30 march 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a meeting on improving transport security

At a meeting on improving transport security

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin began the meeting by expressing his condolences to the families of the victims and thanking all agencies for the professionalism they showed during the rescue effort after the blast in the Moscow Metro. The prime minister believes it is necessary to improve transport security and for security services and other law-enforcement bodies to step up the fight against terrorism.

Vladimir Putin's opening remarks:

Good afternoon,

Today Moscow is in mourning for the victims of the terrorist attacks on the metro yesterday. I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families of those who were killed. We will do everything we can to help and support the victims.

Yesterday, I was able to observe our rescue workers in action. I'd like to thank the fire fighters, rescue teams and physicians - everyone who helped the victims - for their professionalism and well-coordinated efforts. They have worked selflessly and with distinction.

Thank you.

Yesterday we held a meeting on providing assistance to the families of the dead and wounded. Yesterday I also signed a government executive order on providing material assistance to these families.

The Moscow city government is also making decisions on additional assistance. During today's conversation we will focus again on the security of our critically important energy infrastructure, housing and public utilities, and we will focus on transport security in particular.

In 2007, we adopted a law on transport security. This law has been in effect since 2007.

We also have two federal programmes aimed at upgrading Russia's transport security and combating terror. Both programmes emphasize the need to improve the technical monitoring and protection of transport infrastructure.

Much has already been done. One of the metro cars that was attacked yesterday was equipped with a video surveillance system.

As we have seen, such systems cannot prevent an act of terror, which is not to say that they are useless. They are helping law-enforcement agencies uncover who was behind this crime and their accomplices. We know that those responsible are lying low now, but it is a matter of honour for our law enforcement agencies to pull them out of their sewers and expose them to the harsh light of justice. I'm confident that this will be done.

We have witnessed this recent tragedy in our country and acts of terror around the world, and we understand the kind of world we live in today. Not only Russia, but also other countries are being subjected to terrorist threats. And we also understand that we need to improve our security and warning systems so that we can confront this terrorist threat.

Regrettably, despite all the efforts, other countries as well as Russia suffer terrorist attacks. Suffice it to recall the terrorist who boarded a plane flying from the Netherlands to the United States recently. Despite the many security measures that have been taken, this man still managed to board the plane with an explosive device and tried to detonate it. And of course there have been the recent tragedies of the Nevsky Express train and yesterday's attacks in the Moscow metro in our own country.

The whole of our transport infrastructure is simply enormous, and sometimes it seems that ensuring the security of all of it is a complex and even impossible task. Suffice it to say that Russian Railways has a total of 85,000 km of major railway lines. If you account for shorter tracks, their total length is roughly 110,000 km, plus another 110,000 km that are owned or managed by industrial enterprises. This is 220,000 km in all!

Combined with additional anti-terrorist efforts on the part of our security services and other law-enforcement bodies, we must improve the legal foundations necessary to protect our citizens. We must and will think about expanding video surveillance as well as improving explosives detection and our rescue and warning systems.

At today's meeting, I would like to receive proposals from you on how to improve our entire security system.

I think everyone understands that the issue here is not the money or other resources that we will put toward solutions. The main thing now is to ensure that we are taking effective decisions. Let's discuss this further now.