371 words - February 20, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
"Fight against extremism must be systemic in nature," current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev once said. When reviewing the rare meetings the President of the Russian Federation has held with the Director and/or the board of the Federal Security Service (FSB, ex-KGB), little has been made public as regards the threats to Russia's national security. One can assume, however, that like its Western counterparts, the FSB is mainly engaged in preventing and forestalling terrorist plots.
A year after the terrorist attack which took place in Makhachkala, the capital city of Dagestan, in January 2009, then-President Medvedev told Director Alexander Bortnikov that Russia's "policy remains as before", that is the "systematic elimination" of the "criminals." In January 2012, an attack killed dozens of people at the Domodedovo Airport. Mr Medvedev took Israel and the United States security procedures as examples of what must be implemented in Russian public transport facilities. "Bear in mind that the level of terrorist threat in our country is higher than in the United States," the former President declared in a speech at the FSB's headquarters.
One month later, he also warned that the activity of "foreign special services is not waning in Russia." The Russian leader stated that in 2011, the activities of 41 employees of foreign intelligence services were stopped and 158 agents of foreign intelligence services were identified, including a number of Russian citizens. He pointed out the ongoing relevance of counterintelligence and called for improved counter-espionage efforts, notably on industrial-related cases.
Most recently on February 14, President Vladimir Putin reminded that FSB's most important task is preventing terrorism. Speaking at an expanded FSB board meeting on the results of its activities in 2012, Mr Putin announced that "just last year more than 60 special operations were carried out under the auspices of the FSB's National Anti-Terrorism Committee" and he affirmed that "the direct link between extremist and terrorist group is clear." Finally, he welcomed the close intelligence cooperation with Belarus, Kazakhstan and "other countries" within the post-Soviet space and asserted that the terrorist threat to Russia's national security mainly comes from and/or concretizes in North Caucasus' republics.
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