President Vladimir Putin hailed Russian spies on their professional holiday Wednesday, saying they have thwarted more than 60 terror attacks in Russia this year.
In a Kremlin speech marking the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, Putin emphasized that it and Soviet-era successor agencies such as the KGB were an "inalienable part of our history."
Putin served with the KGB for 16 years and briefly headed the main state security agency that followed it, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, before his ascent to the presidency. He said in his speech that "no matter how the times were changing, the majority of people who chose that difficult profession were true patriots and defenders of the state."
The Russian leader underlined that the fight against terrorism is a top priority, noting that Russia would continue working to "resolutely neutralize hotbeds of international terrorism" following its campaign in Syria.