Vladimir Putin on Law-Enforcement Reforms - 11 March, 2003 - News

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the fight against terrorism and illegal drug trafficking is a government priority. At a meeting with government members in the Kremlin he indicated that "we can't consider that government efforts are consistent and co-ordinated in this sphere." "A decision was made to set up an independent federal body, a state committee on drugs and psychotropic substances trafficking control," the president said. The Federal Tax Service will be canceled with the new body assuming control over its material and technical basis and personnel.

The interior ministry will be charged with identification and prevention of tax offences, the president said.

Russia's Federal Frontier Service will be placed under the control of the Federal Security Service. There is also a plan to abolish the Federal Agency of Government Communication and Information, with its powers being distributed between the FSB and the Defence Ministry.

A state committee for state defence order will be established under the Defence Ministry. It will be responsible for state order for conventional arms. "We discussed it both in the Government and the Security Council taking into account the pros and cons of it and winning the support of all law-enforcement agencies," the president said.

The president signed relevant decrees on Tuesday, which will call for amendments to legislative acts. Today draft laws will be submitted to the State Duma, Vladimir Putin said.