President Putin Entrusts European Integration to Key Aide in Security Reshuffle

'Vladimir Putin has entrusted Europe to Viktor Cherkesov,' said Sergei Markov, the director of the Political Research Institute, in an interview for the Vesti Nedeli programme on RTR television. According to Markov, the Russian President has set Cherkesov, who was recently appointed head of the country's new security agency, two strategic tasks: to fight organised crime and ensure that Russia integrates into Europe.

Markov stressed that Russia's integration into Europe 'is a strategic policy area for Vladimir Putin.' The political analyst added that 'one of Europe's main complaints about us is that our borders are not defended against drug traffickers. Viktor Cherkesov will be working in this area, on which the President places particular importance, but a further reorganisation of Russia's security structures cannot be ruled out. In this event Viktor Cherkesov might receive even more clout."