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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs