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Purges, Power and Purpose: Medvedev's 2011 police reforms

Mark Galeotti

Résumé

It is an irony that Russia’s weakest president, Dmitri Medvedev, actually also ushered in substantial reform of the military and also began a similar process for the police. His 2011 Law on the Police, which saw the force lose its Soviet-era title militsiia (“militia”), reflected a serious effort to make the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) more legitimate and effective. It was driven not just by widespread lack of faith in the force but also a recognition of the importance of the rule of law for economic development. However, a comparison with the successful defence reform programme highlights the weaknesses of the project, including the lack of a powerful constituency for change within the MVD and a clear concept of reform. Nonetheless, while it is easy to dismiss his reform efforts, in the process, Medvedev brought reform of the police squarely into both the public conversation and the political agenda and encouraged a more open debate about the force’s abuses and flaws. Above all, he demonstrated how modernising the law-enforcement system is also a precondition for a more efficient MVD, a more contended populace and a more dynamic and open economy – all priorities for his predecessor-turned-successor, President Putin.

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Police Reform

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Purges, Power and Purpose: Medvedev's 2011 police reforms

1Dmitri Medvedev’s presidential legacy will be a curious one. His willingness to act as Vladimir Putin’s chair-warmer and meekly step down at the end of his presidency in 2012, allied with his rather awkward style and diminutive stature, combined to leave many willing to consider him an historical irrelevancy. However, the irony is that it was on his watch that post-Soviet Russia embarked upon its first serious and sustained effort at military reform, and likewise a major campaign to modernise the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD). This last was no doubt approved by Putin but which nonetheless seems largely to have been driven by Medvedev and his agenda. It culminated in a new Law on the Police, passed in 2011, which saw the force lose its Soviet-era title militsiia (“militia”) and go through a process of shrinkage and re-accreditation intended to weed out officers unable or unwilling to do their jobs.

  • 1 ITAR-Tass, 28 March 2012; Human Rights Watch, Confession at Any Cost: police torture in Russia, 199 (...)
  • 2 L. Kosals, Police in Russia: reform or business restructuring?, Russian Analytical Digest # 84, 1 (...)
  • 3 Gazeta.ru, 17 February 2010, http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/2010/02/17_a_3325617.shtml. (...)
  • 4 See O. Kolennikova, L. Kosals, R. Ryvkina, Iu. Simagin & D. Wilson, “The ‘economic activities’ of R (...)
  • 5 Izvestiia, 29 May 2012.
  • 6 See J. Cooper, “The Funding of the Power Agencies of the Russian State”, The Journal of Power Insti (...)

2There was certainly a clear need for change. The police force was not only regarded as ineffective, it was widely mistrusted, even feared. According to Presidential human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, human rights organisations received on average 5,000 complaints a year against the police services, while international and domestic human rights organisations alike have repeatedly warned that torture had become commonplace in securing confessions and bribes1. Data from the 2008 European Social Survey showed trust in the police in Russia well below the mean: only Ukraine and Bulgaria scored worse2. Indeed, a Levada Centre survey in 2010 found 99% of Muscovites sampled expressing some form of mistrust in the police, while 67% feared them3. To a considerable extent, this reflected corruption both on an individual level and also the commercialisation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs as a whole, which had made it an economic empire as much as a law-enforcement agency4. Its private security arm, FGUP Okhrana, employed some 60,000 as of spring 2012 and it brought in 14.5 billion rubles ($470 million) in 20105. To an extent, this process of “commercialisation” on both individual and ministerial levels reflected simple economic necessity. Officers’ pay remained relatively low, especially given the rigours of the job, while historically, the MVD had long been the poor relation within the “power ministries”, its budgets rising much less sharply than the military and security services. Between 2006 and 2007, for example, its share of state expenditure rose by a respectable 11%, but this compared with 20% increased spend on the security agencies6.

3This was an intractable problem to address, especially for a president who lacked particular authority over the uniformed services (who were regarded as more the partisans of his dominant prime minister, Putin) and also any particular affinity or experience dealing with the police. Indeed, his lack of experience with and understanding of the MVD would prove problematic when he tried to introduce reform, often having to rely excessively on his interior minister, Rashid Nurgaliev – a man with similarly limited authority within the police and whose commitment to reform rarely extended beyond lip service – and finding his measures prove tokenistic or even leading to unintended problems. Nonetheless, while it is easy to dismiss his reform efforts, especially the 2011 Law on the Police, that he even embarked upon this road demonstrates his willingness to address the long-open gap between police and policed, above all because he regarded it as an obstacle on the way to political and above all economic modernisation.

4The practical achievements of his reforms may well be minimal. The police were renamed, certain underachieving or corrupt officers were dismissed, salaries were increased and new guidelines introduced. However, genuine reform will be a generational process and public suspicion will not easily or quickly be assuaged. A comparison with Medvedev’s more successful military reform will underline the lack of key requirements for effective change, including a clear concept for a reformed police. That said, though, it would be unfair to write the whole campaign off as irrelevant or superficial. In the process, Medvedev brought reform of the police squarely into both the public conversation and the political agenda, encouraged a more open debate about the force’s abuses and flaws and demonstrated how modernising the law-enforcement system is also a precondition for a more efficient MVD, a more contended populace and a more dynamic and open economy – all priorities for his predecessor-turned-successor, President Putin.

Medvedev’s Priorities

  • 7 For an excellent overview, see B. Taylor, State Building in Putin’s Russia, Cambridge University Pr (...)
  • 8 Pravda, 24 December 2009.

5Reform of the law-enforcement apparatus was undoubtedly overdue by the time of Medvedev’s accession to the presidency in 2008. While the overt mob wars of the “wild 1990s” were over, with organised crime adopting a much more low-key approach, the Putin era had seen an almost total concentration on order rather than law.7 Along with other factors ranging from the stabilisation of the economy, this had helped reduce the crime rate and the fear of crime. However, it had done nothing to address the relationship of police to public. It is striking that when announcing his new Law on the Police in December 2009, Medvedev framed the need directly in terms of public good, that “People want to be protected by policemen who are flawless morally and, what is more important, impeccable from the legal point of view, people who can be trusted”8.

  • 9 See B. Taylor, Historical Legacies and Law Enforcement in Russia, PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo # 150, (...)
  • 10 See Th. Gerber & S. Mendelson, Public Experiences of Police Violence and Corruption in Contemporar (...)
  • 11 VTsIOM poll of 1600 respondents, press release 7 July 2010, http://old.wciom.ru/novosti/press-vypus (...)
  • 12 RAPSI, 21 April 2010, http://rapsinews.ru/incident_news/20100421/250007497.html; Moscow Times, 13 J (...)
  • 13 Moscow Times, 13 January 2011, http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/10-year-study-slams-polic (...)
  • 14 Th. Gerber & S. Mendelson, “Public Experiences of Police Violence and Corruption in Contemporary Ru (...)
  • 15 This also contributed to the paramilitarisation of the police in the 1990s; see M. Galeotti, “Russi (...)

