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Meeting with heads of security agencies of CIS countries

October 13, 2021, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin met, via videoconference, with delegation leaders at the 17th Meeting of Heads of Security Agencies and Intelligence Services from Member-countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The meeting was attended by Chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan Orkhan Sultanov, Chief of the State Security Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ali Nagiyev, Director of the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia Armen Abyazyan, Chairman of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus Ivan Tertel, Chairman of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan Karim Masimov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for National Security of the Kyrgyz Republic Rustam Mamasadykov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation Sergei Naryshkin, Chairman of the State Committee for National Security of the Republic of Tajikistan Saimumin Yatimov and Deputy Minister of National Security of the Republic of Turkmenistan Guvanch Ovezov.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, meeting participants.

I welcome all of you, heads of security and intelligence services of CIS countries, to the capital of Russia.

The practice of regular meetings in this format has proved its relevance. This time, during the meeting you will discuss in detail the situation in the region and the world, identify the range of internal and external challenges for our countries and the entire Commonwealth, and determine ways of neutralising potential threats.

This year, the CIS turns 30. Throughout this period, our organisation inevitably faced difficult trials in a rapidly changing world. Against the background of many factors that have contributed to uncertainty, it sought to operate according to the principles of equality and mutual consideration of interests. In the number of members, it remains the largest regional association in the post-Soviet space. I would like to emphasise that it serves as an authoritative and at times irreplaceable venue for our countries to engage in constructive dialogue and cooperation on many fronts.

The nations of the Commonwealth are linked by a common past, centuries-long experience of friendship and productive cooperation, and millions of intertwined human destinies. We in Russia cherish and take pride in this heritage. We understand that by joining efforts and capacities today, in the 21st century the CIS countries are better positioned to achieve its most ambitious goals, acting as partners and allies and working together towards a successful and prosperous future for all of us.

Notably, over the past decades, the CIS security and intelligence services have invariably strived to closely coordinate their activities to ensure the security of the state and society and to protect citizens’ rights and freedoms, and have achieved significant progress on this path.

Today, your main shared goal continues to be safeguarding the stability, sovereignty and peaceful development of our countries and facilitating the multidimensional integration processes within the CIS.

As before, it is important for your agencies to closely monitor the situation and any challenges or risks, to comprehensively analyse and forecast their impact on security in our common region, to understand the implications they may have for the international, political, economic and cultural spheres, and to respond accordingly.

Over the past years, we have seen that the close partnership of your agencies has noticeably strengthened security in the Commonwealth and helped to more effectively combat common threats, which include international terrorism, extremism, arms and drug trafficking, transnational crime and illegal migration.

However, we must move forward and promote interaction across all key areas.

Neutralising potential threats emanating from Afghanistan is of particular importance for CIS security. We are well aware of the fact that developments in that country may have a strong impact on the state of affairs in Central Asia, the South Caucasus and other regions.

These issues were discussed in detail at the CSTO and the SCO summits in September. We will, of course, review these issues during the upcoming CIS summit as well.

The situation in Afghanistan is quite challenging, as you know. After the withdrawal of US troops, power passed into the hands of the Taliban, who are setting their own rules and regulations. However, a number of ISIS-associated international terrorist groups continue to operate in that country. Militants with experience in waging war in Syria and Iraq are being drawn there. So, it is possible that terrorists might try to destabilise the situation in neighbouring countries, including the CIS countries, and go as far as starting to expand outrightly.

In this regard, it is important to constantly monitor the situation on the Afghan border and to be ready to counteract the militants. To do so, it is important to coordinate the work of security agencies and, if necessary, conduct joint special operations, all the more so as you have a successful track record of working in this area, including as part of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Centre.

One of your priorities is to ensure the information security of the Commonwealth countries. The information space and the global web have been rapidly developing in recent years, creating new opportunities for business, education and communication. However, at the same time information technology is increasingly often used for crime – from economic scheming and drug trafficking, to extremist propaganda and terrorist recruiting. All these illegal criminal activities certainly require the special attention of your services.

I would like to note that integration processes are moving forward in the Commonwealth space. Trade, investment, financial and transportation flows are growing in scale and intensity. We have to understand that this productive work – using our competitive advantages and combining our capacities to meet common challenges – is meeting with a mixed response, sometimes a desire to interfere and trip us up.

