I’ve just written an opinion piece for the admirable Kazan Herald on ‘Glimmers of Hope in the Kazan Police Scandal‘, trying to make some sense of the ghastly case of the apparent (well, pretty conclusive, but technically not yet proven in a court of law) death of a man after he was brutally abused in the city’s Dalny (Dal’nii) police precinct. It may seem counter-intuitive to be looking for hope in such a tragedy, but the scale and nature of the public outcry, the authorities’ quick and decisive response are encouraging and initiatives such as the decision to instal video cameras in interrogation rooms may well help more concrete the often vague precepts of the 2011 Law on the Police. After all, police reform will inevitably be a halting, two-steps-forward-one-step-back process, a cultural and institutional change far slower and more complex than just spray-painting полиция over милиция on the sides of their cars. But part of the process, unpleasant as it may be at the time, will precisely be in flushing out decades of accumulated filth from the system. That other victims of the Dalny police, and the Kazan police as a whole, are now coming forward with their stories, stories which are terrible precisely because they are not atypical, that they could be heard in every part of Russia, is a good thing. The truth shall not always set you free, but it is at least a pretty unavoidable precondition for creating a more positive relationship between police and policed in the future.
Kazan, Dalny and the problems and prospects of police reform
Posted by Mark Galeotti on March 21, 2012
This blog's author, Dr Mark Galeotti has been researching Russian history and security issues since the late 1980s.
Educated at Cambridge University and the LSE, he is now Professor of Global Affairs at the Center for Global Affairs of New York University's School of Professional Studies, Director of its Initiative for the Study of Emerging Threats, and an associate member of NYU's History and Russian & Slavic Studies departments. Until 2008, he was head of the History department at Keele University in the UK as well as director of its Organised Russian & Eurasian Crime Research Unit.
His books include the edited collections 'The Politics of Security in Modern Russia' (Ashgate), 'Russian & Soviet Organized Crime' (Ashgate) and 'Global Crime Today' (Routledge) and he is a regular contributor to Jane's Intelligence Review, Oxford Analytica and many other outlets. He writes regular columns for the Moscow Times and Business New Europe.
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