6After all, of the key “power ministries”, the MVD was arguably still most like its Soviet predecessor9, with previous changes being essentially relating to administrative reorganisations and personal and factional power struggles rather than any meaningful modernisation. Public unease about the MVD grew through the Medvedev presidency, fuelled in part by a series of high-profile embarrassments, such as police Major Denis Evsiukov’s drunken shooting spree in a Moscow supermarket in 2009, which left three dead, and Alexei Dymovsky’s public broadside against police corruption in his home city of Novorossiisk on Youtube (although he was dismissed and investigated on fraud charges, he started a trend for public denunciations by police whistleblowers). This played into a general public belief that the police remained at best incompetent, at worst corrupt extortionists and heavy-handed Kremlin goons10. Polled in 2010, 44% of Russians wanted to see police reform, and only 22% were fully or partially resistant to the idea11. The official crime rate was falling, to be sure. In 2008, it was down 10.2%, with a 7% fall in 2009 and another 13% in 201012. However, not only has this since been challenged (scholars at the Prosecutor General’s Office Academy, for example, have claimed that the crime rate had actually been growing at a steady 2.4% per year)13 but in some ways it was irrelevant. Russians were not criticising the police so much for an inability to deter or solve crimes but as criminal actors themselves, from the GAI traffic cop shaking down motorists on trivial or imaginary charges through to the police general involved in major financial irregularities. As Mendelson and Gerber found in their study of “predatory policing” in Russia: “Public encounters with police corruption are at least as common as experiences with police violence, and both are widespread… [as] they use their authority to enhance their personal wealth and violently abuse citizens regardless of their ethnicity, political orientation, or social background”14. The drivers of this kind of behaviour were at once economic, cultural and institutional. Bribe-taking was often regarded as the only way to make do given the low levels of police salaries. This was endemic and contributed to a distance of the police from the public – in conversations with serving police, the author has often been struck by the deep sense of bitterness and alienation they feel from a society that tends to hold them at arm’s length15. Beyond that, there was the pernicious effect of the so-called palochnaia sistema, the “stick system”, whereby arrest and clear-up quotas were established for each command, encouraging widespread padding of statistics and, more alarmingly, intimidating, framing and torturing suspects to confess.

  • 16 A further index of this lack of faith in the police is the rolling debate on liberalizing gun contr (...)
  • 17 Rossiiskaia gazeta, 10 August 2007.

7In and of itself, public faith in an institution may not seem to matter in a regime which, if not authoritarian, certainly manages democracy to a high degree. However, just as Putin made it clear that he would not tolerate open bespredel, disorder on Russia’s streets, so too Medvedev seemed to appreciate that a widespread lack of faith in the courts and the judiciary not only led to a variety of counter-productive responses, from a tax evasion to vigilantism16, but also affected how society perceived the utility and legitimacy of the state as a whole17. Both Putin and Medvedev read law at university, but unlike his colleague, Medvedev actually seems to have internalised something of the juridical mindset, and his frequent complaints about Russia’s culture of “legal nihilism” reflected a genuine dismay.

  • 18 Financial Times, 24 December 2008.
  • 19 Utverzhdeny Osnovy gospolitiki Rossii v sfere razvitiia pravovoi gramotnosti i pravosoznaniia grazh (...)

8On the eve of his inauguration, for example, he noted that “Russia is a country where people don’t like to observe the law. It is, as they say, a country of legal nihilism”, and even then drew an explicit connection between this and governance: “We need to make sure that every citizen understands not only the necessity and desirability of observing the law, but also understands that without [this] there cannot be normal development of our state or society”18. This would be a theme to which he would repeatedly return, that not only did “an insufficient level of legal culture and consciousness as well as legal nihilism among Russian citizens pose a serious problem in implementing the rule of law” (and having a police force routinely massage statistics hardly helps the government govern) but that this also affected the development of the country19. This reflected the way Medvedev brought to the Kremlin a more nuanced understanding of economic development and an appreciation of the extent to which corruption, weak property rights and the maintenance of artificial monopolies by extra-legal methods all acted as a serious brake on Russia’s modernisation. In this way, an effective, legitimate and essentially honest police force, coupled with a similarly reformed judiciary, could also act as a force for economic progress and diversification.

9His dilemma seems to have been the classic one: he knew where he wanted Russia to go, but was uncertain quite how to get there. He lacked any experience in law enforcement, had no particularly close allies or mentors within that realm and perhaps also felt uncertain about his authority in this field. Certainly it seems to have been part of the unspoken terms of the Putin-Medvedev “tandem” that the former had primary control over all security-related policy. In this respect, Medvedev was perhaps fortunate that his overshadowing prime minister never had any great interest in the MVD, reserving his enthusiasms more for the military and security agencies.

10In any case, Medvedev’s first effort at police reform was something of a mis-step. On 6 September 2008, he issued decree number 1316, mandating the abolition of the MVD’s Department for Fighting Organised Crime and Terrorism (DBOPT, although still widely known by its old acronym, UBOP) and all its local branches. Investigating organised crime was simply to be rolled into the work of the existing Main Directorate for Criminal Investigation (GUUR) and local investigations staff. DBOPT personnel were to be transferred to a new body with a rather incongruous combination of roles: fighting “extremism” and protecting judicial officials and witnesses, which became the Main Directorate for Combating Extremism (GUPE). For a while, it looked as if this decree might even be ignored. This would not have been a unique case: the MVD’s Main Directorate for Combating Organised Crime (GUBOP) had technically been abolished in 2001 but this was never carried out, and it ended up being rolled into UBOP. However, by the start of 2009, it was clear that Medvedev’s decree had been heeded and DBOPT was no more.

  • 20 Independent, 15 March 2007, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/interior-ministry-oneten (...)
  • 21 RT, 7 September 2009, http://www.rt.com/news/medvedev-demands-tougher-punishment/. (...)

