News / Europe

Kremlin Calls for Major Russian Police Reduction

President Medvedev says he has ordered drastic cuts in the Interior Ministry as part of efforts to reform the nation's widely criticized police force. Medvedev said Thursday he had ordered to halve the number of personnel in the ministry's head office to about 10,000.

Multimedia

Audio
Peter Fedynsky

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is calling for major police reforms, including a 50 percent reduction in the number of officials working at Interior Ministry headquarters and sub-units.  The Kremlin leader is also seeking to increase compensation for Interior Ministry police.

President Medvedev says there is a need to eliminate Interior Ministry functions that are redundant or not relevant to police work.

Mr. Medvedev says he has made a decision to cut the number of employees at headquarters and subordinate structures from 19,970 people to 10,000.  He says there will also be a review of functions, which should correspond to the Ministry's current needs, its mission and resources.

Police at an opposition demonstration, Moscow (file)
Police at an opposition demonstration, Moscow (file)

Accordingly, he has sent a bill to parliament that would transfer responsibility for various tasks from the Interior Ministry to other agencies.  These include the expulsion of illegal immigrants, running detoxification centers, and conducting vehicle inspection.

Traffic police in Russia are notoriously corrupt.  In a common practice, which Russians refer to as "grazing," police use vehicle inspection as a pretext to stop drivers at random for bribes.  Low pay has long been considered a reason for motorist shakedowns.  Mr. Medvedev says salary increases are a priority.

The Kremlin leader says decisions should be made shortly about increasing monetary compensation.  He says the government is reviewing specific proposals at his request.  Mr. Medvedev also expresses hope the Russian economy will develop better this year than last, which would allow authorities to address housing shortages among Interior Ministry employees.

He says more than 1.3 million crimes went unsolved in Russia last year.  There include more than 2,000 murders or attempted murders, 760,000 thefts and 124,000 burglaries.

At the same time, Russian criminal psychiatrist Mikhail Vinogradov says virtually every Interior Ministry department is bloated with paper shufflers - a chief, two deputies, a senior expert, secretaries, and junior secretaries.  Vinogradov has been vocal in Russian media about downsizing the country's police forces.  He told VOA he welcomes Mr. Medvedev's initiative, but cautions that some officials will remain corrupt despite higher pay.

Vinogradov says generals at the Defense Ministry have very high salaries and take very large bribes.  It is a different question, he adds, whether a salary increase will change the material situation of most employees.  He says 75 percent of them are honest individuals who simply cannot survive under current conditions.  Vinogradov claims another 20 to 25 percent are thieves and drunks.   

Mr. Medvedev's reform proposal follows a highly publicized series of police crimes, including murders, rapes, and beatings.  There were two instances in just the past week of drunken police officers hitting pedestrians with cars.   

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More