Activists urge FSB to launch nationwide anti-terrorist public movement

The Federal Security Service building (former KGB) on Lubyanka Square in Moscow. © Vitaliy Belousov
The Russian Public Chamber has proposed giving ordinary citizens a larger role in the anti-terrorist effort by creating a national movement that would help security services and prevent the spreading of extremist ideas in the community.

The initiative comes from the chairman of the Public Chamber’s commission for social and labor politics Vladimir Slepak. He addressed the director of the Federal Security Service and to the head of the National Anti-Terror Committee and offered help in strengthening public safety.

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In particular, Slepak suggests that schools and universities start giving lessons on fighting terrorism, that public organizations launch an inspection of all laws regulating the national anti-terror effort and also that the safety certificates of all infrastructure sites without exception were urgently audited with public discussion of these documents.

Another of Slepak’s proposals was to start and support a public organization that would cut short any attempts by terrorists to spread their ideas on social networks.

It is impossible to defeat terrorism only by police details and security operatives. By launching a wide public anti-terror coalition we will be able to find resources for solving this global problem,” the activist said in comments with Izvestia daily.

MP Svetlana Zhurova of the State Duma’s International Relations Committee said that although the security services could use some help from ordinary citizens it was important to limit the powers of such aides in order to prevent the possibility of extrajudicial actions.

It would be regrettable if as a result of our fight we receive something similar to the recent sad experience when teams of vigilantes attempted to apply arbitrary punishment to their suspects. This is against the law and can also hamper the work of security agencies – for example, if activists try to stop a suicide bomber themselves they are likely to scare away all accomplices and thwart an important operation,” Zhurova told Izvestia.

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Russia’s Federal Security Service, the FSB, cooperates with members of the public by offering money for information about future attacks prepared by terrorists. The amount of the award is decided by the FSB officers for every case depending on the importance of the information provided and the part that the awarded person played in a particular anti-terrorist operation.