Sunday, March 7, 2010

Update on Russia’s Corruption Cop

According to Russia’s RIA Novosti news service, Major Alexei Dymovsky, the former police officer from the southern Russian city of Novorossiisk who shot to fame after posting a plea on YouTube to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin begging him to investigate rampant police corruption, was scheduled to be released from jail on Sunday. Shortly after appearing at a press conference in Moscow following his YouTube appeal, Dymovsky was fired from his police job on charges of libel and attacking the reputation of the police force. He was subsequently arrested on charges of abuse of office during his time as a police officer.

Dymovsky claimed that his superiors forced police officers to routinely report solving non-existent crimes to boost the crime clearance rate of the department; Dymovsky himself said he got his promotion to major after prosecuting a man he knew to be innocent on the orders of his superiors. He also claimed that officials ignored widespread corruption on the police force and even rented out on-duty police officers to work as private security agents. He has been in jail since late January, and could face up to 10 years in prison. RIA Novosti reports that Dymovsky will be placed under house arrest after signing a pledge not to leave Novorossiisk before his trial.

Meanwhile on Saturday 150, or 1,000, demonstrators – depending on whether you accept the figures provided by the Moscow police or the protest organizers – gathered in the capital to demand reform of the nation’s police forces. Russia’s official government Ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, was among the protesters who were calling for the resignation of the nation’s Interior Minister (who oversees Russia’s police forces) and for the end of the “persecutions” of honest police officers. Unlike many protests not sanctioned by the government, there were no reports of arrests at the anti-corruption rally.
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