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Efforts of Russian Ministries in Implementing Measures to Prevent Acts of Terrorism

Sergey G. Vasin

Department of Security and Counterterrorism, Russian Ministry of Industry and Energy


The ministries and agencies of the Russian Federation interact with one another in accordance with existing legislation of the Russian Federation within the framework of the counterterrorism system that has been created in the country. This system is understood as the entirety of entities involved in fighting terrorism in accordance with their competencies, as well as the tasks and goals assigned to them.

Three fundamental concepts are used in this report:

  1. entities for fighting terrorism—specially empowered agencies of state power, including security and internal affairs agencies, units of the Ministry of Defense, and the Russian Federal Protective Service

  2. entities for countering terrorism—federal agencies of state power, executive branch agencies of Russian Federation members, local self-government bodies, organizations, and public associations involved to the extent of their competency in efforts to counter terrorism

  3. forces and means of the system for countering terrorism—specially trained forces and means of federal executive-branch agencies, executive-branch agencies of Russian Federation members, local self-government bodies, organizations, and public associations intended and assigned for preventing, suppressing, and eliminating the consequences of crisis situations associated with terrorist manifestations and other extreme situations of a criminal nature

The fight against terrorism in the Russian Federation and the counteraction of its manifestations is based on the following fundamental principles:



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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop Efforts of Russian Ministries in Implementing Measures to Prevent Acts of Terrorism Sergey G. Vasin Department of Security and Counterterrorism, Russian Ministry of Industry and Energy The ministries and agencies of the Russian Federation interact with one another in accordance with existing legislation of the Russian Federation within the framework of the counterterrorism system that has been created in the country. This system is understood as the entirety of entities involved in fighting terrorism in accordance with their competencies, as well as the tasks and goals assigned to them. Three fundamental concepts are used in this report: entities for fighting terrorism—specially empowered agencies of state power, including security and internal affairs agencies, units of the Ministry of Defense, and the Russian Federal Protective Service entities for countering terrorism—federal agencies of state power, executive branch agencies of Russian Federation members, local self-government bodies, organizations, and public associations involved to the extent of their competency in efforts to counter terrorism forces and means of the system for countering terrorism—specially trained forces and means of federal executive-branch agencies, executive-branch agencies of Russian Federation members, local self-government bodies, organizations, and public associations intended and assigned for preventing, suppressing, and eliminating the consequences of crisis situations associated with terrorist manifestations and other extreme situations of a criminal nature The fight against terrorism in the Russian Federation and the counteraction of its manifestations is based on the following fundamental principles:

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop provision and protection of basic human and civil rights and freedoms legality certainty of punishment for the commission of terrorist acts unitary leadership of forces and means involved in conducting counter-terrorist operations and responsibility for their results priority of measures for preventing terrorism comprehensive use of prophylactic, legal, political, socioeconomic, and public information measures priority of protection for individuals placed in danger as a result of a terrorist act combination of open and secret methods for countering and combating terrorism minimal concessions to terrorists minimal publicity for technical methods and tactics for conducting counterterrorist operations ensurance that measures for countering and combating terrorism are in accordance with international law facilitation of the rights of the public and citizens to broad participation in efforts to counter terrorism in the form of preventing and suppressing terrorist manifestations The legal basis for antiterrorist activities in Russia and for the interaction of ministries and agencies (in the federal executive branch) lies in the Constitution of the Russian Federation; specific federal laws, including On Combating Terrorism, On the Police, On Extraordinary Powers, On Security, On Operational Investigations Activities, On Countering the Legalization of Profits Obtained by Criminal Means and Used to Finance Terrorism (Money Laundering), On State Protection, On the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, On the State Protection of Judges and Officials of Law Enforcement and Control Agencies, On Private Detective and Security Activities in the Russian Federation, On the Federal Security Service, and On the Countering of Extremist Activities; the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation; the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation; the Code on Administrative Violations of the Russian Federation; the Civil Code of the Russian Federation; the Federal Constitutional Law on Military Status; and generally recognized principles and norms of international law and ratified international agreements on the fight against terrorism. These laws determine the legal and organizational foundations for the struggle against terrorism and extremism in the Russian Federation, procedures for the coordination of efforts to combat these phenomena on the part of federal executive-branch agencies, executive-branch agencies of Russian Federation members, public associations, organizations (regardless of their form of ownership), officials, and individual citizens. The laws also set forth the rights, respon-