11While a sign that Medvedev could assert his authority over the MVD, it was less clear quite why he chose this particular initiative to prove it. The official line was that organised crime had become a much less serious challenge to Russia, one that could be handled by regular police department. If this was his genuine belief, it was a rather naïve one, though: just the year before, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev, in a speech leaked to Novye Izvestiia, had admitted that organised crime was deeply entrenched in Moscow, St Petersburg, the south of the country and in Siberia, such that “This problem poses a threat to the state, society and the economy”20. Besides which, just over a year after he decreed the abolition of DBOPT, he would be signing into law new measures to impose tougher prison sentences on organised crime figures, suggesting that this was not a problem of the past21.

  • 22 Ezhednevnyi zhurnal, 2 June 2009.

12In part, this could be seen as part of a steady expansion in the breadth and depth of agencies devoted to combating political opposition, as E Centres – local GUPE divisions – were then established within each police regional command22. However, this does not seem to have been a particular priority of Medvedev’s and although it is not possible to confirm this, a senior retired MVD source told the author that this was an initiative pushed on him by Putin. If Medvedev may not have been that excited by the thought of founding GUPE, he certainly did have reason to want to do something with the DBOPT. Even by the questionable standards of the Russian police, it had a poor reputation for its predatory and extortionate pursuit of bribes, often at the expense of fighting crime.

  • 23 This was codified in the Presidential Decree On Issues relating to the Activities of the Investiga (...)
  • 24 For more on this, see Nezavisimaia gazeta, 24 September 2010; Vremia novostei, 24 September 2010; M (...)

13Instead, Medvedev put his faith in the Investigation Committee (SK) of the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), which was made a separate body under direct presidential authority in December 201023. This body is responsible the primary investigations of serious offences and initiating cases. With over 19,000 staff (to rise to over 21,000 in 2012), the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation (SKRF) has since emerged as a relatively hard-line scourge of political dissent and also ideologically and politically far closer to Putin24. However, Medvedev the lawyer demonstrated a belief in the separation of powers: the SK would investigate, the police would keep the streets safe and the PGO would uphold the law and ensure that it was applied. The idea was that this created law-enforcement structures which would be less prone to corruption and arbitrariness. It had to be said that this was founded on a relatively uninformed take on Russian law enforcement itself and considerable naivety about quite how the SKRF would evolve. Nonetheless, it demonstrated two key drivers behind Medvedev’s thinking about law-enforcement reform: the need to address both actual efficiency and also public perceptions, as well as an assumption that the police were a problem as well as an answer.

The 2009 Decree and the 2011 Law

  • 25 Rossiiskaia gazeta, 28 December 2010.
  • 26 For an excellent analysis of the changes to the draft and rival proposals, see K. Rothrock, “The La (...)
  • 27 Rossiiskaia gazeta, 8 February 2011.
  • 28 Pravda, 24 December 2009.
  • 29 For a particularly acute take on this, see Kommersant Vlast’, 31 January 2011, http://www.kommersan (...)

14The cornerstone of Medvedev’s efforts to reform was his 2011 Law on the Police which, in turn, flowed from Presidential Decree 1468 of Thursday 24 December 2009. When he signed this decree, he said it would “enhance the work of the Interior Ministry”, by “specify[ing] organisational changes and changes in certain financial and legal issues”25. While making specific provisions, above all the decree paved the way for a comprehensive new Law on the Police. Unusually, the draft law which was drawn up by August 2010 was then opened for public discussion on the zakonproekt2010.ru website, and some charges were actually made to the final version of the law based on this consultation exercise26. The revised law was submitted to the legislature in October 2010 and passed and signed into law in February 201127. Medvedev himself promised “we need sharp and serious changes”, admitting that the force “undoubtedly needs major, drastic changes”28. The final law was clearly a compromise document, which had gone through changes not just because of parliamentary scrutiny and public consultation, but also because of internal institutional and political debates within the government29. Nonetheless, it broadly embodied Medvedev’s understanding of the underlying problems and his proposed solutions.

  • 30 The figure of 1.4 million is derived from the official statement in August 2011 that the force was (...)
  • 31 This is a rough figure based not just on the literature but on interviews with 6 serving and former (...)
  • 32 ITAR-Tass, 1 August 2011, http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c39/196103.html. (...)

15There were five main elements to the reform this law embodied. The first was a 22% reduction in the size of the police force. On the surface, the police force was a bloated bureaucratic leviathan reminiscent of its Soviet and even tsarist predecessors. Its 1.4 million staff as of 2010 included many paper-pushers and official busybodies, and a cut seemed an obvious move, especially given that it would free up resources for qualitative improvements30. However, the real problem is not over-staffing but inefficient use of resources. If anything, given the size of the country and the scale of the challenges, a case could be made for more officers, not fewer. On the face of it, the MVD’s 2010 establishment strength meant a relatively high ratio of one police officer for every 101 citizens (compared with the UK’s 1:254, for example), but this was deceptive. That 1.4 million included 180,000 Interior Troops, an unknown number of unfilled positions (the highest estimate would be around 40,000) and a larger proportion of office workers compared with active police officers (defined as those who carry a badge and can make an arrest). Again to draw the comparison with the UK, there over half the total strength of 240,000 in 2010 were genuine police. While it is hard to come up with precise figures, the Russian figure was probably closer to 40-45%31. This would suggest that the “1.4 million cops” were actually only some 530,000. Still more than in smaller, more advanced states (the true police officer to citizen ratios in the UK and US are 1:429 and 1:380, respectively, compared with 1:267 for Russia) but not quite so ridiculously excessive as might have originally appeared. Nonetheless, a reduction in the size of the force did allow for the dismissal of a certain number of officers unfit for their work, close to retirement or else under suspicion of abusing their positions. As of 1 August 2011, the police had been reduced by 183,000 officers, with 48,000 more already slated to be dismissed, for a total reduction of 231,000 or around 17% of the total32. Given that the plan was to reduce the total force to 1,106,472, this was respectable progress and the ministry was promising to complete the reductions by the end of 2012.

  • 33 A. Beck & R. Lee, “Attitudes to Corruption Amongst Russian Police Officers and Trainees”, Crime, La (...)
  • 34 See M. Suhara, “Corruption in Russia: a historical perspective”, in T. Hayashi (Ed), Democracy and (...)
  • 35 L. Kosals & S. Poduzov, Police Reform, Russian Analytical Digest, # 84, 19 October 2010, p. 3, http (...)

16The second element was efforts to ensure that a Russian policeman’s lot could be a happier one. Part of the rationale for the cut was to allow for increased police salaries, which were to rise by around 30% by the end of 2012. Russian police were paid relatively low salaries, making recruitment and retention difficult (especially given the attractions of the private security sector) and corruption not just endemic but widely accepted as a necessary means of supplementing low incomes33. This is, after all, a tradition dating back to the tsarist-era approach of kormlenie, “feeding”, of assuming that public officials will not live on their salaries alone34. The hope remains that increased salaries will help improve morale and in due course honesty and professionalism (not least also by cutting down on officers’ needs also to engage in moonlighting - when surveyed in 2010, 49% of the sample reported also carrying out additional work)35. Beyond this, higher standards were to be introduced for new recruits and training programmes expanded to deepen their professional skills but also put greater emphasis on the rights of citizens and suspects.

