Crime and Punishment

Amid the aftermath of the bungled Anna Politkovskaya murder trial, which one Moscow Times columnist says might be disconcertingly rewarding to “certain members of the liberal opposition who take joy whenever the government reveals its gross negligence and incompetence,” the Georgian media reports on a new survey in which small and mid-size Russian businesses say they are twice as likely to face illegal activity from government officials as opposed, you know, to ordinary criminals.

From Georgian Daily:

“Put in its simplest terms, Novyye Izvestiya journal’s Nikolai Dzis-Voynarovsky said in reporting these findings today, ‘…law enforcement personal are [now] interfering with business twice more than are bandits,’ a reflection of a rise in illegal actions by the former and a more or less constant number of attacks by the latter.”

The article mentions another recent study. In December, a poll by the Public Verdict Foundation found that most Russians blame law enforcement for the rise in crime, and “…it showed that from a third to three-quarters of them lumped together the militia with the procuracy and the FSB, a pattern that suggests Russians could come to blame a central prop of the regime for the actions of the militia.

Meanwhile, RIA Novosti reports today that “One in four crimes involving the Armed Forces and other security departments in Russia was committed by officers last year causing over 2 billion rubles ($55.8 million) in losses…

“Last year so called ‘officer’ crime rose by a third, officers committed every fourth crime, with more than two-thirds involving corruption. The majority of these were offenses involving military property, embezzlement, bribery and forgery…,” Sergei Fridinsky, a military prosecutor, said.