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Vladimir Putin congratulated current staff and veterans of the Foreign Intelligence Service on the centenary of illegal intelligence

June 30, 2022, Moscow

The President laid flowers at the Fatherland, Valour Honour monument at the Foreign Intelligence Service headquarters in Moscow and congratulated the Service’s current staff and veterans on the centenary of illegal intelligence.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, veterans,

We have gathered to mark an important date – the centenary of illegal intelligence in our country. Back in 1922, this sphere of work was virtually restored despite all the revolutionary upheavals, ensuring continuity in an area that is vital for our state, national security and sovereignty.

I would like to cordially congratulate all those for whom working in this critical area was their calling and destiny; those who defended our country’s national interests without any diplomatic or other cover for years and decades; and all those who conduct unique operations today, transmitting precious information to the Centre.

Your department has a rich history and glorious traditions. In the 1930s and early 1940s, undercover agents acquired time-sensitive information about the aggression planned by Hitler and his supporters as well as the backstage manoeuvring of Western countries that pushed the Nazis to attack the USSR, to march to the East.

After the start of the Great Patriotic War, undercover agents revealed the enemy’s plans, hastening the Great Victory. During the Cold War, they made an enormous contribution to achieving strategic parity. They provided invaluable assistance in developing domestic industry and science, helped build up the Motherland’s defence capabilities, and added to its international influence and prestige.

The names of Yakov Serebryansky and Naum Etingon, Dmitry Bystrolyotov and Konon Molody, the Vartanians, Alexei Botyan and other fighters of the invisible front are forever in the history of our country, our security services and intelligence. They are an example of professionalism and personal bravery for the current and future generations of intelligence officers.

And these days, work in this area is filled with great responsibility, officers facing extremely tough requirements.

The situation in the world remains difficult and changes rapidly. We have to deal with non-conventional problems and many unknown variables, and respond to challenges in which the factor of uncertainty is high.

In this situation, the Foreign Intelligence Service and other security services prioritise strategic forecasting of international processes. And this analysis must be realistic, objective and based on verified information and a wide range of reliable sources.

One should not indulge in wishful thinking. By the way, the so-called collective West has found itself trapped, has driven itself into this exact trap and in its own actions proceeds from the idea that there is no alternative to its model of liberal globalism. Essentially, this model is just an updated rendition of neocolonialism and nothing else. It is a world the American way, a world for the chosen where everybody else's rights are simply trampled upon.

Clear proof of that is the fate of many countries and peoples in the Middle East and other regions in the world – and millions of people in Ukraine today who are being cynically used by the West as expendable material in its geopolitical games, in its attempts to “deter” Russia. Speaking of which, what does it mean, to deter? To prevent us from developing at the right rate and on our own foundation of traditional values. Is it deterrence? It is just a fight against Russia.

Meanwhile, the West is trying to ignore an inconvenient reality, the forming of a multi-polar world order. Obviously, they cannot fully look away from these objective tendencies. But in their practical policy, they are guided by one goal, which is to maintain their dominance by any means.

The dogmatic attitudes of the past and unwillingness to face up to reality is inevitably increasing the risk of premature, impulsive actions on the part of the West in the future. At the same time, this offers new opportunities to Russia and likeminded countries – as you know, there are quite a few of them. It is true that some of them are not eager to speak out, but they are roughly on the same wavelength with us. There are many likeminded countries, peoples and nations that would like to go their own way based on the principles of true multilateralism.

Of course, we need to conduct a separate discussion on a model and vision of the future and an agenda that will not separate but unite humankind. I believe that it is important to dedicate one of my future public addresses to this subject or possibly choose some other format.

Today I would like to emphasise that multipolarity is, in my opinion, the main thing. I would like to point out that multipolarity, as we understand it, means above all freedom. The freedom of countries and nations and their inherent right to their own way of development and to the preservation of their identity and unique character. In this model of the world there should be no place for diktat, stereotypes or the ideals of exceptionalism enforced by individual countries or blocs.

I would like to repeat that it is important to see the overall picture against the background of ongoing fundamental transformations and to use this to act proactively. A great deal depends, of course, on you, on your work and its quality. I am referring first of all to national security and prompt provision of information about the military and geostrategic plans of certain states and their associations, which pose or can pose a direct threat to our country.

Constant attention must be given to the situation in the global economy and finance. It is important to study the situation and basic trends in the global markets, to work out the possible consequences of the steps and decisions that bear on the interests of Russia and Russian business, as well as our integration and international projects.

As before, one of the priorities of the Foreign Intelligence Service is to provide assistance to the industrial and technological development of our country and to the strengthening of its defence potential. This is always important, but especially so in conditions of the sanctions pressure put on Russia. Incidentally, as all of us know very well, our country always lived under sanctions during the Soviet period and even before it. One way or another, attempts were always made to contain us.

Another key objective on our agenda is the fight against international terrorism. It concerns, in part, information support for the Russian units deployed in Syria, the identification of the routes along which weapons and money are delivered to terrorists and the location of their bases, command posts and training centres.

We must continue to pay attention to the safety of Russian citizens abroad, including on the American continent, in the West in general, and in the Middle East and Africa. I would like to note in this context that over the past few years the Foreign Intelligence Service has seriously enhanced its operational and information and analysis capabilities. Its human resources have increased. I am confident that you will do everything necessary to commendably fulfil all the tasks set to you. Like your legendary predecessors, you will work accurately and effectively and will serve our Fatherland and people honourably.

I would like to congratulate you once again. I wish you and your loved ones all the best, good health and professional achievements.

Thank you.

My congratulations.

Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin: Colleagues,

Receiving this high assessment of the operations of the Foreign Intelligence Service, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary today, is a great honour to us and a sign of special recognition on the part of President of Russia Vladimir Putin. We are especially proud that the President has expressed this view at the Fatherland, Valour, Honour monument at the Service’s headquarters.

The centenary of illegal intelligence is a momentous event for our Service and the other agencies that are guarding the national security of the Russian Federation that has been noted with great interest in Russian society and by our foreign partners. It is a sign of recognition of the effectiveness of this sharp tool of intelligence operations at the Service’s disposal and of Russians’ respect for the heroism of our intelligence personnel who have devoted their lives to serving the Fatherland.

We are fully aware of the growing significance of illegal intelligence amid the military-political crisis in relations with Russia engineered by Washington and NATO countries. The leadership and personnel of Directorate S, our illegal agents, are honourably following in the footsteps of their predecessors, keeping up the high combat standards of the Directorate, and introducing novel forms and methods of intelligence work in the global digital environment and amid the tough counteraction of the enemy.

Comrades, I would like to once again congratulate you on the centenary of Soviet and Russian illegal intelligence. Russians are a nation of victors. We will do whatever it takes to ensure the security and prosperity of our great Fatherland.

I would like to wish you good health, every success and prosperity. Thank you for your service.

June 30, 2022, Moscow