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Presenting officers appointed to senior command positions

November 19, 2013, 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.

Appointed to senior positions were officers from the Defence Ministry, Interior Ministry, Emergency Situations Ministry, Federal Security Service, Foreign Intelligence Service, Federal Drug Control Service, and Investigative Committee.

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrades,

I would like to welcome you to the Kremlin and congratulate you on your appointment to senior military positions and your new titles. You are entrusted with protecting Russia from internal and external threats, maintaining law and order, and guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of our citizens. I hope that your new powers will allow you to work more efficiently, and to successfully meet the challenges of strengthening our country’s defence capability, defence potential, and contribute to its sustainable and stable development.

Guaranteeing our military security remains one of our absolute priorities, together with continuing to modernise our Armed Forces. You know that in recent years we have focused on comprehensively re-equipping troops, improving the quality of personnel training, and raising the social status of servicemen. Thus the total amount allocated for state defence procurement this year, in 2013, amounted to more than 1.3 trillion rubles [about $40 billion]. I would draw your attention to the fact that this is one and a half times more – not simply a percentage of – last year’s amount. I would also note that the number of contract soldiers in the military exceeds 200,000. They make up many submarine crews, as well as parts of the airborne forces, special forces, and marine corps.

Today I would like to reiterate once again that all new developments in organisational structures, in management and troop training systems should be fine-tuned. For this reason we will continue to conduct regular, comprehensive checks of the combat readiness of military districts, strategic forces, and conventional forces. We shall also increase cooperation with our traditional partners and allies, primarily with CSTO, SCO and  CIS member countries.

This year we held the successful Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2013 strategic military exercises. The next step is developing regional force groupings and involving Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. We also plan to strengthen our unified air defence system with Belarus, and begin to establish such regional systems with Armenia and Kazakhstan. Such cooperation significantly increases our defence potential and that of our partners, and contributes to strengthening peace and stability throughout Eurasia.

The activities of our law enforcement agencies, especially those of the Interior Ministry, must reach a qualitatively new level. Your work should be aimed at the rigorous protection of the rights and legitimate interests of our citizens, and ensuring that crimes are inevitably punished. We must respond more harshly to all manifestations of extremism, and widely implement new operational technology to maintain order in public places and on our city streets. And please keep in mind that the business and investment climate in our country, one that is essential for economic development, directly depends on the quality, objectivity and integrity of your work.

Today requirements of a most serious nature are incumbent on drug control authorities. According to experts – and you know this very well yourselves – once the International Security Assistance Force withdraws from Afghanistan, the flow of drugs into Russia from the south may increase. And together with colleagues from other departments, your [Federal Drug Control] Service must be prepared to respond to these threats. You must act more vigorously and systematically with regards to drug prevention and the social rehabilitation of those who suffer from this terrible affliction.

I should also mention the results of the Investigative Committee’s work. This year’s preliminary results show increased rates at which serious and very serious crimes, and those relating to corruption are detected. We must continue to work as energetically in the future.

The Emergency Situations Ministry passed a challenging test this year with flying colours: the flooding in Far Eastern regions was unprecedented, and even in those conditions we were able to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties. I would like to thank rescue workers, State Fire Service employees, Defence Ministry employees, and all those who participated in overcoming these natural disasters for their courage, selflessness and true heroism.

Let me highlight the fight against terrorism as one of the most important tasks of the Federal Security Service. You must continue to pay due attention to the situation in the North Caucasus Federal District. It is here that many terrorist crimes occur. In general, it is necessary to raise the level of operational work and achieve better coordination between law enforcement agencies and special services.

FSB priorities also include counter-intelligence activities, protecting strategic infrastructure and sensitive information. In turn, the FSB Border Guard Service must improve the effectiveness with which the state border is protected, including by optimally apportioning forces and equipment, and concentrating them in the most difficult areas.

Our Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS) plays a special role in improving national security. We need to fully come to grips with the nature and prospects of military and political processes underway in today’s world, and have a clear understanding of what potential threats may influence the situation around our country. For that reason the FIS’s information and analytical materials should continue to inform the most important government decisions, and be used to protect Russia’s interests and those of our citizens.

Comrades, in conclusion I would like to once again congratulate you on this occasion. I am sure you are well aware of the complexity and scale of the problems facing our law enforcement agencies, and also aware that your professionalism, responsibility and integrity are crucial for their successful resolution.

I wish you good health and new results for Russia’s benefit.

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November 19, 2013, The Kremlin, Moscow