Overview: Terrorist attacks stemming from instability in the North Caucasus continued to be committed in Russia. Separatists and violent Islamist extremists calling for a pan-Islamic caliphate within the Caucasus constituted the main terrorist threats. Separatism, inter-ethnic rivalry, revenge, banditry, and violent Islamist extremist ideology were the primary motivating factors for terrorism-related violence in 2012. Violence similar to that observed in the North Caucasus has also occurred in other areas of Russia, as seen most notably in July with the bombing in Tatarstan. Russia continued its efforts to arrest and disrupt militants.

Under the framework of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC), the U.S. and Russian Chairmen of the Counterterrorism Working Group (CTWG) met in February 2012 to discuss U.S.-Russian counterterrorism cooperation. The Chairmen discussed cooperation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), countering violent extremism, countering terrorist threats to the tourism industry, terrorist designations, and preparations for the Sochi Olympics. Additional BPC activity in counterterrorism included several joint military exercises that dealt explicitly with terrorism-related scenarios, collaboration on nuclear and transportation security, and joint programs on financial monitoring.

Russia also continued to participate in the yearly Four-Party Counterterrorism Working Group, which includes the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Operational and intelligence information regarding terrorism-related threats was shared among these four agencies, with senior leaders meeting in Moscow and in Washington. FBI-FSB relationships at the working level showed improvement during the year.

2012 Terrorist Incidents: The North Caucasus region remained Russia's primary area of terrorist activity. Separatists seeking an Islamic caliphate within the Caucasus reportedly claimed responsibility for bombings, shootings, kidnappings, and extortion in Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, and Chechnya. Federal and local security organizations conducted counterterrorism operations throughout the Caucasus, including raids, roadblocks, and larger-scale military-style operations in rural areas. Media and eyewitness reports suggested that separatism is not the only factor driving violence in the Caucasus, and that motives such as inter-ethnic rivalry, business arguments, and revenge were factors involved.

In 2012, almost half of terrorist attacks targeted law enforcement, security services, and emergency responders, using increasingly sophisticated tactics. For example, in a May 3 attack, a suicide bomber exploded a vehicle near a police station in Makhachkala, Dagestan. When the Emergency Ministry and police units arrived, a second bomb exploded in a nearby vehicle. About 100 people were injured. Thirty-seven police officers were injured and seven died. Two rescuers were also injured. In 2012, Dagestani authorities approved the creation of ethnic-based internal security units and have agreed to host additional federal police and regular army units to combat terrorism.

Across Russia, the press reported 659 killed and 490 wounded in 182 terrorist attacks in 2012. Of the casualty totals for Russia, 325 of those killed and 365 of those injured were security personnel. Official terrorism statistics are similar to those found in open press. In December, Viktor Orlov, the head of the National Counterterrorism Committee, said over 260 acts of terrorism were committed in Russia in 2012. Additionally, Alesksandr Bortnikov, Director of the Federal Security Service, announced that the special services prevented 92 terrorist-related crimes in 2012. In October, President Putin spoke about Russia's fight against terrorism saying that within Russia during the past several months, 479 militants were detained, and 313 terrorists who refused to surrender were killed, including 43 leaders.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The National Antiterrorism Coordinating Committee, organized in 2006, is the main government body coordinating the Russian government's response to the terrorist threat.

The Russian Federation uses a machine-readable passport for foreign travel, and citizens have the option of purchasing a more expensive biometric passport. The biometric passports contain robust security features and are gaining in popularity. The latest version of the Russian passport is valid for 10 years. Among Russian applicants for American visas this year, the majority used the new Russian biometric passport.

Cooperative efforts are also underway on a project to identify high-risk shipping containers entering Russia. The goal of the project is to consolidate efforts of U.S.-based field offices with Russian law enforcement in a cooperative effort to share law enforcement intelligence and ultimately interdict contraband that could be used in terrorist acts. The primary focus is the interdiction of smuggling in weapons of mass destruction, dual use materials, small arms, narcotics, bulk cash, and human trafficking.

Russia was also in the process of implementing a major program to introduce paperless entrance and clearance systems for cargo. This system, currently operational in one port of entry (Kashirsky), implements automated risk management and cargo selectivity procedures. The Russian Federation is expanding this system nationally.

