President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with the top brass at the Kremlin, i.e. officials from the Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Emergencies Ministry, the Federal Security Service, the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Federal Service for Control over the Sales of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, and the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office. President Putin outlined their major tasks.
Neutralizing foreign intelligence services' activities is the main task facing Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), according to Mr. Putin.
Mr. Putin added that FSB was also expected to ensure the country's economic and financial security, and to counter organized criminal groups.
The president also tasked the Federal Frontier Service with using modern approaches to guarding the state border and combining army and operational potentials.
Mr. Putin recalled that efforts against crime, terrorism, and drug trafficking were dependent on the safety of national borders and an efficient migration policy.
"Trustworthy information makes a solid basis for decision-making as international and domestic realities prompt new, tougher requirements for the analytical activities and operations of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service," said the president.
President Putin said he expected the security agencies to advance initiatives and work ably.
"It is impossible to foresee every detail from the Kremlin, the White House or other major centers," said the president.
The president tasked the Interior Ministry with focusing on efforts against corruption.
"The Russian Interior Ministry is expected to change over to new organizational and staff arrangements in short time," said President Putin. "The tax authorities' functions had been transferred to the Interior Ministry that thereby acquired more opportunities to uncover economic crimes. I believe you should focus on exposing corruption-related crimes andon protecting business, above all small and medium business, from criminal groups' pressure," said the president.
Mr. Putin also dwelled on tasks facing the Federal Service for Control over the Sales of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
Last year showed that the service was capable of handling serious problems related to the counteraction to the drug threat, according to the president
"However, those were only initial steps. You must gradually step up efforts against drug abuse and drug-related crimes," noted Mr. Putin.
"Health and life of millions of Russian people are at stake," the President said.
"We should not forget that much money gained by drug trafficking is used to finance extremists and terrorists," the head of state stressed.
"Today Russia and the world community as a whole are facing serious security threats, such as terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and illegal migration," Vladimir Putin said.
According to him, "prompt and coordinated actions of all power ministries are needed to combat these challenges".
The President called on the Emergencies Ministry to focus "on the prevention of man-caused disasters".
In his words, the work of the Emergencies Ministry, humanitarian assistance and operative liquidation of emergency situations and, is highly important.
The fight against illegal migration is the main task of the Federal Migration Service.
"Today migration is controlled by the international organized crime. Terrorists and drug dealers use the illegal migration channels," Mr. Putin said.
However, we should not prevent people who respect the law from coming to Russia to live and work honestly, he added.
"Therefore, we should continue the formation of civilized migration practice meeting international standards and Russia's long-term economic interests," the Russian leader noted.
First Deputy Defense Minister, Colonel-General Alexander Belousov assured the head of state that servicemen "understood the level of responsibility and scale of their tasks". In his opinion, much should be done to make military service attractive. The army's power depends not only by strength but also by good training and technical equipment, the defense minister emphasized.
Commander of the Space Forces, Lieutenant-General Vladimir Popovkin reported the President that "the condition of weapons and hardware and personnel training provide the fulfillment of tasks in the interests of all branches of the armed forces, power structures and Russia's social-economic and scientific development".
"Planned restoration of the orbital group is underway. Tests of new space reconnaissance and communications system are planned for 2004," Vladimir Popovkin said.
According to him, the infrastructure of Russian space centers is developing. "The staff of combat capabilities of the missile attack warning system and Moscow's missile defense are being reinforced," he added.
Lieutenant-General of the Police Boris Miroshnikov, representative of the Russian Interior Ministry, assured Vladimir Putin that much attention would be given to hi-tech crimes when criminals get access to computer networks of different organizations using advanced technologies.
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