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Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

Medvedev urges police to step up fight against terrorism

Scene Outside Moscow Airport After Terrorist Attack, with Reporters, Security Personnel and DogMOSCOW, February 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday the fight against terrorism, as well as efforts to combat extremism, organized crime and corruption were priorities for the country's law enforcement agencies.

During the meeting with Interior Ministry officials, Medvedev also announced that he had signed into law a police reform bill.

"The new law widens significantly the powers of police structures in ensuring security in public places. I hope police bodies will use these powers with the maximum efficiency," the president said.

Medvedev strongly criticized both the Interior Ministry and airport security staff after a recent suicide attack at Moscow's Domodedovo airport that killed 36 and wounded dozens. On Monday he said security issues were being handled "unprofessionally" and "unacceptably."

The president also said that all attempts to instigate national and religious hatred should be "harshly curtailed."

"We should not give extremists any chance to destabilize the situation in the country, especially during important public events," he said.

Large-scale race-riots hit Moscow in mid-December, with a 5,000-strong crowd of nationalists and football hooligans gathering in downtown in protest against the "poor" police response to the killing of a Moscow football fan by an internal migrant from the North Caucasus.

Medvedev also urged the Interior Ministry to "improve significantly" the effectiveness of its efforts against organized crime. In several Russian regions, he said, criminal structures have incorporated with business and power elites making it impossible to distinguish them from one another.

He also called again on law enforcers to step up their efforts in tackling corruption. About half of claims that he receives from citizens point to "endless extortions" by police and other officials, he said.

"We should eliminate these corrupt schemes and unveil attempts to embezzle government funds," he said.

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