This is why your services must continue to help protect the economic interests of the CIS states, working together to make the CIS more competitive, to promote dynamic development and uphold the lawful interests of our entrepreneurs and companies.

It is also important to further develop information exchange, including analysis and forecasting, upgrade the methods and forms of cooperation and make them more up-to-date and efficient.

Of course, the CIS states should continue to jointly train personnel and to regularly upgrade the qualifications of security and intelligence professionals. You have quite a bit of experience with this work and you should make better use of it. It is important not to forget that the future of your services depends on having promising, talented specialists.

Colleagues, meeting participants,

I am confident that this meeting and, most importantly, the continuous joint efforts of our services will help us address the key tasks of CIS security and stability and promote the peaceful development and prosperity of our countries and peoples.

I wish you success in your service and all the best.

Thank you for your attention. As we agreed, Mr Naryshkin will now take the floor. Go ahead, please.

Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin: On behalf of all my colleagues, heads of intelligence and special services of the CIS countries, I would like to thank you for this meeting, as well as the support and understanding that our community has been enjoying from you in addressing the objectives our services pursue: identifying and preventing all kinds of external threats to our states and citizens and permanently keeping a close eye on developments in various regions of the world, primarily in the so-called instability zones.

I would like to report to you that today we held the 17th regular meeting of the heads of security and intelligence services of our countries. My colleagues and I had quite a detailed conversation, and tomorrow we will continue to discuss topical matters related to our cooperation in the context of new, hybrid threats our countries face, as we know, from a group of Western states. What causes these threats is primarily the fact that the United States and its allies persist in their attempts to export, may I say, their Western values, or totalitarian-liberal values, as I call them, in order to influence our countries into changing our domestic and foreign policy. Of course, we have accumulated a vast amount of evidence showing that the United States coordinates these destructive efforts.

At the same time, in the wake of all the dramatic developments in Afghanistan, we do understand that the rejection of force by the United States in its efforts to promote democracy is merely a response to the defeat the United States and its Western coalition suffered in Afghanistan.

Of course, we do understand that the rapid pull-out was a heavy blow to the reputation of Washington as the leader of the liberal world. The United States will hardly mask the destructive ramifications of this step on its reputation by holding the Summit for Democracy, scheduled for the end of this year. In the eyes of the Americans, the White House, this initiative is designed to convince the international community that the United States is strong and ready to lead the entire world.

According to reports received by our special services from various channels, while still recovering from the defeat and the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, which caused Washington serious political and moral damage, the US is not only working on but implementing other destructive plans. This includes efforts to expand American presence in Central Asia, the recent military and political alliance between Great Britain, Australia and the United States, as well as plans nurtured by Washington and its allies to incite instability ahead of elections at various levels to be held in our countries in the coming years.

Of course, we could not turn a blind eye to the Afghan context. We do understand the growing threat to all CIS countries that emanates from Afghanistan, which includes terrorism, migration and drug trafficking. This threat is particularly apparent in Central Asian countries.


Vladimir Putin: I would like to address my colleagues and remind them once again that all the matters, in which you are involved professionally, are constantly in the limelight at the governmental level, at the level of heads of state. They are constantly within our field of vision, particularly, of course, in connection with the latest developments in Afghanistan. I have already mentioned this in my opening remarks, and our colleagues from Tajikistan and Kazakhstan have just said as much. This is certainly a matter of great concern for us. It goes without saying that this is our common security space, we have transparent borders, and we are not indifferent to what is happening in our countries and the CIS. This is why we will constantly focus on this at the top governmental level as well.

You are aware that the defence ministries are also engaged in cooperation, both informational and in terms of arms and equipment deliveries and personnel training. But this work cannot be effective unless you provide information support and secret service assistance. A lot depends on your efforts to ensure the security of our countries and peoples.

I assure you that all of us are expecting an efficient performance from you. We are relying on you and your personnel. I would like to thank you for coming to Moscow and for the fact that you are pooling your efforts. It is only along this path, by merging our potentials, that we can achieve the results we all need.

Thank you very much once again. I wish you productive work both tonight and during the day tomorrow. Please convey my best wishes and regards to the heads of state and government of your countries.

Thank you very much.

October 13, 2021, The Kremlin, Moscow