Friday, May 15, 2020

Russian Government Asks Duma to Allow Police to Shoot at ‘Threatening’ Demonstrators

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 13 – For several months, rumors have been circulating that the Russian government at the request of the security services and thus the Kremlin was preparing legislation that would authorize the police to shoot anyone, including demonstrators, they felt “threatened” them  and do so with complete impunity.

            The Russian government has now submitted this to the Duma for approval in the form of amendments to the basic law “On the police” which would broaden the rights of the police to use lethal force and limit the ability of the population to turn to the courts to protest against such repressive actions (

            According to the text posted on the Duma’s data base yesterday, the amendments will give police the right to use such force “if during detention, an individual attempts ‘to take any action which gives the basis for an assessment that it is a threat of attack on police,” language that virtually guarantees abuse.

            Moreover, the draft legislation gives to the police immunity from even judicial investigation of such actions by declaring that a policeman may not be investigated “for actions committed in the carrying out of the responsibilities laid on the police and in connection with the achievement of the rights given to police.’”

            At the same time, the draft legislation ends any pretense of the inviolability of residences, land, or vehicles by extending to the police the right to enter any or all of these if they are performing their duties, with the definition of that being left entirely to the police and not subject to judicial review.

            And finally, the new language gives local offices of the interior ministry the right to block off areas, again without judicial authorization or judicial review, thus making the police in many cases judge, jury and executioner.

            This is exactly the kind of noxious legislation that the Russian government just like too many others prefers to introduce at a time when most people are worried about something else, in this case, the pandemic. But this legislation by itself will tilt the balance of power toward the police far more strongly than almost anything the Putin regime has done so far. 


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