  • 36 See, for example, the so-called “Tol’yatti experiment’”. M. Galeotti, “From Gorky to Tol’yatti: new (...)
  • 37 Moscow News, 22 August 2011.
  • 38 RBK-Daily, 17 December 2008, http://www.rbcdaily.ru/2008/12/17/focus/395138. (...)

17This fed into the third key aspect of the law, closing the yawning gulf between police and those whom they police. From changing the name of the police away from the politically-charged Soviet term militsiia to new laws on the acceptable use of force and wearing name badges to facilitate complaints, there was a clear desire to broker a new relationship. However, this was perhaps one of the least clearly articulated and most quixotic aspects of the law. Experiments with neighbourhood policing and similar outreach projects36 had almost invariably become mired in bureaucratic limbo, and the 1990s had seen a paramilitarisation of law enforcement that to an extent continued, as if firepower could in any way substitute for public trust and legitimacy. The OMON (Special Designation Police Units) riot police formations, since renamed KON (Special Designation Commands)37 had increased in numbers from 98 in 2003 to 121 by 2007 and this expansion continued, with a total strength of at least 20,000 officers as of 2011. Furthermore, the slight reduction in the size of the MVD’s militarised Interior Troops (VV) announced in December 2009, from 184,000 to 170,000, was not only scheduled to take place on an elongated timeline (to be completed by 2020), but actually represented only a 7.6% cut — less than that envisaged for either the regular police or, indeed, the military38. Thus, the proportion of the MVD’s establishment strength who were paramilitary or in effect militarised actually increased as a result of these reforms.

  • 39 RIA-Novosti, 22 December 2008.
  • 40 RIA-Novosti, 9 September 2010.

18A more fundamental structural change was the decision to transfer responsibility for the funding for the police, previously shared between the federal and local budgets, wholly to the centre. This was essentially a matter of control. Since the 1990s, a serious problem had been the tussle, sometimes covert at others all too obvious, between local and central authorities over control of the police. In the Yeltsin years, when the central ministry in Moscow often simply lacked the funds adequately to meet local police costs and salaries, city and regional authorities and even businesses stepped in to make up some of the shortfall. None of this was without a price, though, as those who paid the cash assumed — sometimes entirely correctly — that this would buy them power, impunity and, often, the use of the police as their private enforcers. Since 2000, the problem was more that local circles of mutual corruption emerged that were difficult to break and which challenged the “power vertical” of Kremlin rule. Making the central budget responsible for all police funding (with the possible exception of some earnings through the “extradepartmental guard” programme which allows businesses to hire police for security work) certainly helped reduce some of the freedom of manoeuvre for these cosy local cabals, especially when twinned with a policy of more actively rotating officers between regions or departments. Of course, the corollary was that this also gave Moscow, itself hardly averse to using the police for its own political ends, greater power at the local level. In a perverse way, the corruption of the police in some ways — and this is not in any way to downplay its numerous and obvious downsides — acted as a crude check to the power of the central executive. At the end of 2008, for example, the local police refused to disperse protested in Vladivostok, with the clear connivance of the regional government, forcing Moscow to pull together a scratch force of OMON riot police from across Russia to do the job39. Whether or not it makes for a better police force, shifting sole budgetary responsibility to the centre will certainly consolidated Moscow’s grip on the regions. Furthermore, it did so at no cost to itself, as the cost to the federal budget, estimated at 200 billion roubles ($6.7 billion), was simply deducted from subsidies to the regions40.

  • 41 RIA-Novosti, 22 December 2009.
  • 42 Itar-Tass, 14 June 2011, http://www.itar-tass.com/c1/164053.html. (...)

19The final, and perhaps least problematic even if perhaps most necessary element of the reform programme was an anti-corruption drive. This was undoubtedly overdue, even though there has been numerous anti-corruption campaigns, programmes, initiatives and drives launched by and within the MVD since 1991. The key problem was that Medvedev lacked the will or the ability to bring in any dramatic mechanisms to try and cleanse the force. Instead, he simply assigned this task to Nurgaliev, who had presided over the existing MVD without making any appreciable headway in combating the problem. Perhaps predictably, there was little evidence of any substantial progress. Even the cull of the police, while undoubtedly leading to the dismissal of come corrupt officers, represented a bonanza for others. Anecdotal accounts suggest that in some commands, corrupt senior officers actually used it as an opportunity to extort payments from their subordinates under threat of filing critical assessments. In characteristic style Nurgaliev, who had taken every opportunity to avoid conflict with his senior officers, largely placed the onus for dealing with the problem on junior officers and individual consciences. Speaking to police in Saratov on 22 December 2009, for example, he stuck to generalities, telling them that they ought not “leave to their own devices those staff who discredit the honour and dignity of an officer, those who decided long ago they don’t give a damn about the interests of service, and don’t work in the interests of stability of the state”41. Meanwhile, he created no new mechanisms for combating corruption within the MVD, beyond announcing that senior officials will be rotated after five years in position, nor launched the kind of high-profile investigations and prosecutions which might have signalled a new approach42.

Prospects for Reform

20There is, of course, a huge distance between promises of reform and its actual implementation. However, evidence from elsewhere within the Russian government does show that it is possible to drag a bloated, corrupt and inefficient relic of the Soviet era at least over the threshold of change and begin the process. After all, 2009 saw an important step forward in military reform, with the relatively smooth reorganisation of the ground forces from a divisional to a brigade structure, one that is more flexible and granular, able to respond to smaller-scale challenges and also cope with a phased reduction in the total strength of the army. However, this took place after almost two decades of false starts and, above all, required the appointment of a defence minister from outside the military who could bring some degree of budget accountability to an embezzlement-ravaged ministry (Anatoly Serdiukov, appointed in 2007, was the former head of the State Tax Service). Beyond that, it also needed the elevation of a senior general to the post of Chief of the General Staff willing to work for and with the minister and, just as important, the lacklustre performance of the military in the 2008 Georgian war. That the Russians beat Georgia, a country with less than one thirtieth of its population, was unsurprising. Just how badly Russian forces did, given that they had prepared for just this conflict, was much more of a shock and forced even die-hard conservatives within the High Command to recognise that substantive reform was needed. Furthermore, it indicated the direction in which reform had to go: smaller, flexible and more operational forces able to be deployed in limited interventions rather than a mass army. The final precondition, without which none of the above would have made any difference, was sustained political will, a commitment from both Medvedev’s Kremlin and Putin’s White House to push and fund real military reform, giving Serdiukov the authority and the budget to make a difference. Even so, this is a long-term process, with scope for pain and missed opportunities along the way.

