“MOSCOW: On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the “courageous” spies of the world as he visited the Foreign Intelligence Service headquarters to celebrate his 100th birthday.
In the middle of the uproar surrounding the work of the country’s security forces, Putin, who spent much of the coronavirus outbreak at his residences outside the Russian capital and on the Black Sea, visited SVR headquarters in southern Moscow.
SVR, Russia’s foreign security service, which replaced the KGB’s First Chief Executive Office in 1991, is marking its centennial on Sunday. But December 20 is also the day in Russia when all members of the security services, including those of the FSB’s national intelligence agency, are feted in the region.
Putin, himself a retired KGB officer, spoke outside the headquarters of the SVR, praising all those who defend Russia from “external and internal threats” and calling them “reliable and courageous people.”
For Russia, the effective role of defence bodies controlled by law and national interests has always been and will be of extraordinary importance,” he said. “It’s one of the most important guarantees of our multinational society’s sovereign, democratic and independent development,” Putin added.
The 66-year-old president of the Kremlin admired the work of the SVR, which he said had shaped both Russia and the world’s past.
He said he relied on foreign intelligence to continue combating “potential threats” against Russia, but in a rare public rebuke, he also said the service should “increase the quality of its analytical papers.” Putin said he should continue to behave “decisively” to address representatives of the FSB domestic intelligence and other anti-terror agencies.