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The Police Corporation

Writing in the Financial Times, Charles Glover has a must-read article on the deepening viciousness of corruption in Russia, where the most dangerous thing that someone can do is go public and announce their victimhood.  In particular, Glover sheds light on the story of Fedor Mikheeva, who has been sentenced to 11-years in Siberia for having dared to file charges against police officers who had kidnapped him in 2006.

“The police are nothing more than a big gang, a separate corporation,” says Ms Mikheeva, a Moscow travel agent and mother of two who struggles to make ends meet with her husband in prison. “They used to enforce an ideology, now they are just out to make money – and no one can get in their way.”

Russians seem to agree they are increasingly hostage to their law enforcement agencies, whose powers have grown exponentially in the last decade under the rule of Vladimir Putin, former president and now prime minister, who himself was a KGB spy. A June poll by the Levada Center, a research organisation, asked: “Do you feel protected against arbitrary actions by the police, tax inspectors, courts, and other government structures?” In response, 43 per cent said “not really” and 29 per cent said “definitely not”. (…)

Mrs Mikheeva acknowledges the risks of going public with the story of her husband, but says she seeks justice: “My husband was a hostage in an extremely dirty game. We’re not just talking about theft – we’re talking about destroyed lives.”