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Grigory Pasko: Russia’s Police Become Touchable

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Recently President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the firing of Viktor Grechman, a police Major-General of the Tomsk Oblast. Serving as the motive for this, as is not difficult to guess, was the murder of local journalist Konstantin Popov, who passed away after the latest maniac-cop had given him a beating.

Judging by the words of Grechman himself, he had no intent of ending his public service career with the MVD. “For thirty-nine years I have worked in the organs of internal affairs… When all the decisions that are in my competence will be adopted, the leadership of the MVD will give me an assessment,” he confidently announced to the media.

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And so, Medvedev did not wait around for Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev and Grechman himself to sort out «the whole situation» – instead he went above their heads and personally ordered the firing.  And this is right: the situation is at hand.


All the more so given that they had already posed to comrade Grechmana question on account of his dismissal. This had been in the year 2007after the murder of the businessman Igor Vakhnenko. (I remind readersthat police major-general Gennady Nikiforov killed the Tomskentrepreneur/gold-industrialist Vakhnenko in September of the year 2007 during an interrogation in his office). Even back then they were asking Grechman, does notdismissal loom for him? The UVD chief replied:

«– If one is to examine the work not of the police, but of any otherlarge collective. At a plant a director can answer for an action ofeach of several thousand subordinates? … That’s just how it is withNikiforov. I myself did not even know him personally… And with respectto the work of the police as a whole I can say precisely that the purgein the organs of internal affairs is going to be made more severe.Employees of the department of own security and of the inspectorate forpersonal composition [comparable to “internal affairs” divisions inAmerican police departments–Trans.] will be more thoroughly checkingthose whom we take to work and watching after those who consist onservice at the present time».

That is, the killer of the journalist – this is already a result of the«thorough» selection process into the Tomsk police and a result ofwatching after their work by police management?

While we’re on the subject, about the leadership of the MVD. As Iunderstand, it was not intending to dismiss Gretschman – either in theyear 2007, or after the murder of the journalist Popov…

The leadership – this is Rashid Nurgaliyev. That same one whosedismissal is already clearly overdue. But Rashid Gumarovich, despitethe fact that he is in the MVD system for just 8 years, will not bedismissed. And it’s not that Gretschman is of less value to the system.The fact is that Gretschman – is just a plain policeman, albeit achief. While Nurgaliyev – is KGB. Feel the difference?

I, by the way, am not sure that dismissing Nugraliyev would changeanything in the essence of the police system in our country. So they’llinstall another Nurgaliyev from that same FSB. So the cynical premierwill say that they don’t have other policemen for you and me, as hesaid once about the FSB: it is the way our people are. Here,apparently, a different approach is necessary. Not only the head of theMVD needs to be changed, but also the system of training, of selectingpersonnel, the system of undergoing service and the system ofpunishments for policemen who have violated the law. In the law is saidthat for the murder of an employee the punishment is more severe. Letus suppose this is right. But then it should be said in the law that apoliceman who has violated the law must also bear punishment more sternthan a citizen not unmasked with epaulets, a weapon and power. What isneeded is not to let cops off easy, as this happens now everywhere, butto lock them up to the hilt, in an adult manner, with all thestrictness our humane courts are capable of (and they are capable!)

If even then the system does not change, then we need to look at theleadership, which is higher. And then sack them. In strict accordance withthe words of «leader of the nation» Mr. Vladimir Putin – «this is not a caste ofuntouchables».

Photo: Viktor Grechman (source)