  • 43 See D. Herspring, “Is military reform in Russia for real? Yes, but…”, in S. Blank & R.Weitz (Eds.), (...)

21In summary, then, the preconditions for even launching meaningful military reform were43:

  1. A reform-minded minister with no institutional ties within the ministry;

  2. A hard-nosed insider elevated as the minister’s chief of staff, tasked to be both an adviser and an enforcer;

  3. A key incident which could demonstrate even to fearful and conservative elements of the hierarchy that reform was essential;

  4. A clear concept for what kind of future forces needed to be created, which could drive doctrine, training, recruitment and procurement.

  5. Sustained political will, backed by a long-term commitment to necessary - and necessarily extensive - budgets able to cover the costs of reform.

22In this context, what would the prospects seem to be for Medvedev’s reform of the police? Although Nurgaliev was to be dismissed by Putin in 2012, replaced with Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Medvedev’s unwillingness or inability to dismiss him immediately undermined the credibility of his reforms. There has been no credible suggestion that Nurgaliev was personally corrupt, and his record as a criminal investigator in first the KGB and then its successors, the FSK and then FSB, was perceived as a respectable one. However, as minister it is hard to see him as having been anything better than a politically-compliant and moderately-competent manager. He demonstrated a striking lack of leadership, failing to make any significant inroads into the corruption, unprofessionalism and demoralisation which so deeply undermined the police. Instead, he seemed comfortable doing little more than periodically making some new pledge of probity and reform without any sign of seeking to put words into action. Nor did he seem to have any notion of how the MVD would change in any structural way, a key problem when Medvedev himself lacked the expertise to give specific directives. Medvedev demanded that the MVD disband two of its fifteen main departments, for example, as a token measure to deal with waste and duplication, without specifying which. Nurgaliev promptly announced that the transportation police would be merged with the agency overseeing security in restricted areas (which went by the cumbersome acronym DOPZTRO). However, this was purely a reshuffle of badges and office directories as the respective forces still operated as before, just under a single title.

  • 44 Itar-Tass, 1 August 2011, http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c39/196103.html. (...)

23Essential to defence minister Serdiukov’s ability to start the process of military reform was the presence Chief of the General Staff General Makarov, who both gave some legitimacy to the process and also acted as his enforcer, asserting the civilian minister’s authority over the generals. Within the MVD, though, there was a distinct absence not just of ideas on Nurgaliev’s part, but also of the authority to impose them. There was dramatic turnover within the senior MVD hierarchy, but ironically this neither suggested great strength on Nurgaliev’s part (as many were elevated because of external political contacts or as a result of factional power struggles), nor produced a such a “strong right hand”. According to Kremlin chief-of-staff Sergei Naryshkin, the chair of the commission managing the re-attestation process for senior police officers (perhaps inevitably sometimes described within the MVD as the “purge committee”), of its 340 general-rank officers, as of August 2011, 143 were retiring, resigning or being dismissed: fully 42% of the total44. Even this was overshadowed by the turnover at the very top of the ministry, with six of eight deputy ministers replaced. As of the end of Medvedev’s presidency, the senior ministerial roster was:

  • Interior Minister: Army Gen. Rashid Nurgaliev (appointed 2004)

  • First Deputy Interior Minister: Lt. Gen. Alexander Gorovoy (new: appointed June 2011)

  • Deputy Minister & State Secretary: Maj. Gen. Sergei Bulavin (new: appointed February 2010)

  • Deputy Minister: Lt. Gen. Igor Aleshin (new: appointed June 2011)

  • Deputy Minister: State Counsellor 2nd class Sergei Gerasimov (new: appointed February 2010)

  • Deputy Minister: Col. Gen. Viktor Kir’ianov (new: appointed January 2011)

  • Deputy Minister: Lt. Gen. Alexander Smirniy (appointed 2008)

  • Deputy Minister and Commander, Interior Troops: Army Gen. Nikolai Rogozhkin (appointed 2004)

  • Deputy Minister and Head of the Investigations Department: Lt. Gen. (Justice) Valery Kozhokar (new: appointed June 2011)

  • 45 I detail his background in “New appointments to MVD command structure”, In Moscow’s Shadows, 14 Sep (...)

24In other words, only Nurgaliev and two of the eight deputy ministers had been in office for more than around two years and of those two one (Rogozhkin) was purely the commander of the Interior Troops and thus detached from the work of policing proper. The other, Smirniy, failed to make much of a mark. Having once apparently been thought of precisely as a “chief of staff” for former Interior Minster Viktor Rushailo, his star waned when his patron left in 200145. Furthermore, whereas Serdiukov made a point of bringing in trusted outsiders to the defence ministry – by 2012, the majority of the deputy ministers were not military men - Nurgaliev’s ministerial team, while largely competent, were all insiders and as such had their own power bases to protect and preconceptions to rehearse. This was not a reform team.

  • 46 Komsomolskaia Pravda, 16 March 2012, http://www.kp.ru/online/news/1106668/; ITAR-Tass, 16 March 201 (...)

25Of course, even conservatives can become reluctant reformists when they feel they have no option. Nothing, though, seems to be able to shock them into motion in the same way as the Georgian war for the military. Incidents such as the Evsiukov killing spree and the whistle-blowing exposés of Dymovsky and his ilk were explained away as individual failings. If anything, the whistle-blowers tended to be persecuted. Even the public outcry over the death of Sergei Nazarov in Kazan after he was sodomised by police using a bottle, which led to the resignation of the Tatarstan Republic interior minister and the disbanding of a whole local squad, was treated as a specific and local failing46. In other words, any impulse for reform would have had to come from outside and from above. This again put the burden on Medvedev and his allies, none of whom had the requisite skills or a detailed programme.

  • 47 L. Kosals, Police in Russia: reform or business restructuring?, op. cit.

26The third requirement is a clear concept and programme. The overt goal of the reform process was to create an effective, honest and legitimate law enforcement service, one able to fight and deter crime in the streets but also support a law-based state in which private property and human rights were equally effectively protected. However, there was little clear sense of quite what that kind of a police force ought to look like, beyond simply addressing negatives such as corruption and indiscipline. This helps explain why, although so many other observers agree on the diagnosis, there is such disagreement over the prescription. Leonid Kosals of the Higher School of Economics, for example, has advocated a simpler “3Ds” approach of demilitarising the police, disclosing their activities more fully and demarketising them, reducing their commercial and para-commercial activities47. However, no credible and concrete specific alternative programme for how a reformed police force would work has yet emerged.

