On Military Police in the Moscow News

In this week’s column for the Moscow News, ‘Tough job for Russia’s new military police‘, I return to the vexed issues of crime in the ranks (still monstrously high) and the prospects for the new voennaya politsiya, something I’ve already written on here, although at that point without the benefit of Main Military Prosecutor Fridinskii’s splendid recent soundbite that “the scope of military corruption is mindboggling; it seems people have lost shame and a sense of proportion.” Nonetheless, the point does need to be reiterated that no police force – especially one drawn from an already-all-too-often-corrupted service – can ‘fix’ the problem. That needs to be a cultural process, a transformation of the Russian military that includes effective and law-based policing, but also extends to respect for all ranks, transparency of expenditures and a culture that holds senior officers to account. I think it’s a great step forward – but I’ll really start to believe in the VP when I see a senior officer in handcuffs, or them raid one of the underground factories producing counterfeit that you can still find sited on remote military bases to enjoy their “extraterritoriality” from regular law enforcement.

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