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New Russian Investigations Committee 'not a monster of 1937', says its head

Gulag Fence and Tower - from nps.govMoscow, 9 December: Acting Chairman of the Russian Investigations Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin has said that the new Investigations Committee will not be another NKVD. (The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, or NKVD, was the public and secret police agency in the period of Joseph Stalin and was largely responsible for executing political repression orders)

"When people say that we want to set up an NKVD (by merging various investigations bodies to form one Investigations Committee) and that we will be slaughtering people all over the place, this are blatant unscrupulous lies," Bastrykin said at a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia faction in the State Duma today.

He was telling deputies about the president-proposed draft law on establishing a single Investigations Committee in Russia.

Bastrykin said he was bewildered by statements by some deputies "directly saying that you are creating some kind of monster, a monster of 1937".

Bastrykin said he could not understand such a position and categorically rejected the possibility.

There is no need to hurry with establishing a single Investigations Committee in Russia, he said, stressing that this was his personal opinion. "

It should be established but this should be done in a natural evolutionary way, in a calm fashion, without revolutions or hysterics," Bastrykin said.

He said that people should be prepared first and that necessary funding and infrastructure had to be put in place.

According to Bastrykin, staff numbers in the Investigations Committee should not be raised without serious reasons for such a move. "

If a decision is made that there should be 110,000 of us, I cannot be held responsible for this," Bastrykin said.

He also said that all investigators in the committee had their own individual value.

"We are getting rid of traitors, those using their position of an investigator for personal benefit and criminal practices," Bastrykin said.

He said that many people had left the Investigations Committee in recent years at their own will because they were told "if you want to earn big money, go into the business and commerce sector, the banking sector" as "we have very serious requirements and high standards not only regarding your professional level but above all your personal integrity and values".

"We hope that in three to four years we will establish a robust, honest, highly professional and highly effective team of investigators within the Investigations Committee, whoever leads it and whatever status it has," he added.

As for statements questioning the need for a single Investigations Committee and concerns that it might try to monopolize activities, Bastrykin urged deputies not to believe such rumours. "Our aim is not omnipotence or a manic desire to achieve the merger of all mergers," he said.

Bastrykin stressed that the main aim of the committee which might be created would be to protect law and justice.

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