  • 48 Ekho Moskvy, 28 March 2012, reported in BBC Monitoring, 29 March 2012.

27Finally, this needs to be a consistent and long-term project: as Nurgaliev admitted, “Russia needs time to form a new generation of police officers”48. In this respect, the question of funding is important. While the decision to increase pay scales in 2012 was important, for example, this will need to be maintained. Even more important, though, is an enduring commitment on the part of the state to accept that a modern, legitimate police force is governed by law, not politics. Medvedev’s determination to remove the police from the influence and control of local political, criminal and economic interest groups should not be doubted. However, it is questionable whether Medvedev -- much less Putin -- was equally willing to abandon the use of the MVD for political ends by the Kremlin.

  • 49 Vremia Novostei, 9 May 2009.
  • 50 Fontanka.ru, 11 February 2012, http://www.fontanka.ru/2012/02/11/041/; M. Galeotti, “Sukhodolsky’s (...)
  • 51 Moscow News, 15 March 2010.
  • 52 Interfax, 11 June 2011.
  • 53 RIA-Novosti, 16 August 2011, http://en.rian.ru/society/20110816/165824141.html. (...)

28The purge of the police, for example, was often very obviously political. The Evsiukov murders led to the prompt dismissal of Moscow's police chief, Vladimir Pronin, even though there was no real reason why he could be blamed for this.49 However, Pronin was regarded -- not without reason -- as a client of Moscow’s then-Mayor Yury Luzhkov. Dismissing him was therefore an essentially political act, allowing Medvedev to demonstrate his resolution and distance himself from the incident while he also clipped Luzhkov's wings a little. Likewise, the death in custody of 15-year-old boy in St Petersburg led to the unceremonious dismissal of city police chief Mikhail Sukhodolsky – a former deputy minister who had, hardly coincidentally, allowed himself to be touted as a potential replacement for Nurgaliev – when other commanders who had presided over similar abuses survived50. Furthermore, some officials received very soft landings (after being sacked, for example, Pronin received a new job at Moscow city hall51), leading to considerable cynicism about the process. Lev Ponomarev, head of the Za Prava Cheloveka movement, characterised thus as just “internal clan fighting and not real reform”, while in general society remains sceptical52. A VTsIOM poll in summer 2011, for example, found only 28% of respondents expecting reform to bear fruit53.

Putin’s Politsiia

  • 54 Vedomosti, 30 July 2010.
  • 55 RIA-Novosti, 9 September 2010, http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100909/160525031.html. (...)

29After all, with Putin’s return to the presidency, there was inevitable scepticism as to whether the police reform, something very much associated with his predecessor, would continue. Medvedev did become Putin’s prime minister, but it had been striking how little Putin had commented on MVD affairs, in contrast to his obvious interest in military reform. There were certainly reasons to be pessimistic. Putin’s evident commitment to modernising the armed forces - in 2009, it was announced that defence spending would rise by 60% by 201354 - was bound to be a serious burden on the federal budget and historically the MVD has suffered when its needs have been weighed against those of the military. It thus remains to be seen whether the police will get the extra 217 billion roubles ($7 billion) they were promised to cover reforms in 2012-201355. Beyond that, on a visceral level, Putin seems both to regard political control of policing and judicial investigation as not just useful but entirely acceptable. Furthermore, the experience of his previous presidency has been that fighting corruption is not top of his list of priorities. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to write off Russian police reform just yet.

  • 56 Interfax, 26 April 2012.

30First of all, while Medvedev may have been the champion of police reform, there is no reason to believe that he did so over Putin’s objections. At the very least, the latter must have been willing to accept the premises of the project and if Medvedev remains prime minister, he will be in a position to continue to push the process forward. In one of his final addresses before handing the presidency back to Putin, he made it clear that “we are just at the outset” process and committed himself to following it through56.

31Secondly, changes which may appear to play purely to the centralising and authoritarian tendencies of the security lobby of the siloviki around Putin may also have reformist effects. This is relatively obvious when it comes to cutting down on the influence over the police wielded by local interest groups but even moves to develop the paramilitary elements of the MVD may help precisely by opening a wider gap between the regular police and the armoured riot squads. One of the problems in the past, after all, has been that ordinary police too often were used in a public order role for which they were equipped neither practically nor mentally, and thus did a poor job while at the same time opening up the gap between them and the society they were meant to protect. On a purely anecdotal level, in conversation with serving police officers the author has noted a growing interest in community policing and an awareness of the extent to which a better relationship with society actually helps them do their jobs, more safely and more effectively.

  • 57 For more on the continuities of policing, see L. Shelley, Policing Soviet Society (1996); M. Galeot (...)

32Thirdly, while Medvedev’s reforms may not have had the rapid and transformative impact he may have hoped, they did lay the groundwork for further, more meaningful change. In this respect, for example, Medvedev’s decision to abandon the name militsiia and restore the pre-revolutionary name politsiia was not quite as tokenistic a move as it may at first glance have appeared, as it spoke to the need for a cultural sea-change within the MVD. When the Bolsheviks adopted the name “militia” for their police force, they were seeking to make a symbolic break from the old, tsarist police order. The force which emerged was a ramshackle collection of revolutionary activists, opportunists, bandits-turned-nominal-lawmen and former tsarist police. Idealistic notions that they would be a radically different force from their predecessors came to naught, though, given that the Bolshevik state largely faced similar challenges: an inability to deploy enough police effectively to control the countryside, a commitment to political policing over the rule of law, and as a result an implicit or reluctant acceptance of local vigilantism and mechanisms of social control. To be sure, under Stalin, the state was able to assert its power over the rural population, this hardly meant law and order. Take away the red stars on the badges, and the militsiia looked a lot like the tsarist gorodovye (urban police), complete with pseudo-military ranks and uniforms. They also behaved much the same, from their endemic corruption and casual reliance on kulachnoe pravo, the “law of the fist”, through to their broad range of responsibilities and their habitual if often tacit conformity with local structures of social control, from the busybodies of the comrades’ courts to the complex mutual-assistance blat networks of communities of neighbours, friends and co-workers57. Names do have power, though, including in police reform, as witnessed by the decision to make the Royal Ulster Constabulary the Police Service of Northern Ireland as (a very successful) part of the peace accords. The new identity generated a wider national debate about law enforcement and helped confirm to police and citizens alike that change was underway, change relating to the relationship between these two constituencies.

