Staunton, April 11 – Not only high profile political crimes remain unresolved in Russia, experts say. At least half of all crimes are not solved, and the figure may be even worse because over the last several years, the Russian interior ministry and other agencies have stopped initiating criminal investigations or publishing data on real crimes.
“Staffers of law enforcement organs,” Elena Mishina of “Novaya versiya” writes, “don’t hide what is going on: they open criminal cases unwillingly lest the statistics make them look bad. And some of them joke darkly that ‘the ministry of internal affairs has been transformed into the ministry of positive statistics” (versia.ru/pochemu-kazhdoe-vtoroe-prestuplenie-v-rf-ostayotsya-neraskrytym).
The approach of Russian police and prosecutors to crimes is very different from that of their counterparts abroad, the journalist says. In other countries, police open a criminal case when there are reports of a crime. If those reports don’t prove to be true, the police then close the case.
But in Russia, the police don’t open a case until they have collected enormous amounts of information; and often this process is so extended that no charges are brought at all, Mishina suggests.
According to Russian law enforcement specialists, the situation has been deteriorating in Russia since the 2011 reforms of the militia. Many experienced investigators lost their jobs and the rate of solving crimes dropped in the course of that year alone by six percent. Since then, they say, the situation has only gotten worse.
Mishina notes that “a particular role in the degradation of the agency has been played by the rise of clans within the current system of the interior ministry,” a pattern that “was not true in the USSR or even in the 1990s.” Regional political leaders install their own people in the interior ministry agencies, and the latter know not to do anything to make their bosses look bad.
Many experts hope, she says, that the reconstitution of the interior ministry now being carried about will change things for the better, but both the FMS and the counter-narcotics police agency have been so unprofessional and even incompetent that more than bureaucratic changes will be needed to solve crimes in these areas.
And there is a very real fear that the latest reform will end with dismissals, unmaskings and reports of progress but lead nowhere. That is because “the police command again is beginning to demand positive statistics … at any price,” including falsifications and the refusal even to register crimes, let alone solve them.