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Terrorism remains the main threat to Russia's security

January 25, 2011, Moscow

Dmitry Medvedev held an expanded meeting of the board of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: An atrocious crime was committed at Domodedovo Airport yesterday. According to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, it was a terrorist attack. Dozens of people were killed, over a hundred more injured. I ask you to observe a moment of silence to honour the victims.

[a moment of silence]

Yesterday I issued instructions to the Government, the investigative authorities and the Prosecutor General to conduct an urgent investigation and to identify the perpetrators and organisers of this monstrous crime.

On my orders special security measures were introduced yesterday at all airports and other major transportation hubs. The Healthcare and Social Development Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry are rendering assistance to all those affected, together with the Moscow and Moscow Region authorities.

Our society and our state have been issued a brutal challenge. I think this is perfectly clear to everyone present here. It is equally obvious that everything must be done to identify, expose and prosecute the criminals who committed this crime, and the hideaways of these bandits, whatever they are called, must be destroyed. As usual in such situations, should they offer any resistance they must be eliminated on the spot.

”Terrorism remains a major threat to the security of our country, the main threat for Russia, for all our citizens.“

The FSB and law enforcement agencies have sufficient experience of such operations. We must take action.

Here, within the walls of the Federal Security Service, I would like to emphasise once again: terrorism remains a major threat to the security of our country, the main threat for Russia, for all our citizens. In 2010, the number of terrorist attacks increased. That must be the most serious signal for the FSB, the National Anti-Terrorist Committee and other law enforcement agencies.

Like other law enforcement agencies, you must use all available means and all the best forces to fight this evil successfully and efficiently, to fight against those who commit crimes, and to implement preventive measures against crime. Efforts must be activated on all fronts, ranging from special operations to neutralise criminals and undermine their financial and social base to identifying their supporters. Let me remind you that under the criminal law these supporters bear equal responsibility with those who perpetrate crimes, there is no difference. Your actions against them must also be the same.

FSB leadership must identify the Service’s officials who are to be held accountable. I ask the FSB Director to submit relevant proposals.

In addition, I have instructed the Prosecutor General's Office to launch an immediate check on the enforcement of transport security legislation in order to strengthen security at such facilities. We must admit outright that these facilities are poorly protected. They are vulnerable throughout the world, but unfortunately, even more so in our country.

I would like to focus in particular on the liability of Domodedovo Airport management, the liability of the Interior Ministry and certain other agencies. It is obvious that there are systemic failures in ensuring people’s safety and in managing this transportation hub. Suffice it to recall the recent events, which took place just before the New Year, and remember that there were terrorist attacks at Domodedovo just a few years ago.

The succession of events in the same location makes one wonder about the critical shortcomings in the airport’s operation. If the airport serves such a large number of passengers, and it is a modern and generally a good airport, it should create conditions for the inspection and control of passengers and their luggage. Therefore it is necessary to find out whether this was done, and not just shift the blame to the police.

Next. The Interior Ministry is responsible for security at the transportation hub, along with the owner of the airport. The evidence already available from the crime scene shows that anarchy reigned there, people came and went as they pleased, at best there was some control of movement, I emphasise, at best, and that control was only partial and did not apply to those who were meeting arriving passengers. Not a single metal detector or scanner was used. I instruct the Interior Minister today to submit proposals on the dismissal and other disciplinary measures against the Ministry’s officials responsible for transport security.

”I would like to focus in particular on the liability of Domodedovo Airport management, the liability of the Interior Ministry and certain other agencies. It is obvious that there are systemic failures in ensuring people’s safety and in managing this transportation hub.“

I also instruct the Government of the Russian Federation to consider the liability of Government officials responsible for transport security. The Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee will decide on the criminal liability of such persons.

Generally, what has happened indicates a low and in some cases an unacceptable performance level of agencies and services responsible for security. Let us recall how this activity is organised in the United States or in Israel. There are a lot of checkpoints. Both passengers and luggage undergo thorough inspections: they get to the bottom of everything. Regularly the threat level is raised, when the inspections become even more meticulous. Bear in mind that the level of terrorist threat in our country is higher than in the United States.

We will have to introduce much more stringent checks, the kind of meticulous checks I mentioned. It will mean delays for passengers but there is no alternative.

I instruct the Russian Government to draft proposals for the organisation of this process.

We must never relax in the face of threats, as unfortunately it usually happens in our country. All forces are mobilised following tragic events, everyone is encouraged to be vigilant. For a while, everyone operates in this mode: services, law enforcement agencies and ordinary people adopt a more responsible attitude. But later we see a decline in control and vigilance, and terrorists take advantage of that.

No country in the world has managed to completely eliminate the terrorist threat so far. There is no such country. It can be minimised, however, but only by effective efforts of all law enforcement agencies and special vigilance of civil society and every individual.

Now a few words about the current agenda of the FSB board, the main achievements of the 2010 and priorities for this year.

The FSB has a powerful technological and analytical potential, and great operational capabilities: they must be used. There will be reports on specific results. Meanwhile, the majority of security threats for Russia, which we talked about last year, obviously remain. We must admit openly: these are long-term threats to our country. They will not disappear in a year, but you must maximise your efforts on the prevention of terrorism and extremism, primarily among young people, who because of their lack of experience or because they get into a difficult situation can get drawn into these activities by outright criminals.

It is vitally important to prevent the incitement of ethnic and religious hatred, propaganda of xenophobia and violence. We realise that this undermines the foundations of our multinational state. This is another fundamental threat to the existence of our state, along with terrorism. The job of the FSB and other law enforcement agencies is to neutralise such provocations.

Major events lie ahead for us. Naturally, we are not the only ones preparing for them; all kinds of criminals, bandits and terrorist scum are getting ready as well. Therefore, it is necessary to pay maximum attention to anti-terrorist security at the APEC Summit in Vladivostok in 2012, the World University Games in Kazan in 2013, and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Another important event coming up in the country’s life is the election.

Increased demands are made today to counterintelligence units. Interest of foreign intelligence services to classified military and economic information remains unchanged. They use the latest technology to obtain this information, so the protection of information constituting a state secret remains a critical task.

Military counterintelligence must contribute to maintaining a high level of readiness in the course of the reform of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

Ensuring economic security is also an urgent task. We must stop unlawful seizure of property, withdrawal of assets from banks and business entities, combat smuggling and illegal businesses, prevent fraudulent activities of raiders and other criminals, focus on fighting corruption and on detecting and eliminating organised crime gangs.

We must continue to strengthen the national border. 2011 will be the final stage of the State Border Programme, which has received over 100 billion rubles in allocations, an unprecedented amount in the past 20 years. Six hundred border facilities have been built and their technical equipment upgraded. Therefore, we must continue efforts in this direction with our partners in the CIS and the Customs Union, developing new forms of border integration to tackle common threats such as drug trafficking, organised crime and illegal migration.

In conclusion, I would say that attention to the security agencies in our country has significantly increased in recent times, despite the difficult economic situation and other problems in the country, as you know well.

That is why Russian citizens expect the FSB to make active efforts to combat terrorism, extremism and other crimes. That is what they expect. The utmost concentration of all resources is required if we are to destroy this evil. This is your main objective. It is a question of the viability of our state.

January 25, 2011, Moscow