Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Russian Village’s Self-Defense Underlines Failures of Police

Posted by Info on 15/08/2011

President Dmitri A. Medvedev recently ordered a revamp of the force — based on tests of competence and character — that is expected to reduce its size by about 200,000 officers, to just over a million nationwide. A pay increase is planned as a measure of reducing corruption.

But although corruption, inefficiency and sheer laziness can be factors in poor policing, a more fundamental issue makes significant reform unlikely, said Mr. Kosals of the Higher School of Economics. The underlying problem is that the security forces in Russia are structured to safeguard the social order rather than to protect and serve citizens.

Residents in the rural Russian village of Sagra, who had to band together to protect themselves from criminals in the absence of police protection.

Since then, Sagra has become a catchword for a spate of violence around the country in which people have banded together to defend themselves in the absence of police protection. “What’s going on in this country is that the government isn’t protecting anyone.”

Trust in the police is so low that only 40 percent of victims report their crimes whether they involve robbery or car theft or pickpocketing or more serious offenses.

In December, the symbol of local lawlessness was a village called Kushchevskaya, where a family of 12 was slaughtered by a gang that had ties to the police.

Aleksei Makarkin, vice president of the Center for Political Technologies:
“People understand that it’s safer for their personal careers to keep quiet than make a mistake that could damage their political futures. Society demands people who are capable of decisive actions in pursuit of noble aims, even if it’s not always strictly legal.”


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