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop sibilities, and guarantees of citizens in connection with the struggle against crimes of a terrorist nature and manifestations of extremism. A bill entitled On Countering Terrorism is under consideration in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. The provisions of this bill call for clarifying basic concepts regarding the struggle against terrorism, changing the direction of state antiterrorism policy by adopting measures to prevent and suppress terrorist manifestations, and expanding and strengthening the powers of government agencies involved in fighting terrorism. Passage of this bill will make it possible to optimize the legal base for combating terrorism in Russia. In addition, internal affairs agencies and the internal troops of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs are currently guided by the provisions of more than 10 international regulatory and legal acts under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which define the basic objectives and procedures for the interaction of competent agencies of the various states with regard to preventing, detecting, and suppressing crimes of a terrorist nature. On August 7, 2000, the Russian Federation ratified the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, and on February 13, 2001, it ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing. Furthermore, on December 14, 2000, the Russian Federation joined 120 states and on April 26, 2004, ratified the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, committing itself to seek out, prosecute, and expedite individuals suspected of involvement in international organized crime. On July 10, 2002, Russia ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and on January 10, 2003, ratified the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism. The interactions of federal executive-branch agencies on matters regarding the struggle against terrorism are regulated by more than 30 regulatory and legal acts intended to provide details on the provisions of laws and acts of the president and the government of the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, the antiterrorist legal base is in need of certain changes, as well as the development of an entire range of regulations aimed at developing the bases of the state management system in the area of preventing and eliminating crisis situations caused by the threat or commission of terrorist acts shaping a unified conceptual framework in antiterrorist legislation defining the scope of the authorities of entities involved in the struggle against terrorism eliminating the sources that support terrorist activities with financial resources countering propaganda and ideological support for terrorist activities

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop defining the conditions and procedures for decision making regarding the conduct of counterterrorist operations and the timelines for such operations harmonizing at the international level procedures for the extradition of individuals suspected of committing crimes of a terrorist nature The development and improvement of the regulatory and legal base regarding the secure operation of dangerous facilities and the safe use of dangerous materials and technologies must reflect questions of their degree of protection against terrorist acts and the prevention of the possibility they may be used for terrorist purposes. Efforts must be accelerated to develop the system of federal standards and rules establishing unified requirements for the physical protection of dangerous facilities and materials. Efforts to improve Russian antiterrorist legislation must take the necessary account of relevant, diverse, and very valuable experience of foreign states and international legislation in this area. This experience must be thoroughly and comprehensively studied on a constant basis, with the involvement of Russian legal experts, officials, and field personnel from the law enforcement agencies, special services, and other ministries and agencies involved with relevant questions of the struggle against terrorism, along with foreign experts, including government officials and independent specialists. Among the forms of interaction and interagency coordination among entities for countering terrorism are the following: organization of board meetings and coordination conferences on problems involved in combating terrorism activities under the auspices of joint operational headquarters, working groups, and investigations and operations brigades exchange of information, including operations information, on the struggle against terrorism and on sources and channels of drug traffic to counter their illegal circulation and thus cut off sources of financing for terrorist organizations and acts maintenance of a unified database on matters concerning the trade in drugs, psychotropic substances, and their precursors and on efforts to counter their illegal circulation (creation of the database was included in Decree 976 of the president of the Russian Federation, dated July 28, 2004, and entitled Questions of the Russian Federal Service for Control of the Drug Trade) organization of joint operations to suppress terrorist activities joint study and exchanges of personnel from specialized units related to the struggle against terrorism joint planning and monitoring of relevant activities The main goal of this interaction is the formation of a complex and stably functioning interagency system for ensuring the comprehensive protection of all

