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Meeting of Federal Security Service Board

February 20, 2020, Moscow

Vladimir Putin took part in an expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Board. The President reviewed the performance of FSB bodies in 2019 and outlined their short-term priorities.

In particular, the President noted a positive trend in the Federal Security Service’s efforts to counteract terrorism: the total number of terrorist criminal acts continues to fall; in 2019, 57 such crimes were prevented, including 34 terrorist acts.

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, comrades.

Reliable protection of Russia and our citizens from internal and external threats has always been and remains a national priority.

We have come together for a traditional expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service Board to review your performance in these crucial areas and discuss the main goals for the short term.

First of all, I would like to say that the past year was challenging and far from simple for the service and all of you. However, the FSB staff and their colleagues from other agencies dealt with serious national security challenges and risks promptly and professionally.

I would like to thank all of you, as well as the staff of the FSB central office, territorial departments and special units for your good service, competent actions, courage and resolve.

The fight against terrorism remains one of the FSB priorities. You may remember that last time we spoke in detail about the results achieved in this vital sphere and the trends of the past 10 years. It is notable that we maintained the positive dynamic, this trend in the period under review.

The total number of terrorist crimes decreased from nine in 2018 to four in 2019. You also successfully prevented 57 such crimes, compared to 36 in 2018, including 34 terrorist attacks.

All of us know what terrorist attacks are, and we are aware of the potential consequences had you not prevented them.

There have been positive changes in many areas, including in exposing and eliminating sleeping terrorist cells, and intercepting funding channels and weapon supplies for terrorist groups.

I would like to particularly note our cooperation with our foreign colleagues. Thanks to the timely information received from the FBI, two ISIS supporters who were plotting bloody terrorist attacks during the New Year holidays were detained in St Petersburg on December 27.

Certainly, we appreciate our partners’ support and professional solidarity in the fight against our common threat. We will definitely respond in kind.

The Federal Security Service’s International Counter-Terrorist Database is becoming increasingly in demand. Last year, seven more security services from foreign countries and one specialised body within an international organisation joined the database while the number of inquiries, mainly from foreign partners, grew by 160 percent (roughly from 10,000 to 26,000). This level of data exchange significantly boosts the efficiency of global counterterrorism efforts.

I would like to ask you to continue stepping up the proactive and assertive fight against terrorism, with the National Anti-Terrorist Committee playing a constructive and coordinating role. I instruct you to ensure the highest level of protection during large-scale international events to be held in Russia, primarily, the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

The counter-extremism system must become more flexible and up-to-date. In this work, it is important to rely on society’s support and trust. I expect prompt measures from you with regard to preventing any calls for aggression and violence. Any manifestations of nationalism and religious hostility must be suppressed.

We need to work with people of all generations, including, of course, young people, and cooperate with public organisations. The media must be persistent in shaping an environment that does not tolerate any kind of radicalism in any form.

It is important to clearly realise the destructive danger of radicalism for Russia’s statehood and stable development.

Our counterintelligence staff accomplished a great deal last year. Statistics show that foreign intelligence services have not slackened their activities in Russia, and you must act confidently and efficiently, just as you did in the past, paying special attention to the protection of information about our latest weapons and equipment, forward-looking defence and industrial technology, as well as innovative projects that are enhancing Russia’s competitive edge.

Protecting the economic security of the country and combatting corruption remains one of your top priorities.

Even more resolute action must be taken to purge our strategic industries of crime and to make use of the positive experience in exposing criminal schemes in such sectors as finance, tax, fuel and energy, as well as defence.

At the same time, I would like to say once again that you must strictly respect the rights of citizens and economic operators. If you learn that the rights of businesspeople have been violated by regulatory and supervisory bodies, you must react to this information not in a perfunctory manner but quickly and efficiently.

The fight against corruption must gather momentum; you should wage it together with your colleagues from the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Interior Ministry, the Accounts Chamber, the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring and other bodies, as well as rely on support from society and individual citizens.

This must be done with regard to our national projects. Colleagues, I ask you to give special attention to this.

I have said this before, but I would like to repeat that we have earmarked huge resources to achieving our national development goal, which must be a results-based job. Much depends on you in this regard.

We need to strictly monitor the movement of these huge funds. At the same time, I would like to remind you that this must not hinder the work of the government and economic agencies concerned.

In the past few years, we have seen a rise in the number of information security threats. We conducted a detailed discussion about the increasingly frequent and well-coordinated cyberattacks at the 2019 board meeting.

Today, a number of countries have already established special centres for conducting such action, and they are drafting strategies for the preventive use of cyber-systems. It goes without saying that, considering the rapid development of digital technologies, such information-warfare weapons will become more powerful.

Instead of merely considering this, we need to implement preventive measures to protect Russia’s interests.

We should focus on shielding the computer systems of state-power agencies, state electronic services, operators of communications systems, banking organisations and our major companies, expanding the capabilities of the State System for Detecting, Preventing Computer Attacks and Eliminating Their Consequences.

In addition, we need to guarantee security during the development of fifth-generation communications technologies and the satellite communications systems within our remit.

And, of course, it is important to strengthen Russia’s reputation as a reliable international partner in the area of information security, primarily by expanding cooperation with other countries and organisations.

I hope that the National Coordinating Centre for Computer Incidents that was established in 2018 will make a noticeable contribution to this work.

I would like to dwell separately on the tasks of the Federal Security Service’s Border Service. In late 2019, border sectors with upgraded infrastructure accounted for almost 70 percent of the entire length of the state border, the technical equipment levels of border control divisions reached 80 percent, and their share of modern weapons increased to more than 63 percent.

Certainly, these are good results. I would like to recall that this indicator was just ten percent in 2003.

We should continue to expand our efforts to improve and reequip the border infrastructure, more actively introduce automated passport control systems that considerably boost the efficiency of border control divisions and make border control formalities more convenient and less burdensome for law-abiding citizens and our foreign guests.


In conclusion, I would like to once again thank you all for conscientiously accomplishing your tasks.

I am confident that you will continue to act professionally, efficiently and reliably.

Thank you.

February 20, 2020, Moscow