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Acting President and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired an augmented Security Council meeting

December 31, 1999, Moscow

Mr Putin outlined high-priority tactical and strategic aspects of the Russian government’s activities, as well as the tasks of the judicial branch and secret services in connection with Boris Yeltsin’s resignation.

Mr Putin reaffirmed the continuity of Russian foreign policy. As before, Russia will strive to build relations of equality with all countries, on the basis of mutual understanding, friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation, Mr Putin told the meeting. He stressed that Russian foreign policy would remain unchanged. Everything that had recently been planned by the first Russian president, the government and the Foreign Ministry would be carried out. According to Mr Putin, Moscow would strive to build a multi-polar world.

The acting president stated the government’s intention to continue strengthening the armed forces, focus on arms modernisation and efforts to overhaul the structure of the armed forces, and to solve the social problems of military personnel. Until now, the social problems of the armed forces have been overlooked, Mr Putin said. He added that there could be no full-fledged reform of the armed forces unless the social problems of military personnel were solved.

Mr Putin called on Russia’s secret services to continue persistently and energetically performing their duties. He expressed confidence that the secret services would maintain and intensify their pace of work. Until now, the secret services worked well and received well-deserved praise from Mr Yeltsin. Mr Putin drew attention to the fact that the secret services must continue to persistently and energetically perform their functions and duties in ensuring the security of supreme institutions of state authority and administrative agencies.

The acting president also called on Russian judicial bodies to continue strengthening national statehood and economic discipline.

Mr Putin demanded that the Prosecutor-General’s Office monitor all areas of activity in the country, especially prior to the elections. Blocs and parties will once again work to achieve their political goals which must be only constitutional, Mr Putin stressed. First of all, the rights of citizens and human rights in general must be respected. But we should not forget about the rights of state institutions and society either, Mr Putin said.

He expressed hope that the new State Duma would preserve and expand the constructive and positive aspects that had emerged during joint legislative work.

The acting president demanded effective and unfailing work from those responsible for solving the Year 2000 problem. Regional operators must remain where they are, he said. The main state systems in the fields of defence, the nuclear power industry, data-exchange networks, transportation and space exploration must continue their work. All know their work schedules, Mr Putin said, and called on everyone to remain vigilant despite the holiday mood.

Mr Putin told Security Council members that Mr Yeltsin had worked hard in the last few days and had drafted a package of documents, which was due to be issued already today.

December 31, 1999, Moscow