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop institutions of state power, establishments, enterprises, and citizens against terrorist infringements, thus ensuring that these entities and individuals are fully able to realize their functions, rights, and responsibilities. The achievement of maximally effective and guaranteed success in antiterrorist activities is largely determined by the clear-cut definition of the functions of the entities involved in it. Based on this premise, the Federal Antiterrorist Commission, as the basic coordinating agency in the fight against terrorism, has been assigned the responsibility of determining the bounds of the responsibilities of each of the participating agencies and cooperative activities, and if necessary, making timely corrections based on an analysis of the current status of the struggle against terrorism and basic trends in the development of this illegal activity. The correctness of the established scopes of responsibility must be carried out at least once every six months, and this review is performed on the basis of requirements of the current operational situation. The main goal of this part of the work of the Federal Antiterrorist Commission is to regulate the work of the interagency system by precluding any duplication in the functions of its component members and ensuring maximal effectiveness of antiterrorist measures by making timely and correct redeployments of the various forces operating in a professional and error-free manner within their assigned spheres. The distribution of functions of entities for countering terrorism as established by the Federal Antiterrorist Commission defines the scope of the personal responsibilities of officials in exercising their authorities in this sphere. In order to improve the effectiveness of actions aimed at combating terrorism and strengthening the responsibility of officials, the commission at least once every six months organizes and conducts under its auspices a working meeting at which the results of antiterrorist activities are analyzed. The results of these working meetings are incorporated into interagency regulatory documents, which are amended and augmented with practical recommendations developed on the basis of an analysis of weak points in the work of the interagency system and on positive experience accumulated in the most recent period. To improve the level of interaction among federal executive branch agencies, regional internal affairs departments, and other law enforcement organs with an interest in antiterrorist activities, the following actions would be useful: continuing to exchange information with other law enforcement agencies on planned and committed terrorist acts and other illegal interference in the operations of industrial facilities, transport, elements of the information infrastructure, regional internal affairs agencies, and other law enforcements bodies establishing the operational exchange of information with the Russian Federal Security Service on persons involved in or suspected of organizing attacks on transportation in the Russian Federation so that such persons may be listed in a timely manner on watch lists for the movement of various types of

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop transport, relevant personnel may be notified, and the secret service apparatus alerted to the need for their detection and processing improving the level of interaction with elements of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and its regional subunits in the exchange of information on lost and stolen blank passports with the aim of detecting persons participating in armed formations and committing terrorist acts and halting their illegal presence within the Russian Federation regularly holding conferences, seminars, practical exercises, and training courses on the coordination of joint actions by internal affairs agency personnel on transport, at industrial and energy-sector facilities, and in places where large numbers of people gather in order to prevent, detect, and investigate acts of sabotage and terrorism creating an information system common to the Russian Federal Security Service and other federal executive-branch agencies that would consolidate information on individuals and legal entities on which there is information regarding possible involvement in the financing of terrorist or extremist organizations, as well as those organizations in which the founders, leaders, and personnel are originally from the North Caucasus region or Central Asia continuing efforts to detect and suppress channels by which large sums of cash are moved on various means of transport, including with the involvement of transport system personnel; conducting operational inspections in cooperation with the Russian Federal Security Service of commercial structures and organizations having financial and contractual relations with firms in regions that are unstable from a crime standpoint, including those organizations involved in shipping cargo to such regions Security agencies interact with organizations that manage dangerous facilities and systems for the state accounting and control of dangerous substances, in the course of state monitoring of these facilities and systems the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, in carrying out inspections of the physical protection of dangerous facilities the Federal Security Service, in detecting and investigating cases of illegal access to dangerous materials The organization of interagency efforts is aimed at ensuring the effectiveness of activities and interagency cooperation among structural subunits of the antiterrorist entities in detecting terrorist and extremist groups, organizations, and societies and preventing them from committing crimes of a terrorist nature or extremist intent, as well as identifying and eliminating the causes and conditions promoting terrorist and extremist activities.

