Moscow, April 7 (Reuters): President Vladimir Putin told his security chiefs today to ensure Russia does not follow what he said was Ukraine’s example by letting the West use local civil rights groups to foment unrest.
In a speech to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the KGB’s main successor, the former spy called for more vigilance and better counter-intelligence to fight threats ranging from Islamist militants to computer hackers.
But he signalled particularly deep mistrust of the West following protests that toppled Ukraine’s Moscow-backed leader in February during the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War ended in 1991. Accusing the West of funding radical groups in Ukraine that helped to topple President Viktor Yanukovich, he expressed concern that Russia also faced a threat from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) “serving foreign national interests”.
“Russia’s laws today give us the conditions we need for non-governmental and public organisations to work freely and transparently. But we will never accept their being used for destructive purposes,” he said.
“We will not accept a situation like what happened in Ukraine, when in many cases it was through non-governmental organisations that the nationalist and neo-Nazi groups and militants, who became the shock troops in the anti-constitutional coup d’etat, received funding from abroad.”