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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid