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Sunday, 3 May 2009

Who’s afraid of the Russian Police?

Photo: Valerii Nistrov
The Russian police hardly have a good reputation and in the light of a recent incident, in which an off-duty Russian police chief opened fire in a Moscow supermarket, killing three and seriously wounding four more, the newspaper Kommersant posed the question: Who’s more dangerous than the Police? Here are some of the responses.

Sergey Katanandov, Head of the Republic of Karelia
Fools, that’s what I’m afraid of. A fool thinks nothing of shooting out the window of his flat – and unfortunately there are such examples. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that anyone purchasing a firearm undergoes a medical examination. But people in Karelia aren’t afraid of the police, they trust them.

Anatolii Kulikov, Chairman of the International Anticriminal and Antiterrorist forum. Former Head of Russian MVD (police) 1995 – 1998
Bandits are more dangerous than policeman. I don't agree with people who think otherwise. You come across villains in any sphere, but there are many decent people within the police force. It is essential that any crimes committed by policeman are heavily punished to prevent ordinary people thinking that the police can just get away with it.

Magomed Tolboev, Pilot, Hero of Russia
For me there is nothing more terrifying than a policeman. When I see someone in uniform I cross to the other side of the street. It doesn't matter who they're dealing with – a Hero of Russia, Pensioner or General – they' can easily humiliate or rob him. Only about 10% of officers in the police force are honest, decent people. And after this bloodbath in the supermarket the minister and his deputies should resign.
Valerii Engel, First Vice President of the International Congress of Russian Speaking Jewry
I, like any normal person, fear our custodians of law and order, just as I fear bandits and skinheads. It’s hard to imagine a situation in any other developed country when the police would start shooting at citizens.

Andrei Lugovoi, Deputy of the State Duma
The employees of Scotland Yard, who are unfairly persecuting me. If you're going to be scared of anyone in the law enforcement agencies, it should without doubt be them. There's no reason to fear our policemen – this is an isolated incident.

Lev Ponomarev, Leader of movement «For Human Rights.»
The authorities. The police are unlawful, but they're carrying out the authorities' orders. The mayor behaved so cockily because he knew that it was sanctioned. The police hide their bad eggs.

Rainer Muller-Hanke, Chairman of KMV Bank
The corrupt. The Russian police aren't dangerous. They have only ever helped me. When my documents were stolen in a hotel, although they were unable to find the thief, the police really tried to get my documents back. [This tragedy] could occur in any country.

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