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop The organization of interactions among the subunits and regional branches of antiterrorist agencies in their conduct of joint operational-preventive operations and operational-search measures should be determined by departmental regulatory and legal acts, which should include as a top priority the task of uncovering terrorist activities. As part of the struggle against terrorism and within the bounds of their established competencies, subunits of the various entities involved in antiterrorist activities take part in intra-agency collaboration at all levels in the following main ways: planning and conducting, jointly and independently, comprehensive operational-preventive measures and special operations to detect terrorist and extremist groups, organizations, and societies and prevent them from committing crimes of a terrorist nature or extremist aim, as well as detect and eliminate the causes and conditions that promote terrorist and extremist activities engaging in a mutual informational exchange of data of interest to the entities involved in antiterrorist activities and directly associated with their performance of tasks and functions assigned to them by legislative and other regulatory legal acts of the Russian Federation organizing efforts to monitor the activities of entities involved in antiterrorist activities regarding their compliance with Russian Federation legislation and departmental regulatory legal acts concerning the prevention of crimes of a terrorist nature or extremist aim conducting joint hearings on the results of official operational activities working in cooperation with interested structural subunits of the entities involved in antiterrorist activities to study, summarize, and disseminate the latest experience of internal affairs agencies and their structural subunits to prevent crimes of a terrorist nature and extremist aim exchanging experience with the aim of improving the qualifications of personnel, including by holding joint seminars and conferences and working with research subunits to provide organizational-methodological support for the activities of entities involved in antiterrorist efforts to prevent crimes of a terrorist nature or extremist aim participating in inspections and other checkups rendering practical assistance to the subunits of entities involved in antiterrorist activities in conducting the most complex operational-search measures to prevent crimes of a terrorist nature or extremist aim carrying out joint research on problems associated with antiterrorist and antiextremist activities In the interest of improving interagency cooperation, the following should be developed, implemented, and improved:

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop plans at the federal and regional level for providing antiterrorist security for facilities that present an increased level of danger (transport, nuclear power, facilities with a heightened level of environmental danger) interagency plans for cooperation on particular problems involved with antiterrorist security multioption plans for conducting antiterrorist measures and operations when possible changes occur in the operational situation or the algorithm of actions of terrorist structures typological options for making management decisions on the use of forces and resources of antiterrorist entities in the struggle against terrorism in particular situations In fulfillment of Point 6, Article 6, of the Federal Law on the Struggle Against Terrorism, Resolution No. 880 of the Government of the Russian Federation, dated December 10, 2002, established the Federal Antiterrorist Commission. The commission’s main task is to develop the foundations for state policy regarding the struggle against terrorism and recommendations for improving the effectiveness of efforts to uncover and eliminate the causes and conditions promoting the rise of terrorism. The commission is also charged with coordinating the activities of federal executive-branch agencies waging the fight against terrorism. In organizing activities at the federal level within the framework of the Federal Antiterrorist Commission, executive-branch agencies do the following: ensure the timely preparation of decisions by the president of the Russian Federation and the government of the Russian Federation on the most pressing problems in this sphere in cooperation with other interested entities involved in the struggle against terrorism make proposals and recommendations on development of the foundations for state policy and the improvement of federal legislation on combating terrorism in the Russian Federation aimed at improving the effectiveness of efforts to uncover and eliminate causes and conditions promoting the rise of terrorism and the conduct of terrorist activities ensure maximal use of the capabilities of federal executive-branch agencies involved within the scope of their competencies in uncovering, preventing, and suppressing terrorist activities present informational and analytical materials on the status and development trends of terrorism in the Russian Federation and facilitate the formation of a unified approach by federal executive-branch agencies (within the scope of their competencies) to objectives involved in the struggle against terrorism make recommendations on improving the coordination of activities of federal executive-branch agencies and executive-branch agencies of members of the Russian Federation in order to harmonize their activities to uncover, prevent,

