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Official website of the President of Russia

Transcripts   /

Remarks in Connection with the Explosion on Pushkin Square in Moscow

August 9, 2000, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin: Immediately after the tragedy in the center of Moscow yesterday two theories were considered: an accident or a crime. The tentative opinion of experts is that it was a crime.

In that case several theories can also be explored: either an underworld crime in which criminal groups were settling accounts with one another, or a terrorist attack. If we proceed from the terrorist attack theory, I would like to say the following. First of all, I think it would be wrong to look for any ethnic trail – Chechen or any other. In general it is not right to brand a whole people, because criminals, especially terrorists, have no nationality and no faith. But of course we must know where the threat comes from.

It has to be said that terrorism, unfortunately, is not our national disease, it is an international disease. Suffice is to recall the tragedy with German hostages in the Philippines, explosions in some British cities and recent blasts in Spain.

This is particularly relevant to our country. Here in Russia things have gone to such lengths that we have allowed an enclave of crime and terrorism to have been created on our territory. Terrorists never commit their crimes in deserted places. They always strike where there are a lot of people. They want blood, external effect, panic and hysteria.

How can we counter it? They would like nothing more than to see disorganisation and messing around on our part. So, it can be countered in only one way: by political will, organisation, a systematic, highly professional and steadfast work of the law enforcement bodies, greater vigilance of the population and greater coordination between the law enforcement bodies and the municipal and regional authorities and the federal authorities.

Humankind has not produced any effective way of combating terrorism except one. And that one remedy is an adequate response. We should bring what we are doing in the North Caucasus to completion: we should finish off the terrorists in their own lair, we should protect people from such acts in other parts of the Russian Federation. The reputation of the authorities at all levels, especially the law-enforcers, hinges on this.

But I am sure that sooner or later we will know the names of the perpetrators and those who commissioned that crime, just like we know the names of those who commissioned and carried out other high-profile crimes in Moscow, Dagestan, North Ossetia and some other regions of the Russian Federation. We will know these criminals and a response on the part of the Government will be forthcoming.

August 9, 2000, The Kremlin, Moscow