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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs