Monday, August 26, 2019

Proposed Law Would Help Russians Hold Siloviki Accountable

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 24 – Many Russians believe that the anonymity policemen and Russian  Guards feel in the uniforms they wear when moving against protesters gives the siloviki the feeling that no one will be able to identify the individual officers responsible and hold them accountable. Indeed, they suspect that is one of the reasons the siloviki dress as they do.

            But a new law proposed by Senator Vladimir Lukin, the former human rights ombudsman, would end that anonymity by requiring that all officers wear clearly visible numbers on their uniforms, something he says will remind them of their “personal responsibility” to stay within the law ( and

            Russians have begun calling for such a measure since the first massive protests in Moscow earlier this summer were violently suppressed (  and  Not surprisingly, there is resistance, with the Russian Guard saying its commanders want to clarify whether Lukin’s proposal threatens the security of its officers.

            Boris Vishnevsky, a Yabloko member of St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly, responds that “this project doesn’t threaten” the security of the Russian Guard. Rather it strips them of their anonymity and thus makes it easier for their victims to seek redress in the courts (

            No one should be able to escape responsibility “for any illegality, for any beating of peaceful citizens, for any mockery” of them.  For such things, the police and the Russian Guard “must answer: Personally. According to the law, and not have any chance of hiding being masks” or uniforms that keep their victims from being able to identify them,

            Vishnevsky says that he introduced legislation on this point in the northern capital two weeks ago and sent a copy of his proposal to Lukin who has drawn from it. 

            Holding the Russian siloviki accountable is an obvious first step toward transforming Russia into a legal state. But there are more needed, and in the North Caucasus, some of those are being proposed: Activists there are calling for those involved in the illegal prosecution of Martin Kochesoko to be held accountable as well (  and

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