Medvedev’s first police reform: MVD loses specialised organised crime department

Under Yeltsin, under Putin, and now it seems under Medvedev, reorganising law-enforcement agencies and overlaying new bodies on top of the existing ones has been the usual response to dealing with serious and organised crime. Cynic though I may be, this was my first thought on looking at Medvedev’s latest decree of 6 September 2008. The Interior Ministry (MVD) is to lose its specialised department for fighting organised crime and terrorism (DBOPT, but still widely known by its old acronym, UBOP) and its local branches. Investigating organised crime will simply be rolled into the work of the existing Main Directorate for Criminal Investigation (GUUR) and local CIDs, while UBOP staff will be transferred to a new body with a rather incongruous combination of roles: fighting ‘extremism’ and protecting judicial officials and witnesses.

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