Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Russian Police, Regime’s First Line of Defense, Quitting in ‘Massive’ Numbers, Union Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 9 -- Police officers are quitting their jobs because of low pay and deteriorating working conditions, creating a situation in which many units are significantly understaffed and not in a position to fulfill their responsibilities, according to Mikhail Pashkin, the head of the union that represents them.

            Some are shifting to the FSB and other law enforcement agencies where conditions are better, but many are leaving the public sector altogether, choosing to work as private security guards in many cases or joining the criminal world that they had been responsible for combatting (ura.news/articles/1036278214 and ura.news/articles/1036278249).

            This trend means that there will be fewer officers on the beat to combat crime and that the regime will be forced to rely more heavily on FSB and military units to control demonstrators, units that typically act even more harshly against protesters than do the police who often know those they are sent to regulate.

            That in turn means that relations between the regime and the population are likely to deteriorate still further.

In reporting on this development, Mikhail Bely of the URA news agency says that low salaries are only one of the problems. Many officers are fed up with the constant checks that the authorities make in their ranks and their lack of control over schedules and lives.  In some places, this exodus involves 15 percent or more of the total number of slots.

Guarding a supermarket or other store is far easier and the pay is a good or better.  But unfortunately, some of the police who are quitting are going to work for the criminal groups that they had been fighting, recapitulating some of what happened in the 1990s, former interior ministry officials tell Bely.

That has reduced the effectiveness of the police significantly. According to Kirill Kabanov, head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, “the effectiveness of the police today does not exceed 40 to 50 percent” of the expected norms. There are too few police, and those who have left are in many cases “helping” the wrong people.

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