President Putin has highlighted the success of Russia’s internal security service in counter-intelligence. Speaking at the FSB executive council he said that fighting extremism is the agency’s top priority.
“The situation remains complicated, the terrorist underground, despite suffering serious casualties retains the capability of launching terrorist attacks against the civilian population,” the Interfax news agency quoted Putin as saying on Monday.
“Extremist radical groups are trying to boost their activities not only in the North Caucasus but also to transfer them into different regions of our country, to the Volga Region and Central Russia, they seek to instigate ethnic and religious conflicts,” the president said.
Putin added that extremists were especially active in recruiting the younger generation and used the most modern means and technology for the purpose, including social networks and other Internet services. “We should launch preventive measures, pay special attention to exposing and severing all channels of financial and material support to the underground mobs, uncover their ties with foreign terrorist groups and sponsors,” the Russian President told the top security officers.
Speaking of current successes, the Russian leader pointed out that the FSB together with other state agencies managed to find and bar over 400 terrorist inclined web-sites.
Putin also said that in 2013 Russian special services managed to stop the activities of 46 foreign intelligence members and 258 agents. He added that counter-intelligence was traditionally of primary importance and urged the FSB commanders to significantly increase the quality of analytical and operative work.
Another serious challenge was the participation of some Russian citizens (as well as some citizens of the CIS states) in combat on the terrorist side. This happens, for example in Afghanistan and Syria and Russians undergo both terrorist and ideological training for it, Putin noted. “There are all grounds to suggest that these people could be used against Russia and our commonwealth neighbors. We must be ready for this and have the whole arsenal of preventive measures,” he said.
The President then urged the FSB elite to step up cooperation with their partners from the various Russia-led political and military blocs, such as the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the ShanghaiCooperation and others. “The role of the National Anti-terror Committee should be increased and this means the timely exchange of operative information,” Putin explained.