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Introductory Address at a Meeting with Deputy Prime Ministers and Heads of Law-Enforcement Ministries and Departments

March 13, 2000, The Government House, Moscow

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.

Before we start the meeting, I would like to tell you that Salman Raduyev, one of the most notorious commanders of North Caucasian terrorist units, was arrested yesterday in accordance with the Criminal Proceedings Code during a special operation involving Russia’s Federal Security Service, brought to Moscow and placed in a pre-trial detention centre.

As you know, this criminal has masterminded several major terrorist acts, including taking hostages in Pervomaiskoye village and Kizlyar city. Civilians were killed as a result of these outrages. Moreover, Raduyev has assumed responsibility for several other grave crimes, namely, railway station explosions in Armavir and Pyatigorsk. We also know that his gang robbed trains and stole about 600,000–700,000 rubles in wages earmarked for teachers in the Chechen Republic. They extorted protection rackets in several towns and villages near Gudermes and stole state property from several companies in that city.

Investigators and a subsequent trial should find out whether Raduyev was responsible for other grave crimes, including the attempt on the life of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, or whether this amounts to lies and bravado. In reality, this is no longer important because the criminal is going to stay in prison where he belongs. I hope this signals the beginning of future operations.

I wanted to tell you this opening our conference. Now let’s get down to work.

March 13, 2000, The Government House, Moscow