Russia’s new Interior Minister: Vladimir Kolokoltsev

RF Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Kolokoltsev

Assessment: Kolokoltsev is a career cop with a reputation for being an effective investigator (of the ‘brute force’ rather than ‘inspired’ variety — by which I mean not a propensity to use violence so much as a dogged use of protocol, time and manpower to work through a problem) and a tough manager. Whether this will convert into real traction on regional police structures and the police force as a whole remains to be seen, but he does seem to have a better reputation amongst the rank and file than Nurgaliev — although this is not exactly the highest bar to vault. He is a savvy bureaucratic operator, but I see no sign that he has bought into the wider reform agenda. I suspect that under him, ‘police reform’ will mean better efficiency and centralization rather than greater transparency and conformity to the laws. But we’ll see — a fuller evaluation will follow in due course.

Bio: Lieutenant-General (Police) Vladimir Kolokoltsev, appointed RF Minister of Internal Affairs, May 21, 2012.

He was born May 11, 1961 in Nizhny Lomov, Penza region. He joined the (Soviet) MVD in 1982, and his first appointment was in Moscow within the department protecting diplomatic missions — which often meant controlling access by Soviet citizens. Such a position (both in Moscow and guarding embassies) was a sensitive one, so he must have been regarded as politically ‘sound.’

In 1984, he was promoted to the rank of platoon commander within the Separate Patrol-Guard Service (PPSM) Battalion of the Moscow’s Gagarin raion (neighborhood) — effectively of the local beat cops.

A year later, he was enrolled into the MVD’s Higher Political School, again a sign that he was both identified as a promising high-flier and also considered a good Communist. On graduation in 1989, he became an oper (case officer/investigator) in the criminal investigations section (OUR) at Moscow’s Kuntsevo precinct. He rose steadily and smoothly through the ranks, becoming deputy chief of Moscow’s 20th precinct and then head of the 8th.

In 1992, he briefly became a senior investigator in the 2nd Criminal Investigations Directorate (UUR) of the Moscow City Main Internal Affairs Directorate (GUVD), spent a little time heading the 108th precinct and then in 1995 became head of criminal investigations for the Central Administrative District’s 2nd UUR.

In 1997, he took command of the 4th Regional Division for Moscow of RUOP, the MVD’s organized crime directorate. In 1999, he was again promoted, becoming chief of the Regional Operational-Investigative Bureau (ORB) for the South-Eastern Administrative District of Moscow’s Central Regional Office for Combating Organized Crime. He continued to rise and in 2001 took over the Central Federal District’s 3rd operational-investigative bureau and then the deputy head of the district’s whole ORB.

Up to this point, his entire career had been based in Moscow. Given that it is de rigeur for senior officers to punch their card with some service out of the capital, in 2007 he briefly transferred to become chief of police of the Orël region. Two years later, that obligation fulfilled, he returned to Moscow briefly as first deputy chief of the central MVD’s Criminal Investigation Department before becoming Moscow’s chief of police on September 7, 2009.

At this stage he was a Major General (Police), but on June 10, 2010 he was elevated to the rank of Lieutenant General (Police). He went through his formal recertification under the terms of the new Law on the Police in March 2011.

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