Staunton, June 2 – The United Nations recommends that countries on average have 222 policemen for ever 100,000 residents, but in 2015, the last year for which there is comprehensive data, Russia has 976 – and that number doesn’t include MVD troops, OMON units and FSB officers who often carry out police work, Yury Mukhin says.
All this shows, the Russian commentator argues, that the Putin regime does not fear anything more than public protests and wants to be in a position to crack down hard whenever Russians come together to protest the deteriorating conditions under which they are forced to live (forum-msk.org/material/news/15678491.html).
That imbalance makes it highly unlikely that the regime can be challenged by people in the streets: the Kremlin simply has too many resources at its disposal to crush any challenge. Perhaps the only hope, Mukhin suggests, is that some of the police are loyal only to those who pay their salaries and give them status and may change sides if they think that is best for them.
At present, that may be a thin hope; and consequently, despite the rising tide of popular anger at the powers that be, the powers that be still have a police force unrivalled in size and equipment – and quite prepared to act if push comes to shove.