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2 Apr, 2010 14:37

Medvedev calls for crackdown on terrorists’ accomplices

Dmitry Medvedev called for a crackdown on people who provide any assistance to terrorists. The comments come just 4 days after the bombings in Moscow and Dagestan killed at least 50 people and left over 120 injured.

“It's not important what they do – be it cook the soup or wash the clothes for terrorists – they have committed a crime. When we are talking about such crimes, there cannot be any leniency depending on the role played,” said Dmitry Medvedev in a meeting with leaders of parliamentary parties on Friday.

President Medvedev has suggested toughening the legislation and outlined measures of fighting against terrorism during his recent visit to Dagestan. After his visit to Dagestan, the president has concluded that “the situation in Dagestan is now stable.”

Dmitry Medvedev also said, he is confident that those responsible for the recent terrorist acts will soon be found. “The FSB director informed me yesterday that the investigation is advancing quite quickly. Let's see what results will be achieved,” said Medvedev, adding, “as far as militant nests are concerned, our policy will remain unchanged – we will carry out operations and eliminate them without any hesitation.” The Russian Federal Security Service earlier reported that they know who is behind the recent terrorist acts and they have already detained several people in connection with the crimes.

As the for the punishment measures for terrorists, the leader of the Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov has suggested applying capital punishment, which is currently banned in Russia. Medvedev countered, however, saying the use of the death penalty is impossible in Russia due to its adherence to international conventions.

“Those who have committed terrorist acts should be held responsible for them, but as for the death penalty we have our own responsibilities”, said Medvedev. “If it had been in the nineties, probably my answer would have been different," he added.

He also reiterated, it's incorrect to link terrorism to the social-economic situation in the North Caucasus: “The question is what kind of spiritual education people are getting, what kind of Islam or other religion there is in our country. To blame only the social situation for causing terrorism is very short-sighted.”

Responding to the comments made by the leader of Fair Russia party Sergey Mironov, who has criticized the media for blaming the authorities for failing to prevent those attacks, Medvedev said that he was not surprised by the media’s reaction: “There is nothing special in the media criticism of the law enforcement agencies, the special services, and the authorities in general for such significant crimes. It is normal.”

He emphasized that the consolidation of public opinion is important against terrorist acts and believes the problem “lies in a different realm”:

“The issue is that it is not accepted in civilized society to oppose counter-terrorism and civil society, people’s lives. That can lead us to absolutely immoral conclusions.”

Medvedev has also called on the mass media to be more cautious when choosing the terminology while covering terrorist acts. His initiative was supported by the party leaders. Thus, speaker of the State Duma Boris Gryzlov and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that for instance the word “shahid” is being incorrectly used. “The word ‘shahid’ in Islam means hero,” said Vladimir Zhirinovsky, stressing that this world should not be used when referring to terrorists.