(Lecturer, Communication Management Specialization, Faculty of Philosophy, Lomonosov Moscow State University)
Today the important role of information and communication in the provision of national and international security is recognized at a global level. Unfortunately, the terrorists today are often more efficient at controlling the behavior of public by means of communication than are state security forces. Thus, to successfully counter terrorism, it is necessary to understand the motives of new recruits’ joining terrorist organizations, which requires not only an analysis of the economic basis of terrorism, but also a research of the ideology and communication aspects of terrorist activities.
At the same time, to counter the recruitment of new terrorists, law enforcement agencies should promptly inform the public about the current situation and explain the nature and extent of the threat posed by terrorist organizations and their advocates. Communication Management – “communication management is above all the professional target groups and capital management by means of communications” (Pashentsev, 2012, p. 12) – can provide systematic communication security against terrorism.
While working on this article, we have interviewed Oleg Khlobustov, the expert of National and International Security Foundation. He noted that the media are an important tool of communication with the public in the fight against terrorism. The media can and should acquaint citizens with the legal regulations (in particular, with the content of the law «On Combating Terrorism»), to explain the necessity and legality of the measures taken by law enforcement agencies in terms of the terrorist threat. For example, the inspection of vehicles by police during counter-terrorism operations (see more: Federal Law No.35-FZ, article 11) can be perceived as a repressive measure by those who are not familiar with the rules of law. The media can really help by clarifying the legality of such “extraordinary measures” (“ad hoc regulation”) and, at the same time, urging the citizens to be more vigilant and to help in the search for the suspects.
The main counter-terrorist structure in Russia is the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, which was established by the Law “On the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation”, dated April 3, 1995. FSB includes the National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC), whose first meeting was held on March 7, 2006. Establishment of the NAC has become a new step in the development of analytical frameworks in the fight against terrorism in Russia.
There are two main areas of communication management in the security services of the Russian Federation. The first one is the management of the distribution of information within the network of professional security personnel and experts. The second one is working with external target audiences. In the counter-terrorist struggle, both directions are actively developed by the FSB of Russia. This is reflected in the NAC structure, which today consists of four departments:
• Directorate for the Coordination of Counterterrorist Activities;
• Directorate for the Coordination of Terrorism Prevention;
• Directorate for Information and Analysis;
• Information Centre of the NAC.
Function of the exchange of information is performed by two latter departments. The NAC Directorate for Information and Analysis distributes information within the organization. Today its main functions are:
• Analytical work in the field of counter-terrorism;
• Development and maintenance of automated information systems in the field of counter-terrorism;
• Managing the implementation of the federal target program «Anti-Terror (2009 – 2013)». (NAC Structure).
Since the establishment of the FSB NAC, the communication aspect of his work was presented, first of all, by work with internal audience: for subject matter specialists engaged in the fight against terrorism, there was an interdepartmental publication with limited access. As for the public edition designed to interact with wide audience, it is the “Herald of the National Antiterrorism Committee” (NAC Information Center Briefing). For the exchange of information within the expert network, academic conferences on various aspects of counter-terrorism are held. One of the most recent conferences held in Moscow in October 2012 was devoted to countering the spread of terrorist ideology.
The main barrier to working with external target audiences can be called the excessive secrecy of Russian special services that prevailed for a long time. That was a reason for a serious delay in the development of a communication management system, which, in turn, brought about the delay in the dissemination of the official point of view of law enforcement agencies on the issue of terrorism. Thus, the decision to publish the “NAC Herald” was made back on October 14, 2006 (Briefing of the NAC Information Center), but the first issue was not published until the beginning of 2010. NAC Information Center was also established only in 2010, and before that the communication with the media was carried out by the Directorate for Information and Analysis (NAC Herald № 1  2010, p. 51). Of course, this affected the quality of information and communication management. Realizing the importance of the involvement of civilian experts (representatives of the academic community, journalists, specialists in public relations) in information warfare against terrorism, the FSB had only the traditional press center and a number of periodicals (five national and six regional) devoted to the border service (FSB Frontier Guards' Press).
Today, NAC Information Centre performs the following tasks:
• Maintenance of a system of informing the public through the media about the measures taken in case of the commission of (or the threat of committing) an act of terrorism, as well as other terrorist crimes;
• Organization of interaction with the media in the information and communication support of the activities of NAC;
• Countering the proliferation of distorted or incorrect (false) information about the crimes of terrorist nature and events in the field of counter-terrorism among the population ;
• Organizational, informational and analytical support of the operation of the Interagency Group for information support of NAC (NAC Structure).
Since 2008, the response to the terrorist ideology is implemented within the framework of a comprehensive interagency plan of informational countering terrorism in the Russian Federation. The central role in this regard given to advocacy work, which involves the establishment of education, science and culture, social and religious organizations, the media. For example, in June 2012 at the Academy of Professional Development and Retraining of Education (Moscow) was held a round table devoted to the topic “Creating anti-terrorist ideologies in students of secondary educational institutions. Problems of training and retraining of teachers” (NAC Herald №1  2012, p. 97). There is also an annual prize “Russian Journalists Against Terror”.
In addition to informing the public on measures to combat terrorism, the FSB organizes activities designed to improve the image and reputation of law enforcement agencies in the eyes of the public. Thus, the Russian Federal Security Service holds an annual contest for the best works of literature and art on the activities of the Federal Security Service. In the course of the Tender, the best works are selected, in which the image of security staff is created at a high artistic level and their activities are reflected most objectively.
According to Sergey Ignatchenko, head of the FSB Public Relations Center of the Russian Federation, “the competition is designed to create the conditions for dialogue and creative interaction between security services and the art world, especially its part that reflects the images of men in uniform”, as well as to motivate young people with high moral principles to work in law enforcement (Ignatchenko, 2006).
An urgent task for the Russian anti-terrorism structures is the training of new analysts who are able to develop a systematic approach to the use of communication in the fight against terrorism, “to develop and implement innovative solutions that would allow to protect the Internet from extremist content to the maximal extent, without compromising its useful information content” (Ilyin, 2012, p. 11 – 13). Moreover, a positive alternative to the terrorist ideology should be formed and actively used in outreach to citizens, especially the youth.
In Russia, the systematic usage of communication management technologies in the fight against terrorism is undergoing a long and difficult process of establishment, but the importance of these techniques, especially in the framework of international cooperation, has already been recognized.
List of References:
Federal Law No.35-FZ of March 6, 2006 On Counteraction to Terrorism (including changes of July 27, 2006, November 8, 2008, December 22, 2008 and December 30, 2008).
FSB Frontier Guards’ Press (2013), The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, available online at: ps.fsb.ru/smi/smi.htm
Ignatchenko, S. (2006) FSB Award, Arguments and Facts, 06 April.
Ilyin, E. P. (2012) Estimates of terrorist threats, and approaches of the Russian Federation to combat terrorism, NAC Herald №2 .
NAC Central Office (2010), NAC Herald №1  2010.
NAC Information Center Briefing, dedicated to the release of the first issue of the “NAC Herald” and the formation of the NAC Information Center. RIA Novosti. July 6, 2010, National Antiterrorism Committee, available online at: nac.gov.ru/content/4212.html
NAC Structure, National Antiterrorism Committee, available online at: nac.gov.ru/document/842/struktura-apparata-natsionalnogo-antiterroristicheskogo-komiteta.html
Pashentsev, E. N. (2012) Communication management and strategic communications (Moscow, ICSPSC, Slovo Publishers).
The Main Measures in the Counter-Terrorism Area in Russian Federation and Abroad from November, 2011, till June, 2012, NAC Herald №1  2012.