Russian police attitude towards demonstrators

By Slava Tsukerman

Every several days lately Russian media discusses some scandal connected to police activity. It seems that tortures of suspects became routine in the Russian police precincts.  Not long ago a seemingly innocent man died in Kazan, after the investigating police officers inserted a champagne bottle in his anus.

Policemen have very low salaries and corruption became their main source of livelihood. Any person arrested in the street; hoodlum, thief or innocent passerby; knows that one can get released only by paying an officer a certain sum of money.

At the same time police are the thugs crashing numerous meetings and rallies against Putin’s government.  According to the last pool 58% Russians believe that the protest movement is going to stay on current level or grow. So Putin publicly rewards those policemen who fight protesters.

What do the members of the Russian police forces think about the situation in the country?

During one of the last meetings, a theater critic and journalist Arthur Solomonov managed to take an anonymous interview with a policewoman, a lieutenant. He published it in his blog. Here is the translation of some fragments of this unique interview:

––  Do your colleagues discuss recent highly publicized scandals concerning police corruption and violence?

– No. We rarely discuss anything…  Also we have no heart-to-heart conversations. Even our celebrations mostly pass in silence. Toast — and then silence.

– There is a lot of talk in the media about the corruption of judges. What do your colleagues think about it?

–  We see more corruption in the Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee. That’s where really corrupt people sit!

– What is your attitude towards protest demonstrations and their goals?

– Negative.

– Does it mean that you like everything that is happening in our country?

– We totally don’t like it!  Neither I nor my colleagues. Putin has deceived us. He promised us proper salary and didn’t give it. And it is not the only cause of our dissatisfaction with him – we do not like him or his politics. There is no such thing as a satisfied Russian policeman. Not even one. But I don’t understand how such rallies can make a difference.

If we are not going to arrest participants of rallies we are fired. Before May 6 demonstration, we had one guy stood up in the morning and said: “I will not go. I don’t want to rough ordinary citizens. I am not paid for this.” He was fired in two hours!

None of us wants to go to these meetings, because we are not paid for it. One stands there till midnight, being cursed, humiliated and even becoming an object of violence, and when all is finished, there is no even transportation to take us home!

Government gives a lot of money for anti rally operations, but these monies are stolen before they come to us.

– Do police sense alienation from citizens?

– Yes.

– Is that bad?

Probably it is not good or bad. It doesn’t matter.

– Can it change?

– I have little faith that the people’s attitude to the police can change. Here’s at my birthday a full bus of my colleagues in their uniforms came to congratulate me. They stood at my door singing Happy Birthday. My neighbor came out of her door and said: “So many imbeciles, all in one place!”

When I walk down the street in my uniform, passerbys are whistling, making dirty jesters with their hands…

– Do police sense alienation from the Government?

– Yes, and this is bad. Because the Government does not hear us.

However, if we see people opposing power, we’re arresting them. Recently, some people near Metro Station Studentcheskaia were shouting slogans against the government and the President. We arrested them, explained to them that they shouldn’t yell, shouldn’t have posters, slogans. And then we have released them. No fines.

– Do you think a citizen cannot say that he is against the authorities?

– Of course he can. He has his right.

– Why can’t he do it with a poster?

– I do not know. (Laughs.)

– It means you were instructing people that they cannot express their views through posters and slogans, but actually you think they can do it?

– Who cares what I think? I’m at work.

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Updated: July 7, 2012 — 9:23 am

1 Comment

  1. Out of curiosity, who in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is going to care about the inner issues going on in Russia? I’m not understanding the need for this series of articles.

    EDITOR: RealReporting.org has a wider audience than just Lancaster. And if the supposition is true, it doesn’t speak that well for Lancaster…albeit probably accurate.

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