Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev warns of a growing terrorist threat in the Russian region of Siberia.
“The issues we will study today are also important for providing security for citizens and the state. It is caused by the growing level of terrorist activity in the region and the high probability of the infiltration of members of international terrorist organizations in Siberian regions, as well as the growth of the intensity of labor migration from the Central Asian countries,” Patrushev stated at a conference in Novosibirsk on October 24.
“The incoming information shows that facilities located in the district’s entities are in the sight of international terrorist and extremist organizations.”
In the nine months of 2018, authorities launched 56 criminal cases for terror-related crimes in the Siberian Federal District. According to Presidential Plenipotentiary Representative in the Siberian Federal District Sergei Menyailo, the number of such crimes grew by 70% compared to the same time frame last year, whereas the average level across the country dropped by 10.5%.
According to Patrushev, in the first half of 2018 prosecutors detected more than 9,000 violations of counter-terrorism laws in Siberia. Additionally, more than one-third of facilities – mainly cultural, sports and religious facilities – and territories in the district failed to comply with the anti-terrorism security requirements.
In July 2018, the Security Council secretary warned of the growing terrorist threat in the Republic of Crimea due to actions of the so-called Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (based in Ukraine) and activities of other Ukrainian radicals.
Over the past few years, Russian security forces have cracked down on a wide network of cells and agents linked to the Ukrainian intelligence or affilated entities in Crimea. This network was working to carry out terrorist attacks and acts of sabotage in Crimea.
It is interesting to note that during the past 15 years, Siberia was the region with the lowest level of the terrorist threat in Russia. The situation was stable despite that western Siberia borders the Central Asian state of Kazakhastan.
The abovementioned remarks of the Security Council secretary are mostly linked to the deteriorating security situation in the Central Asia and the increased activity of ISIS and al-Qaeda the region, including Kazakhstan. At the same time, the flow of labor migrants has always existed in the region and has not had a significant impact on the security.
Another fact influencing the current situation in Siberia is that the region has become a soft target for terrorists because there is a lower level of the counter-terrorism alarmism in comparison to the regions of southern and central Russia.