Russia cuts police force by 10 percent

RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov
Russia’s police force will be cut by 10 percent, according to a new decree reducing the Interior Ministry’s maximum staff size, which has just been signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The maximum number of police staff to be financed from the federal budget now amounts to just over 1 million people according to the new ordnance issued by President Putin on Monday and published on the Interior Ministry’s official website.

With the previous maximum staff size amounting to about 1.1 million employees, the Russian police force now faces a cut of around 10 percent.

Selecting jobs within the police staff to be made redundant is entirely up to the Interior Ministry, the Russian President’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said.

“It’s up to the minister,” Peskov said, adding that the ministry’s “vision in this case is what’s important”.

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The ministry, in turn, has promised to carry out the reduction by eliminating vacant jobs and high level administrative posts, as well as by cutting down on non-departmental security services.

“The number of district police officers, i.e. those that do the fieldwork and directly interact with citizens, will remain unchanged,” the ministry’s press service emphasized.

Laying off the roughly 110,000 police staff members, as required by the new ordinance, will require compensatory payments amounting to 43-45 billion rubles (about $800 million ), said Alexander Khinshtein, a deputy in the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian legislature), as quoted by the Russian Kommersant.

The economic benefit of the cuts will only be seen in 2017-2018, according to an estimate by the Russian Finance Ministry.