern new facilities, because having well-prepared law enforcement and security agencies is vital for ensuring peace and calm in the Caucasus. Good preparation means not just professional training but also having the right equipment and facilities. There was a period when we built hardly any new facilities, when our border guard infrastructure deteriorated, and our material base ended up in a lamentable state. Now we are repairing this damage. This is very good to see because it raises the prestige of your work and, most important, serves as a clear signal that the state is maintaining a visible presence in all parts of the country. The North Caucasus, of course, is no exception in this respect. On the contrary, it needs to be the rule, not the exception, and this is why we are putting the possibilities we have objectively at our disposal today into this region.
We will discuss in brief the current situation in the republic and in the region as a whole. It remains rather complicated. I will not repeat the obvious. I already gave a detailed analysis of the situation in my Presidential Address [to the Federal Assembly] and in a number of other addresses, including at the recent meeting of the Federal Security Service Board. The situation in the Caucasus remains a matter of serious concern for the authorities. As I have said on numerous occasions, social and economic development of the regions that make up the North Caucasus Federal District is the key to solving these problems. This was something we discussed at the meeting on social and economic issues, but I want to say a few more words about it again here.
The main problems are all well known. Unfortunately, we still face the problems of radicalism, extremism, and armed underground networks that have spread like a cancer across the North Caucasus and, despite our efforts, still exist in hotbeds here and there. These breeding grounds need to be suppressed. This is the first point.
Second, and no less of a problem in the region, is corruption. Kabardino-Balkaria, like the other Caucasus republics, also has problems with all of the corruption that has built up. I hope that the republic’s leadership, together with the heads of the law enforcement agencies – the FSB, the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor’s Office – along with the important word the courts have to say on this matter, will fight this problem that has become such a scourge for our country. Corruption in the Caucasus has deep roots, unfortunately, and simply waving one’s sabre is not enough here. There needs to be a system of support and incentives for people in the law enforcement agencies, bodies of state power, and organisations disbursing budget funds to incite them to abide by the law. At the same time, this system should also be based on unwavering enforcement of the state’s power to punish when the law is broken, and on use of the law enforcement instruments at your disposal.
I have taken a number of decisions recently to put the law enforcement agency system in order and create incentives for normal work. These efforts will continue, including here in the North Caucasus. We will have to part with those incapable of working effectively, even though in some cases they may have past services to their names. But we all need to learn how to work in new conditions, work in a situation where we need to address the conflict potential that exists in each of the North Caucasus republics, while at the same time building on and making use of the growth potential that also exists here. The law enforcement agencies need to contribute to these efforts, helping the leadership of each of the republics in the North Caucasus Federal District, as well as Stavropol Territory.