Cooperative relationships continued to develop between the heads of the State Border Guard Service of the FSB and the U.S. Border Patrol. Similarly the U.S. Coast Guard enjoyed a close working relationship with the Coast Guard of the FSB Border Guard Service.

Significant law enforcement actions against terrorists and terrorist groups included:

  • On May 17, a court in Vladikavkaz sentenced two men for the 2010 suicide bombing that killed 19 and injured 230 people at a market.

  • On November 28, a man was convicted of plotting a terrorist attack on Red Square on New Year's Eve 2010. Four of his associates were previously convicted, and six more were standing trial at year's end.

  • On December 10, four Russian men from the Caucasus Emirate were sentenced to 15 to18 years in prison for plotting a 2011 bombing of the high-speed Sapsan train running between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Russia is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). It is also a leading member, chair, and primary funding source of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG), a FATF-style regional body. Through the EAG, Russia provided technical assistance and other resources towards improving legislative and regulatory frameworks and operational capabilities. Russia is also a member of the Egmont Group, as well as the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and Moneyval, the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism, both FATF-style regional bodies.

Russian banks must report suspicious transactions to the Financial Monitoring Federal Service (Rosfinmonitoring), a Financial Intelligence Unit whose head reports directly to the President (in 2011 Rosfinmonitoring reported to the Prime Minister). The Central Bank and the markets regulator (the Financial Markets Federal Service) can access these transaction reports after requesting them from Rosfinmonitoring. In the first quarter of 2012, Rosfinmonitoring seized US $334 in alleged terrorist funds, a reduction from US $16,805 during the same quarter in 2011.

In July 2012, the Duma adopted a new law, N 121-FZ, intended to increase scrutiny and oversight of non-commercial organizations that receive foreign funding. Provisions in this law require Rosfinmonitoring to report to the relevant non-profit registration body if an organization is found to be non-compliant with Russian Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations. This new legislation also amends Russia's AML/CFT law by requiring monitoring of any foreign donations over 200,000 rubles (approximately US $6,000).

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Russia is a founding member of the GCTF and is an active member of the NATO-Russia Council Counterterrorism Working Group. Russia continued to work with other regional and multilateral groups to address terrorism, including counterterrorism groups in the EU, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism(GICNT), the G-8 Counterterrorism Action Group, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the OSCE, and engaged actively with the "Istanbul Process" working group on combating terrorism in Afghanistan, as well as chairing the Istanbul Process counter-narcotics working group.

In September, Russia's FSB hosted the "Guardian-2012" demonstration and detection-related exercise. Held under the auspices of the GICNT, the event brought together representatives of approximately 45 of its member states and international organizations. In addition to plenary and panel discussions, the event featured a day-long demonstration of Russian technology and procedures to detect and prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear materials. Russia is also a member of the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (GP), and will chair the initiative in 2013. The underlying goal of the GP is to fund programs and activities that combat WMD terrorism.

Within ASEAN, Russia was important in advancing the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, and is actively advocating progress towards a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone. In addition to the annual Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) exercise, Russia also participated in CSTO exercises in Kazakhstan simulating a domestic terrorism situation.

The Russian security services have begun to implement a security plan to protect the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. In October, the Sochi Olympic Organizing Committee held the first briefing for the diplomatic community, and in November held the first session of the Sponsor Security Working Group for the marketing partners of the 2014 Winter Games, which is a smaller multilateral working group that will meet quarterly and continue through the Olympics.

In October, the Russian Federation hosted a high-level gathering of law enforcement and intelligence professionals from many countries. In May, the U.S. Deputy Director of National Intelligence attended a Security Council forum in St. Petersburg, where he discussed cooperation in counterterrorism with senior leaders.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Government of Russia has adopted an overarching plan for the socio-economic development of the North Caucasus through 2025. In December, North Caucasus Presidential Envoy Alexander Khloponin stated that 90 percent of the funding for a 13-year, US $80.9 billion development program will come from private industry, with Rosneft cited as an early contributor. As outlined, the program will improve economic opportunity in the region. In partnership with Russian universities, the government also plans to establish new programs to improve vocational training and education in the region.


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