Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 - Russia

The Russian government continued to view counterterrorism as a top priority, and considered cooperation with the United States a pillar of bilateral relations. The scope of the Russian government's authority continued to grow, resulting in a greater number of terrorist acts being foiled and the continued weakening of formerly powerful terrorist groups. The majority of terrorist attacks continued to occur in the North Caucasus, where the pacification of much of Chechnya has correlated with an increase in terrorism in Dagestan and Ingushetia. Russia did not offer safe haven to terrorists, but there was evidence of a foreign terrorist presence in the North Caucasus with international financial and ideological ties. As in 2006, there were no high-profile terrorist incidents in Russia involving a large number of civilian casualties.

According to Minister of Interior Rashid Nurgaliyev, there were 38 terrorist attacks in Russia in the first nine months of the year, compared to 561 terrorist acts committed in 2003.

Major terrorist acts included the following incidents:

  • On August 13, a Moscow-St. Petersburg train was derailed in the Novgorod region, injuring sixty. Three members of the St. Petersburg League of Anarchists were arrested.
  • On October 31, a suicide bomber blew up a bus in the Samara region, killing eight and wounding fifty, although Russian officials had not determined by the end of the year if the incident was terrorism or organized crime-related. They were investigating a Caucasus trail, Russian ultranationalists, and Chechen-based organized crime.
  • On November 22, five people were killed and thirteen injured in a bomb explosion on a passenger bus in Stavropol; on December 9 another bus was blown up in the same region, killing two and injuring thirteen. Law enforcement agencies suspected the same terrorist group carried out both incidents.
  • In May, the Federal Security Service (FSB) announced that it thwarted a terrorist attack planned for the Russia-EU summit in Samara.
  • Other security incidents, such as a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) that exploded near the Krasnopresnenskaya Metro, and a VBIED that was located and disarmed just prior to the May 9 Victory Day celebrations, both in the Moscow area, may have been terrorist acts.

In Chechnya, from 2005-2007, mass attacks on civilians diminished in favor of increased targeted attacks on policemen, local interior ministry officials, and departments responsible for fighting the insurgency, although an increasing number of attacks failed or were prevented by Russian and Chechen special services. In January, more than 500 militants surrendered to authorities as part of an amnesty following the 2006 death of Shamil Basayev, the militant Islamist leader of the Chechen separatist movement. The incidence of violent acts increased in Dagestan and Ingushetia, but it was often difficult to characterize whether they were the result of terrorism, political violence, or criminal activities. In September, Rappani Khalilov (the "Emir" for Dagestan), whom the Russians had described as a terrorist, was killed by Russian forces. The FSB stated that special attention will be paid to the prevention of terrorist attacks in the North Caucasus.

The 1998 federal law "On Fighting Terrorism" and the 2006 federal law "On Countering Terrorism" remained the main counterterrorism legal authorities. The National Antiterrorism Committee, organized in 2006, was the main government body coordinating the Russian government's response to the terrorist threat.

The United States and Russian Counterterrorism Coordinators met in November to advance cooperation within the context of the United States-Russia Counterterrorism Working Group. Cooperation continued on a broad range of counterterrorism issues, including efforts to destroy, safeguard, and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Russian law enforcement agencies also cooperated closely with U.S. agencies. Past participation led to the release of a hostage victim and the conviction of a U.S.-based subject attempting to purchase shoulder-to-air missiles.

Regulating and investigating terrorist websites was a major concern with numerous requests to the United States for assistance from both the FSB and the Cybercrime Directorate.

At the St. Petersburg G8 Summit in July 2006, the United States and Russia jointly announced the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and invited other nations to join. The Initiative demonstrated Russia's effort to take a leadership role in establishing a partnership among nations to accelerate efforts to combat nuclear terrorism. It includes 66 partner nations committed to combating nuclear terrorism in a variety of ways, including safeguarding radioactive and nuclear materials, preventing nuclear smuggling, and sharing information. The third meeting of the Initiative took place in Kazakhstan in June.

Russia increased its commitment to fighting terrorism in Afghanistan. Through the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Russia committed financial and technical resources and also supported the OSCE's initiative to develop projects aimed at strengthening security along Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan.

In September, Russia hosted the Sixth International Meeting of the Heads of special services, security agencies, and law-enforcement organizations, which FBI, CIA, DOE, and NCTC attended. Russia participated in the OSCE Public-Private Partnership Counterterrorism Conference, which focused on partnerships between state authorities, civil society, and the business community in combating terrorism. Russia has also expanded counterterrorism activities into newer regional groups. The scenario for the August 9-17 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) "Peace Mission 2007" exercise in Chelyabinsk involved combating a terrorist takeover of a village. Under the scenario, approximately 6,500 troops from all six SCO countries, but primarily Russia and China, worked together to defeat terrorists and free hostages. The SCO also signed an agreement with the CSTO on the joint fight against terrorism.

Russia is a member of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (FATF). It is also a leading member, chair, and primary funding source of the FATF-style body known as The Eurasian Group on Money Laundering (EAG). EAG members include Russia, China, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Russia, through EAG, provided technical assistance and funding towards establishing legislative and regulatory frameworks.


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