President Vladimir Putin – Russia's political and legal response to terrorism
President Vladimir Putin – Russia's political and legal response to terrorism

Address to the enlarged Government meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin, September 13, 2004 [outlining changes to the Russian political and legal structure necessary to facilitate the combating of terrorism]. Read the text of the speech in English. Excerpt:

We must act. We must improve the effectiveness of power bodies in resolving all the problems that lie before the country — the entire set of problems. Because when taken out of the context of the whole, not a single issue that lies before us today, even such important issues as ensuring the security of citizens and the state, can be solved effectively.

In the situation that has arisen after the terrorist act in Beslan, I think that at this enlarged meeting it is necessary to discuss with you the problems that I raised in the address to the people of Russia on September the 4th. These are issues of ensuring the unity of the country, strengthening state structures and trust in the authorities, creating an effective system of internal security.

Not only members of federal Government are gathered here today, but also the heads of all Russian regions. I believe that in the current situation, in the current conditions, the system of executive power in the country must not simply be adapted for work in crisis situations, it must be fundamentally reorganised, in order to strengthen the unity of the country and stop crises from arising….

Above all, I believe that the most important factor in strengthening the state is a unified system of executive power in the country. A unity that comes from the spirit and letter of article 77 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Essentially, this means that in the areas of competence of the Russian Federation, and in the areas of joint competence, the bodies of executive power in the centre and in the federal regions form a single system of power, and thus must work as an integral co-subordinate single organism….

As you know, I have ordered a detailed analysis of the circumstances that led to the tragedy in Beslan. The law-enforcement structures have been given the necessary orders to intensify anti-terrorist operations, also by increasing the scope of international cooperation in the special services. All these are undoubtedly important and necessary measures. But they are still not enough on their own. A number of countries that have faced terrorist threats have established unified systems of security that provide comprehensive internal security and anti- terrorist actions. And here in Russia, we also need the same organisational work and the same system of national security organization which is capable of not only stopping terrorist acts and dealing with their consequences, but also of working on preventing terrorist invasions, diversions and man-made catastrophes organised by terrorists. The system that will be ahead of criminals to destroy them, so to speak, in their own lair. And if the situation requires it, to get them from abroad.

We must uncover terrorist organisations and groups, and the terrorists themselves, cut off financial channels and create a political and financial vacuum around their emissaries and lobbyists.

I also believe that extremist organisations that hide behind religious, nationalist or other slogans and that essentially breed terror must be prohibited, and their leaders and active members prosecuted in accordance with the law.

Reported in JURIST's Paper Chase here.