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Excerpts from Remarks at a Meeting with Top Officers on the Occasion of Their Promotion to Higher Military Ranks

January 18, 2001, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,

I recognise the effective performance and good coordination of all security agencies in 2000.

A drop in the rate of socially dangerous crimes is to the credit of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry. It is a fact that in spite of all the problems in this sphere the streets have become safer, and this is borne out by statistics. The number of premeditated murder cases has dropped.

The law is taking an ever harder grip on organised crime and “shadow businessmen”. The number of exposed bribe-takers has increased by 19% and exposures of corrupt officials by 16%. About a quarter of a million drug-related crimes have been prevented and 40 tonnes of narcotics have been confiscated. In my opinion, the punishment envisaged for crimes in this sphere is too mild, and I think the time has come for us to sit down with the Government and consider toughening the sanctions for the production and spread of narcotics.

I think that the creation of a fundamentally new structure – the Federal Criminal Police Committee – under the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry will give a boost to crime prevention.

Now that the military part of the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus is over, the main load devolves on the police, Internal Affairs Ministry troops and the Federal Security Service. It is your direct duty to organise the activities of the law enforcement bodies inside Chechnya as a foundation of peaceful life in the republic, to neutralise the militants and pre-empt any terrorist attacks in other regions of the Russian Federation.


The Federal Security Service of Russia is tackling special tasks of defending our national interests against internal and external threats. About 40 acts by foreign special services have been prevented. Attempts of information espionage have been exposed. Major economic frauds have been prevented. Attempts by certain commercial entities to seize control of some strategic defence industries to the detriment of the country’s interests have been stopped.

The Federal Security Service has already arrested more than 20 terrorists implicated in staging explosions in Russian cities. This is a positive and tangible result. I would like to thank the Federal Security Service personnel for this work. In this sphere the most important thing for us is not the severity of the punishment, but its inevitability. Some prominent chieftains of criminal groups have been detained. Fourteen explosions across the country have been prevented. Terrorist actions in Buinaksk and in the Volgograd Region have been disrupted.

I would like to stress that the efforts of your service must be sustained in all these areas.


I am convinced that we shall be able to meet the challenges facing the security agencies in the new year. Coordinated actions by all security agencies would guarantee that…. This is particularly relevant considering the ongoing modernisation of the military, which we must launch this year.

I would like to draw your attention to one more point. The security agencies should proceed strictly within the law. These agencies are instruments of defending civil rights and law and order in the country. Therefore, the attitude to you will be particularly demanding. I want you to take note of this. That applies above all to law enforcement.


January 18, 2001, The Kremlin, Moscow