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11 Nov, 2009 07:00

Video address of “ordinary cop” triggers massive police abuse check

A special commission has started a check of the interior department in southern Russia’s Krasnodar region, after a local police detective issued videos disclosing abuses of power by local law enforcement authorities.

On November 7, Police Major Aleksey Dymovsky posted scandalous videos on the Internet, where he accused his chiefs and colleagues of corruption.

Addressing “honest police officers” and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin personally, he said that it is common practice for his chiefs to force the staff to: “work on weekends without any monetary reward”; “solve nonexistent crimes”; and “jail innocent people to improve statistics.”

In particular, he confessed that he was awarded the Major title in return for a promise to imprison a person he knew was innocent.

Also, Dymovsky tried to draw people’s attention to the problems that police officers face themselves. He said they often get fired in situations that other people never do, and in general are treated “like cattle.”

Dymovsky added he has been recently refused medical help because the local police authorities ordered doctors not to treat policemen as it “decreases the percentage of solved crimes.”

“Vladimir Vladimirovich, I am addressing you to ask you to carry out an independent investigation throughout Russia. I am ready to take up the commitment to carry out this investigation. I have many acquaintances in police who care about the truth,” Dymovsky said, formally naming the prime minister.

If entrusted to carry out that investigation, Dymovsky promised to turn the entire life of cops throughout Russia inside out, “with its corruption and all the rest – ignorance, boorishness and recklessness.”

Putin was informed of the video address, but “said nothing, as reacting to such statements is impossible without having checked the claims,” according to the Russian Prime Minister’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as quoted by the media.

As for the local police department, the video address has had the effect of an exploded bomb. For two days they have been carrying out an investigation ordered by Russia’s Interior Ministry, and on Sunday evening, November 8, they said that Dymovsky’s accusations are groundless and that he had “slandered his colleagues.”

On the same evening, Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Valery Gribakin told Itar-Tass news agency that Krasnodar region police chief Sergey Kucheruk has made a decision to fire Dymovsky “for slander.”

Gribakin also said that the Ministry has created a special commission from the central police department which will start a complex internal check of the Novorossiysk police on Monday.

On November 9, the Investigative Committee at the Russian Public Prosecutor's Office said that they are carrying out a pre-investigation check of Dymovsky’s accusations.

According to Dymovsky, back in 2006 he tried to ask Putin during his Q&A session, “When will the police abuses be stopped in Krasnodar region?”, and after that was pressured by his chiefs and forced to say that his question “was a mistake.”

Dymovsky also said that at the moment he is under psychological pressure and a tail has been put on him.

Dymovsky’s video address has indeed evoked a wide public response and is setting website traffic records.

At a press conference in Moscow, he claimed: “The tapes attracted so much attention, and that is just great.”

Russia has recently suffered a string of violent crimes by policemen which have stirred society, the most notorious of these being Major Denis Yevsyukov’s shooting massacre in a supermarket last April.

The more recent ones include the shooting of two teenagers by a traffic police officer in the Republic of Tyva at the end of October, and the murder of a girl by a criminal police officer in the city of Omsk several weeks earlier.

Both cases attracted as much attention as the Novorossiysk case. And in both cases regional chiefs of police were fired on President Medvedev's orders.

Interior Ministry officials are prepared for a legal battle, and say that Dymovsky will have to present more than just his words as proof.

“He's been serving in the rank of a major, he's not a novice. He should know that if his accusations are based solely on his opinions and personal motives, then, naturally, he may be held responsible for his statements,” claims Oleg Yelnikov, Russian Interior Ministry spokesman.