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop and suppress terrorist acts and to uncover and eliminate causes and conditions promoting their preparation and implementation participate in the creation and operation of the governmentwide system of measures to combat terrorism In addition to application of the capabilities of the Federal Antiterrorist Commission, cooperation at the federal level also proceeds within the framework of the activities of regional antiterrorist commissions as well as in the course of contacts with local government agencies, public associations, and organizations involved in the struggle against terrorism within the scope of their competencies. Nevertheless, given the counterterrorism situation that has taken shape in the Russian Federation, improvements are needed in the organization of cooperation among federal executive-branch agencies in this sphere. The effectiveness of the struggle against terrorism does not depend on the number of power structures created to combat it nor the level to which they report. It is essential to clarify the structure, composition, and functional responsibilities of existing power ministries and agencies and all services involved in the antiterrorist struggle relative to the current situation. To improve the effectiveness of their activities, their operations must be made systemic and coordinated, with controls and strict accountability to be established for officials responsible for carrying out assigned tasks. Given that terrorism has taken on a nationwide scale in Russia and closely collaborates with international terrorism, the organization, management, and coordination of the activities of the power ministries and agencies is the prerogative of the president of the Russian Federation, who carries out these duties through the Security Council of the Russian Federation. Development of proposals on implementing the strategy of combating terrorism is the systemic and regular work of interagency commissions and the staff of the Security Council of the Russian Federation and involves the best intellectual and scientific forces in the country. If a single agency were to be formed to organize, be responsible for, and coordinate the work of all special services involved in the struggle against terrorism, it could be the primary executive-branch agency ensuring the practical implementation of decisions regarding the fight against terrorist manifestations throughout the Russian Federation. The agency’s competency must include intelligence and counterintelligence, the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, the border control service, the governmental communications service, special subunits and security units of the government and important facilities, and scientific-technical subunits. In addition, the functions of a number of federal ministries and executive-branch agencies of members of the Russian Federation must be clarified and adapted to conditions in antiterrorist activities. The government must make it a

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop top priority to carry out the full technical re-equipment of all law enforcement agencies and to create simplified conditions for the activities of subunits involved in the antiterrorist struggle in their conduct of operational measures. The main task for cooperation at the federal level is to create conditions that preclude the possibility of criminal actions being committed by terrorist groups and bandit formations on Russian territory, with the aim of completely halting their illegal activities and eliminating opportunities for their appearance. Accomplishing this task will ensure that terrorist activities will be consistently and unshakably curtailed in the Russian Federation. Efforts aimed at preventing terrorist activities are based on a set of intelligence measures to uncover terrorist groups and bandit formations. These efforts include the following federal structures: the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, which tracks contacts between terrorist groups and bandit formations and representatives of foreign special services and organizations in the Russian Federation and handles overall coordination efforts on these matters the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, which works to uncover possible support for terrorist groups and bandit formations on the part of official and private structures of foreign states the Main Intelligence Administration of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, which is involved in uncovering channels of cooperation between terrorist groups and bandit formation and the military agencies of foreign states the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, which identifies participants in terrorist groups and bandit formations, their places of deployment, and their sympathizers The coordinating role at this level of antiterrorist activity is assigned to the Federal Antiterrorist Commission of the Russian Federation. While implementing the entire range of antiterrorist measures, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation also undertakes comprehensive coordination of plans for antiterrorist measures conducted jointly with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Protective Service, and the Ministry of Civil Defense Affairs and Emergency Situations and is responsible for providing timely information and developing practical recommendations to these agencies if complications arise in the operational situation. Each of these agencies takes the following measures as such information is received: The Ministry of Internal Affairs amends current work plans so as to improve a range of preventive antiterrorist measures and places its territorial and special subunits on heightened operational status if necessary. Based on recommendations received, the Federal Protective Service

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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop makes improvements in the system of protection and in extreme situations puts an intensified protection regime mechanism into effect. The Ministry of Civil Defense Affairs and Emergency Situations increases its monitoring of compliance with the requirements of security measures at facilities that represent potential targets for terrorist attacks. In the course of taking these measures, the agencies actively exchange information on the results they have achieved and present reports to the Russian Federal Security Service on their fulfillment of requirements regarding recommendations assigned to them for implementation. With the aim of working out all aspects of cooperation, joint regional training exercises are held each year under the auspices of the Federal Antiterrorist Commission, with the results being reported to a meeting of the commission involving the heads of all entities involved in antiterrorist activities. Interagency cooperation is often limited to the scope of operational-technical measures or operational-investigations activities carried out in ongoing case investigations. Meanwhile, the comprehensive and coordinated utilization of forces and resources involved in antiterrorist activities is an irreplaceable condition for success in interagency cooperation.