Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson
#2 - JRL 2009-131 - JRL Home
Russian State Duma deputies intend to help journalists in investigations

Moscow, 10 July: Members of the State Duma and media representatives intend to set up a structure which would support journalistic investigations and control their results by sending inquiries, Vladimir Vasilyev, the chairman of the security committee, has said.

"We, I mean a number of deputies and the initiative group of journalists, are setting up a structure that would support journalistic investigations that deserve attention (not all of them, surely you can agree, are carried out fairly) and to control their results by means of deputies' inquiries," Vasilyev said in an interview with the (weekly) Novaya gazeta, published on Friday (10July).

He said he "had already sent such an inquiry".

Speaking of the work of law-enforcement bodies, Vasilyev stressed the need for "purging" their ranks. "We are discussing the issue of setting up some mechanisms for "purging" law-enforcement bodies," he said.

"Crime, and you will not deny it, is growing, its organization and the level of extremism are growing, and this in its turn calls first of all for consolidation of law-enforcement bodies, and there is lack of staff; people who in other circumstances would be in prison get work as law-enforcers in a rush like this," Vasilyev said.

Moreover, Vasilyev said, "in case such turncoats in the police are identified, they cannot even be dismissed (if there are no specific failures) in view of the lack of credibility; this occurs in the customs, too. Interior Ministry bodies are being equipped with lie detectors but the results of tests cannot be used in any form."

"Ideally, those who come to the police bodies without love for people, should not be allowed there. But that's in an ideal world, and where can we get people like this? Police is part of society, and those legal stimuli which the Interior Ministry can use to attract people are ludicrous. There are no apartments, the salaries are meagre, though there have been some changes here. For example, with the support from the Moscow government an average salary of a police officer has reached at least 1,000 dollars a month," Vasilyev said.

He said "the cult of cynicism, violence and illicit gain differs today's Russia from the society which we remember," he said, adding that the cult of violence was spread first of all by the media.

"There are signs of some political order in the information campaign against the Interior Ministry bodies, which can be seen in the press," he said.