For some time now I’ve been following the interesting story of the Russian police major Alexei Dymovsky, who became an overnight internet celebrity last November after posting YouTube videos denouncing the plague of corruption within the country’s police forces (see the clip below which includes subtitles), and making a direct pledge to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to take action. The rewards for this whistle blower have been quite harsh – he was sacked, sued, and now today, RIA Novosti is reporting that a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
The probe and draconian arrest warrant against Dymovsky are symptomatic of the increasingly bitter civilian-police relations in Russia this month, which exploded into violence after Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev gave an ambiguous speech about how innocent citizens should be able to defend themselves if they had not committed a crime.
Isn’t the Kremlin messing around with the wrong issue here? Unlike jailing businessmen, stealing companies, or other selective state corruption, the problem of police harassment and their ubiquitous demands for bribes are extremely common and resented by a great majority of the populace. Going after this one brave whistle blower, who only denounced an issue of great public concern and consensus, threatening lawsuits and jail time only sows even more distrust between citizens and the institutions of the state.