Putin Asks Security Service to Bar Criminals From Crimean Government

MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Federal Security Service (FSB) on Monday to prevent radicals or individuals with a criminal past from working in the Crimean government.

“I ask that you pay special attention to the formation of the FSB’s subdivisions in Crimea and Sevastopol,” Putin said during a meeting with FSB officials.

“They have the task of not allowing individuals with a criminal past or those with radical and extremist tendencies, as well as those attempting to disrupt the normal development of Crimea and Sevastopol, into government agencies” the Russian president added.

Putin also warned that radicals from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) who have been trained in Afghanistan and Syria may be directed against Russia and its neighbors.

“There are serious concerns about the fact that some citizens from Russia and CIS countries, who were recruited by terrorists and radicals, are participating today in military actions in Afghanistan, Syria and other regions, and are going through terrorist and ideological training,” Putin said.

The Russian leader called on the country’s top security agency to distinguish activity by opposition groups from extremism. “We need to clearly divide legal social opposition activity that is present in every democratic country from extremism, which is built on hate, on inciting national and international discord, on defying the law and constitution,” Putin said.

“We need to see the difference between civilized opponents of power and those serving foreign interests that harm our country,” he said.

Putin said the terrorist underground, despite serious losses, is still capable of planning mass acts of terror against civilians in the country.

Extremists, who use modern information technologies, including the Internet and social networks, have recently increased their activity not only in the North Caucasus, but also in central Russia and the Volga region, aiming to spark national and religious conflicts, he said.

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