  • 58 Izvestiia, 24 May 2012.
  • 59 Itar-Tass, 28 March 2012.

33In this respect, Medvedev may not have created genuine reform, but he may prove to have created the preconditions for it. After all, Nurgaliev’s successor, Kolokoltsev, is not only a career police officer with both considerable authority, he has also made a strong commitment to reform and, more specifically, to improving the force’s relationship with society. In one of his first interviews after his appointment, he said: “The major challenge is of course people’s trust. No matter what good progress we might make and what useful reforms we might conduct, just any crime or human rights violation on the part of policemen will send our achievements down the drain”58. Furthermore, the scale of public debate around the new Law on the Police has not only made it a much more openly-discussed topic within the national conversation, it has also helped educate more Russians about their rights. According to Natalia Taubina, director of NGO Obshchestvennyi Verdikt, which provides legal assistance to victims of human rights abuse by the police, the scale of complaints has increased two- to three-fold since59. Given that there is no evidence to suggest any massive upsurge of police misconduct, the implication is of greater willingness on the part of the citizenry to hold their police to account – a crucial pre-requisite for reform.

  • 60 RT, 30 March 2011, http://rt.com/politics/official-word/medvedev-corruption-investment-climate/. (...)

34Fourthly, and perhaps most important, Russia in 2012 is a rather different country from Russia in 2000. Putin and his United Russia bloc are struggling to retain majority popular support which in itself is a sign of waning legitimacy. Addressing the inefficiencies and corruption of the MVD is a cause which can unite the Kremlin with the popular mainstream and thus can be a powerful mobilising force. More broadly, there is a widespread acknowledgement within the ruling elite that the Russian economy needs to be diversified beyond its current dependence on hydrocarbons. Such a diversification will be heavily dependent on foreign investment and partnerships, as evidenced by the project to develop a high-tech business park at Skolkovo, another product of the Medvedev era. Corruption, predation by law enforcement and the lack of reliable protection for property rights all feature strongly amongst the disincentives for such foreign engagement: as Medvedev put it, “money is running away from our economy”60. The creation of a law-governed state - or at least a more law-governed state - is therefore emerging also as a necessity for continued economic stability and prosperity, both of which are vital to the maintenance of Putin’s rule and his ability to spend money on the military and his distinctive brand of assertive geopolitics.

35In this respect, Putin would fall into the same historical camp as tsar Nicholas I and General Secretary Yuri Andropov, rulers who were no liberals but who nonetheless came to realise that more honest police could be more effective ones and in the process buttress rather than limit the authoritarian state. Ultimately, real reform of the police needs to be a cultural one, changing the force’s very identity and social role from being the enforcer of the will of those in power to being the champion of the law and thus the defender of the weak against those who would oppress them, whether thuggish protection racketeers or corrupt officials. Any reforms enacted now will take a generation truly to take effect, until today’s new recruits rise to replace the present cohort of senior commanders, many of whom are able, even honest, but whose mentality has been shaped by past experiences. There is scope for a truly revolutionary shift within the MVD, but the crucial question will be whether Putin is willing to do more than simply discipline and centralise the police and admit the possibility that sometimes even the Kremlin must be constrained by the law.

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Notes

1 ITAR-Tass, 28 March 2012; Human Rights Watch, Confession at Any Cost: police torture in Russia, 1999; PChR open letter to President Medvedev, 22 February 2011, http://hro.org/node/10370.

2 L. Kosals, Police in Russia: reform or business restructuring?, Russian Analytical Digest # 84, 19 October 2010, p. 6.

3 Gazeta.ru, 17 February 2010, http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/2010/02/17_a_3325617.shtml.

4 See O. Kolennikova, L. Kosals, R. Ryvkina, Iu. Simagin & D. Wilson, “The ‘economic activities’ of Russian police”, International Journal of Police Science and Management, vol. 10, # 1, 2008.

5 Izvestiia, 29 May 2012.

6 See J. Cooper, “The Funding of the Power Agencies of the Russian State”, The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies # 6/7, 2007, http://pipss.revues.org/562.

7 For an excellent overview, see B. Taylor, State Building in Putin’s Russia, Cambridge University Press, 2011.

8 Pravda, 24 December 2009.

9 See B. Taylor, Historical Legacies and Law Enforcement in Russia, PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo # 150, 2011.

10 See Th. Gerber & S. Mendelson, Public Experiences of Police Violence and Corruption in Contemporary Russia: a case of predatory policing?, Law & Society Review, vol. 34, # 1, 2008; V. Shlapentokh, Trust in public institutions in Russia: the lowest in the world, Communist & Post-Communist Studies vol. 39, # 2, 2006.

11 VTsIOM poll of 1600 respondents, press release 7 July 2010, http://old.wciom.ru/novosti/press-vypuski/press-vypusk/single/13654.html.

12 RAPSI, 21 April 2010, http://rapsinews.ru/incident_news/20100421/250007497.html; Moscow Times, 13 January 2011, http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/10-year-study-slams-police-crime-figures/428937.html.

13 Moscow Times, 13 January 2011, http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/10-year-study-slams-police-crime-figures/428937.html.

14 Th. Gerber & S. Mendelson, “Public Experiences of Police Violence and Corruption in Contemporary Russia: a case of predatory policing? ”, op. cit., p. 36.

15 This also contributed to the paramilitarisation of the police in the 1990s; see M. Galeotti, “Russian Police Reform: centralisation, paramilitarisation and modernisation”, Crime & Justice International, # 70, 2003.

16 A further index of this lack of faith in the police is the rolling debate on liberalizing gun control, which is largely framed in terms of allowing self-defence to those who otherwise are not protected adequately by the law-enforcement agencies.

17 Rossiiskaia gazeta, 10 August 2007.

18 Financial Times, 24 December 2008.

19 Utverzhdeny Osnovy gospolitiki Rossii v sfere razvitiia pravovoi gramotnosti i pravosoznaniia grazhdan, 4 May 2011, http://www.kremlin.ru/news/11139.

20 Independent, 15 March 2007, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/interior-ministry-onetenth-of-russia-under-criminal-control-440284.html.

21 RT, 7 September 2009, http://www.rt.com/news/medvedev-demands-tougher-punishment/.

22 Ezhednevnyi zhurnal, 2 June 2009.

23 This was codified in the Presidential Decree On Issues relating to the Activities of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation, 14 January 2011, http://news.kremlin.ru/news/10077.

