Meeting with officers appointed to senior command positions 2012-12-28 16:00:00 The Kremlin, Moscow Officers appointed to senior command positions were presented and had their senior military (special) titles conferred at a ceremony held in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St George Hall. * * * President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, I am glad to welcome you to the Kremlin and congratulate you on the conferral of your new titles and your appointment to senior military positions. You have earned them through your strenuous efforts, your talented leadership and your prestige among the servicemen. I count on your new status and powers to help you increase your professional output, allowing you achieve even greater results in protecting the law and public order, ensuring the rights and freedoms of our citizens, and strengthening our nation’s defence. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation unquestionably guarantee our national sovereignty. Their sweeping, radical renovation is the long-overdue, necessary response to modern challenges. Nobody should have any doubt that the army and navy will be qualitatively reinforced. Our unprecedented armament programme will be entirely fulfilled. Russia must ensure that its Armed Forces are effective and battle-ready, prepared to rebuff any threat and any aggression, to defend the interests of our country and our allies, to guarantee global balance of power. Let me stress that the success of these changes is directly dependent on how they are accepted by the army, the officer corps. In order to improve the army, we are to love it and to value its traditions. For our part, each of us must always remember what duty, honour, and personal integrity mean to a Russian officer. To strengthen the historical continuity in the Armed Forces, we will revive the names of celebrated legendary units and divisions of the Russian and Soviet army. I instruct the Defence Minister to submit specific suggestions on this matter in the upcoming year. And, of course, we must give crucial attention to large-scale supply of armaments. This year’s new additions to our arsenal included the Yars strategic missile complexes, and several regiments and batteries of modern missile defence systems: the S-400, Tor-M2U, and Pantsir-S. At the beginning of next year, a new radar station will be assigned in Armavir to monitor air and space in the southern areas. Two motorised infantry brigades have been fully equipped with modern armour: T-27BM tanks, BMP-2M armoured vehicles and BTR-82 armoured personnel carriers. We have completed the re-equipment of three aircraft squadrons and eight helicopter squadrons. The Armed Forces motor fleet received 3,600 new multipurpose vehicles. Next year, we will begin testing the newest T-50 fighter aircraft and will commission the first nuclear submarine of the Yury Dolgoruky project, as well as the Severodvinsk nuclear submarine. The troops are undergoing strenuous combat training. I would like to give a high assessment to all the personnel participating in the trainings and exercises, including the Kavkaz 2012 strategic military exercises. It is important to increase our cooperation with allies, first and foremost CSTO countries. That is precisely the challenge that will be resolved within the framework of the planned Zapad 2013 Russian-Belarusian strategic exercises. Let me point out that we must soon achieve an optimal structure for our defence spending. No more than 30 percent of the defence budget should be spent on maintaining the Armed Forces, while approximately 70 percent should go to their equipment and development. The task is not simple. We have been talking about it for many years now, moving gradually toward this, but it must be resolved. And the new Defence Minister, the new Ministry officials, must assure the effective use of the resources received from the state. Priority areas in the work of the law enforcement agencies and special services, as before, is the reliable protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation, countering terrorism, extremism, crime and corruption. Just recently at a gala evening honouring Security Agency Worker’s Day, we noted the Federal Security Service’s successes in fighting these threats. We should continue acting systemically and aggressively, including in such areas as conducting counterintelligence, protecting strategic infrastructure, fighting economic crimes, cybercrime, and improving our efficacy in the operational cover of the most complex areas of our state borders. Recently, there has been a noticeable increase in the operative and analytical potential of the Foreign Intelligence Service. It is important to use it as much as possible both to analyse current threats and to make long-term forecasts on global developments. In the years to come, we will continue the process of reforming the Ministry of the Interior. Our goal is to build a modern and effective system of internal affairs agencies. This year, the Ministry of the Interior’s budget was increased almost two-fold. The police force’s new capabilities should assure their ability to effectively fight crime, extremism and corruption, and improve the results of the work of local branches, were people turn most often for help. As always, Russian Ministry of the Interior forces operated swiftly and courageously. I want to particularly note their important, high-impact role in conducting counterterrorism operations in the North Caucasus region. I will use this opportunity to congratulate Emergencies Ministry staff on their professional holiday, which was celebrated yesterday. It is largely thanks to your efforts this year that the number of fires was decreased, new rescue technologies were actively implemented, and technical equipment for rapid reaction subdivisions was improved. At the same time, the tragedy in Krymsk demonstrated our need to improve the efficacy of systems to alert citizens about natural disasters, taking an integrated approach to issues of assuring safety. There are high demands for the Special Facilities Service: they must assure that state governance agencies continue to function steadily in emergency situations. Federal Drug Control Service, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in March 2013, also faces serious challenges. These include neutralising drug trafficking and working actively to prevent addiction among youth. Comrade officers, I am confident that you will fully prove yourselves in your new posts, doing everything necessary to resolve the challenges standing before you. I would like to wish you success for the good of our Fatherland and congratulate you on the upcoming New Year. I wish you and your families all the very best!