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Meeting of the Interior Ministry Board

February 26, 2020, Moscow

Vladimir Putin took part in the annual expanded meeting of the Interior Ministry Board.

The meeting participants focused on the performance of law enforcement agencies in 2019 and various priorities of investigative activities for 2020.

The meeting was attended by heads of legislative, executive and judicial bodies.

Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev delivered the main report.

* * *

Beginning of expanded meeting of the Interior Ministry Board

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,

Let me begin with a few obvious things; there is no harm in repeating them. We can never forget that the Interior Ministry traditionally holds the key position in Russia’s law enforcement system, has direct responsibility for public order and stands on the frontline of the fight against crime.

Today, at the annual expanded meeting of the Interior Ministry Board, we will discuss how you addressed your tasks, what problems we have and, of course, outline the main priorities for the near future.

Assessing your performance in 2019, I will note the high clearance rate of the most dangerous crimes such as murders, wilful infliction of grievous bodily harm, robbery-related assaults and others.

Juvenile crime and street crime has decreased. These changes are important for people. You are directly responsible for making people feel safe and protected in their courtyard, in the entrance hall, in their village or city.

The positive local trends in the regions include a crime drop in the Siberian and Far Eastern federal districts, which has been the case for the fourth consecutive year.

In the meantime, this year it is important to considerably step up our efforts in a number of areas and, before anything else, increase the overall clearance rate.

I would like to stress once again that it is one of the main goals for the Ministry. Achieving this goal requires commitment from criminal units, investigators and all other departments.

Additional measures must be taken with regard to work at the pre-trial stage of criminal proceedings, with a specific focus on ensuring due process by inquiry and preliminary investigation bodies.

I request that any incidents of arbitrary conduct, evidence tampering, direct forgery – which are felonies per se – receive an extremely tough response. Such activity must be prevented, and officers who go beyond the law must be dismissed without hesitation.

The requirements concerning a reasonable term of criminal proceedings must be strictly observed. When dealing with these issues of high relevance for society, it is important to closely cooperate with prosecutors and other colleagues.

Next. Preventing delinquency, especially among minors, is a considerable and substantial segment of your work. Despite the decrease in juvenile crime over the previous period, which I have already mentioned, it is important to intensify these efforts and engage public and religious organisations in work with troubled youth and high-risk groups.

Cyberspace must remain a focus of your constant attention as this is where various radical groups continue to operate, propagating the criminal subculture and encouraging teenagers to commit suicide or break the law.

Once again, the work to expose such groups must never stop, and the organisers and instigators of their activity must receive a well-deserved punishment. I would like to ask you to be scrupulous about the comprehensive safety and security of children’s and educational facilities, including kindergartens, schools, vocational schools, and so on.

Countering extremism remains an urgent task for the Interior Ministry. Yes, last year the number of extremist crimes decreased by more than half. However, this is not a reason for complacency.

The Interior Ministry has a special responsibility to maintain stability in society. And of course, ensuring security in public places requires the most serious attention. Especially during large-scale events to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

I spoke about this at a recent Federal Security Service Board meeting. And I repeat: this is a task for all our special services and law enforcement agencies.

Colleagues, I would like to comment separately on a number of important areas of your work.

The first one is road safety.

Over the past eight years, road traffic deaths have declined by more than one-third, and this is certainly thanks to the traffic police.

But I would like to pay attention to the following. I looked through some reports before the Board meeting: almost 90 percent of those killed in road accidents were citizens aged 18 to 50. That’s too bad that people die from accidents at this age. Therefore, work should continue in this direction.

I ask you to fully use your rights as a coordinator in this area, including rights related to infrastructure development, the introduction of new requirements here, and to more actively and meaningfully participate in the implementation of the national project Safe and High-Quality Roads.

It is necessary to make wider use of modern technical means of control and automated systems and more closely monitor the quality of driver training in driving schools, the provision of emergency medical care and the evacuation of victims from road accident sites.

Particular attention must be paid to passenger transport compliance. Yes, last year there were some slight positive changes in bus transport, but at the same time the number of accidents involving taxi drivers has almost doubled.

The number of people killed has increased by more than a third, and the number of injured has risen 1.5 times. I am asking you and your colleagues from the Transport Ministry and other agencies to focus on this and come up with effective solutions.

Next: further de-criminalisation of the economy and the fight against corruption as well as protection of budget money and other resources we allocate for our country’s development from embezzlement and other criminal intrusions.

Work carried out to prevent the production and sale of fake alcohol, counterfeit and low-quality medicines and other goods from the risk group that can harm and threaten people’s lives requires a more systematic approach.

I am also asking you to work hard to detect crime in environmental management, such as illegal logging and extraction of water biological resources.

Here I would like to draw attention to the fact that there are still a lot of complaints from entrepreneurs about pressure from law enforcement agencies as well as illegal and unjustified actions, including from Interior Ministry officers.

Economic security is not about treating every entrepreneur as a potential criminal, but about protecting our Russian businesses and law-abiding people who create new jobs and work themselves.

Such work in the sphere of economic security must serve as the most important element in creating an attractive, comfortable and civilised business climate in Russia.

The third sphere is migration and citizenship status. You know that measures have been taken to simplify the process of obtaining Russian citizenship for Donbass residents, as well as to facilitate the resettlement and citizenship procedures for compatriots.

We must continue to improve our legislation and, more importantly, law enforcement practice in this area. I ask you to show consideration for each individual case, show sympathy and compassion, and in general treat in a humane manner those who want a future in Russia.

At the same time, we must securely block illegal migration. In this work and in our efforts to control the labour market, we must above all take into account the interests of our citizens, people of the Russian Federation.

Next, we must fight drug trafficking. It is a crucial part of our work. We must be more flexible yet resolute, acting toughly but also strictly within the framework of the law.

Please note that the Interior Ministry must work together with the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) to prevent access to websites and social media accounts that encourage drug abuse.

In addition, I would like to ask the State Duma and the Government to resume a detailed analysis of the legislative initiative on criminal responsibility for online promotion of drug abuse.

The State Duma has returned this draft law for revision. We must do this.

Comrade officers,

Last year we adjusted the remuneration of the Interior Ministry staff and pensions for inflation. The state will continue to give appropriate attention to social support and the provision of resources to the Interior Ministry.

In general, I hope that the Interior Ministry personnel will work even more efficiently in all these areas.

And, of course, I would like to thank the senior executives and personnel of the Interior Ministry bodies for their service. True, there is still much to do. There are unresolved problems, which I mentioned, but overall the Ministry is working smoothly.

Thank you very much.

February 26, 2020, Moscow