24 For more on this, see Nezavisimaia gazeta, 24 September 2010; Vremia novostei, 24 September 2010; M. Galeotti, Medvedev pulls Investigative Committee close, RFE/RL, 12 October 2010, http://www.rferl.org/content/Russias_Medvedev_Pulls_Investigations_Committee_Close/2188702.html; G.  Hahn, Medvedev’s investigation reforms: towards the rule of law?, Russia: Other Points of View, 19 October 2010, http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2010/10/medvedevs-investigaton-reforms-towards-the-rule-of-law.html.

25 Rossiiskaia gazeta, 28 December 2010.

26 For an excellent analysis of the changes to the draft and rival proposals, see K. Rothrock, “The Law on the Police”, A Good Treaty (blog), 3 February 2011, http://www.agoodtreaty.com/2011/02/03/the-law-on-the-police/.

27 Rossiiskaia gazeta, 8 February 2011.

28 Pravda, 24 December 2009.

29 For a particularly acute take on this, see Kommersant Vlast’, 31 January 2011, http://www.kommersant.ru/Doc-rss/1573176.

30 The figure of 1.4 million is derived from the official statement in August 2011 that the force was to be cut by 22% to 1,104,472 officers; extrapolating backwards, this yields a figure of just over 1.4 million. Itar-Tass, 1 August 2011, http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c39/196103.html. No firm figure has been given about the ratio of police officers to bureaucrats, but the figures cited later in this paragraph reflect the consensus from conversations with serving and former officers as well as foreign police who have worked with their Russian counterparts.

31 This is a rough figure based not just on the literature but on interviews with 6 serving and former Russian police officers, 3 from Moscow, who were asked to describe in detail their own offices and precincts, as well as discussions with two foreign police officers who spent time attached to the MVD. Nonetheless, it is an estimate only.

32 ITAR-Tass, 1 August 2011, http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c39/196103.html.

33 A. Beck & R. Lee, “Attitudes to Corruption Amongst Russian Police Officers and Trainees”, Crime, Law, & Social Change, vol. 38, 2002.

34 See M. Suhara, “Corruption in Russia: a historical perspective”, in T. Hayashi (Ed), Democracy and Market Economics in Central and Eastern Europe, Slavic Reserch Center, Hokkaido University, 2004; S. Lovell et al (eds), Bribery and Blat in Russia: Negotiating Reciprocity from the Middle Ages to the 1990s, Studies in Russian & Eastern European History, 2000.

35 L. Kosals & S. Poduzov, Police Reform, Russian Analytical Digest, # 84, 19 October 2010, p. 3, http://kms2.isn.ethz.ch/serviceengine/Files/RESSpecNet/122802/ipublicationdocument_singledocument/66214453-c563-42c4-99d2-d46ae04dc75b/en/Russian_Analytical_Digest_84.pdf.

36 See, for example, the so-called “Tol’yatti experiment’”. M. Galeotti, “From Gorky to Tol’yatti: new models for the police”, RFE/RL Report on the USSR, 31 August 1990.

37 Moscow News, 22 August 2011.

38 RBK-Daily, 17 December 2008, http://www.rbcdaily.ru/2008/12/17/focus/395138.

39 RIA-Novosti, 22 December 2008.

40 RIA-Novosti, 9 September 2010.

41 RIA-Novosti, 22 December 2009.

42 Itar-Tass, 14 June 2011, http://www.itar-tass.com/c1/164053.html.

43 See D. Herspring, “Is military reform in Russia for real? Yes, but…”, in S. Blank & R.Weitz (Eds.), The Russian Military Today and Tomorrow, Strategic Studies Institute, 2010, http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/pub997.pdf; R. Thornton, Military Modernization and the Russian Ground Forces, Strategic Studies Institute, 2011, http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1071.pdf; A. Arbatov & V. Dvorkin, Novaia voennaia reforma Rossii, Moscow: Carnegie, 2011, http://carnegieendowment.org/files/WP2%2D2011%5Fmilitary%5Frus%2Epdf; M. Galeotti, “Reform of the Russian military and security apparatus”, in S. Blank (Ed.), Can Russia Reform? Economic, Political, and Military Perspectives, Strategic Studies Institute, 2012, http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1111.pdf.

44 Itar-Tass, 1 August 2011, http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c39/196103.html.

45 I detail his background in “New appointments to MVD command structure”, In Moscow’s Shadows, 14 September 2008, http://inmoscowsshadows.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/new-appointment-to-mvd-command-structure/.

46 Komsomolskaia Pravda, 16 March 2012, http://www.kp.ru/online/news/1106668/; ITAR-Tass, 16 March 2012; Kazan Herald, 18 March 2012, http://kazanherald.com/2012/03/18/sodomy-death-at-hands-of-kazan-police-sets-off-national-outcry/.

47 L. Kosals, Police in Russia: reform or business restructuring?, op. cit.

48 Ekho Moskvy, 28 March 2012, reported in BBC Monitoring, 29 March 2012.

49 Vremia Novostei, 9 May 2009.

50 Fontanka.ru, 11 February 2012, http://www.fontanka.ru/2012/02/11/041/; M. Galeotti, “Sukhodolsky’s ouster from the St Petersburg police: Nurgaliev’s revenge, brutal MVD politics and a suggestion of a breakdown in silovik etiquette”, In Moscow’s Shadows 13 February 2012, http://inmoscowsshadows.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/sukhodolskys-ouster-from-the-st-petersburg-police-nurgalievs-revenge-brutal-mvd-politics-and-a-suggestion-of-a-breakdown-in-silovik-etiquette/.

51 Moscow News, 15 March 2010.

52 Interfax, 11 June 2011.

53 RIA-Novosti, 16 August 2011, http://en.rian.ru/society/20110816/165824141.html.

54 Vedomosti, 30 July 2010.

55 RIA-Novosti, 9 September 2010, http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100909/160525031.html.

56 Interfax, 26 April 2012.

57 For more on the continuities of policing, see L. Shelley, Policing Soviet Society (1996); M. Galeotti, “Moscow Rules: reading between the lines about crime in Russia”, Slovo # 8, 1995.

58 Izvestiia, 24 May 2012.

59 Itar-Tass, 28 March 2012.

60 RT, 30 March 2011, http://rt.com/politics/official-word/medvedev-corruption-investment-climate/.

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Mark Galeotti, « Purges, Power and Purpose: Medvedev's 2011 police reforms », The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies [En ligne], Issue 13 | 2012, mis en ligne le 24 novembre 2012, consulté le 23 avril 2014. URL : http://pipss.revues.org/3960

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Mark Galeotti

New York University SCPS Center for Global Affairs

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