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Planned Law to Rid Russian Police of Soviet "birthmarks"- LawmakerInterfax | JRL 2010-154-11 - JRL Home

Russian Police Office Near AmbulanceMOSCOW. Aug 14 (Interfax) - A planned law to reform Russia's police force, among other things changing its official name from its Soviet-era misnomer "militia" to "police," will rid the service of "birthmarks of the Soviet past," a lawmaker said.

"This law offers the Interior Ministry a chance to start from scratch. Today we live in another country, and the Soviet militia must go back into the past with their romanticism, their unexpected exploits every hour, and their low wages," Alexander Chekalin, a member of the Federation Council, the upper house, and of the working group that has drafted the bill, told Interfax.

The proposed law would prescribe an essentially new mechanism for personnel selection and social security guarantees for police, Chekalin said.

It would also stipulate public control over police and their monitoring by the media, he said. "Besides, there would be more complicated rules on the use of force and weapons."

"What makes the (planned) law good is that it would once and for all lay the legal basis (for relations) between the state and the Interior Ministry and between the Interior Ministry and the individual, and that it would clearly state what could been done and what could not," Chekalin said.

The essence of the reform is that it would strengthen "the rule of law and shift interests toward the individual and toward his right to protection and security," he said.

Chekalin is a former first deputy interior minister.

Federation Council Deputy Chairman Yury Vorobyov said upper house members were preparing amendments to the draft law.

"At the moment, this law is being studied in specialized committees of the Federation Council, and senators will submit their proposals on this draft law. One shouldn't criticize (the bill) indiscriminately the way some critics do but should make one's proposals," he said.

He argued that it is of secondary importance what name the police force would bear. "The main point is that people who serve there should carry out their duties of defending the individual conscientiously and effectively," he said.

He expressed approval of the fact that the bill is up for a public debate.

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