"Ten Western terrorist plots against Karelia over last half year," says Russian security chief Patrushev
One of Russia’s most powerful men this week paid a visit to the Republic of Karelia, the region located along Russia’s border to Finland.
Nikolai Patrushev is Secretary in the Russian Security Council and a close ally of Vladimir Putin since the 1990s.
In a meeting on national security held in Petrozavodsk, the Karelian capital, Patrushev warned against terrorist attacks from the West.
“In Karelia, ten crimes of terrorist character planned by “westerners” and Ukrainian special services have been averted only over the last half year,” Patrushev said.
He claims that western security services are deliberately trying to stir separatist tensions with the aim of destabilising the political situation in the region.
And the foreign services are especially working towards youth, he argues.
“On social media, separatist calls are propagated [and] western special services’s sabotage and terrorist pursuit in the region constitute a security threat to population,” the security chief said.
Patrushev’s meetings in Karelia are covered by regional government newspaper Respublika.
According to Nikolai Patrushev, additional measures must now be taken to disclose and avert terrorist activity in the region. And effort should be concentrated on transport infrastructure, as well as energy objects and objects of biological and chemical character. Also teaching institutions and public places of mass gathering of people must be given priority, he underlined.
The Republic of Karelia has close historical ties with neighbouring Finland and cross-border relations thrived through much of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Patrushev’s visit to Karelia comes just four months after Finland joined NATO.
It is not the first time that the national security strongman warns against implications of the Finnish membership in the alliance.
In June 2022, Patrushev called on a higher level of protection of the border to Finland and the Nordic countries, as well as with the Baltic states.
“In connection with the emergence of new threats following the possible membership in NATO of Finland and Sweden, the shutdown of cross-border cooperation by European countries with our country, as well as in connection with the lack of official demarcation of the border between Russia and Estonia, additional measures are needed on the streamlining of forces and equipment for the protection of the state border,” Patrushev underlined.
Judging from reports from this week’s meeting, the alleged terrorist threats against Karelia were not substantiated or given evidence, and must be seen as part of Russia’s efforts to disinform and mislead its population and create fear and animosity towards neighbouring countries.
During his visit to Karelia this week, Patrushev also met with regional Governor Arturo Parfenchikov and Presidential Aide to Northwest Russia Aleksandr Gutsan.
Nikolai Patrushev is known as hardliner and ultraconservative, and as one of the most ardent opponents of democracy and civil liberties.
Before his appointment to the Security Council in 2008, Patrushev headed the FSB for nine years.
On numerous occasions, the man who also has rank of army general has lashed out against the West and claimed that Russian sovereignty and its so-called ‘traditional value system’ is under threat.
About half a year before Russia’s large-scale attack on Ukraine, Patrushev said that “the overarching objective of the West is to “destroy the multi-national family of the Russian [rossiiskie] peoples, suppress its traditional spiritual and moral orientations” and ultimately “undermine state sovereignty.”