Something clicked in the heads of police chiefs after an armed group of special police unit could not take confiscated goods from a Vietnamese market for three days. Police generals realized closer to the New Year’s eve that Russia was actually in the hands of ethnic criminal groups that threatened the economic security of the country. Better late than never, so to speak.
RIA Novosti news agency reported that deputy Internal Affairs Minister of Russia Alexander Chekalin said at a press conference that the Russian Internal Ministry is really concerned about the penetration of ethnic criminal groups into Russian markets. These groups basically consist of South East Asia immigrants as well as of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States.They deal with mass smuggling of goods. Alexander Chekalin said that the considerable cash in circulation and the opportunity to sell illegal and unregistered products has attracted organized crime to the consumer market. When criminal groups fight for their spheres of influence, this often results serious crimes with the use of weapons and bombs.
As if a senior police officer does not remember the time when there were crowds of armed Chechens driving about Moscow in Mercedes cars in the beginning of the 1990s. They would take hostages in public, near such hotels as Russia, Radison-Slavyanskaya, Moscow, and Ukraine, and beat up traders and businessmen. Maybe, this official has also forgotten the time when and armed groups of Caucasians seized trains with traders and would not let them leave until they gave them everything they had. It seems that the Russian police were doing their best not to notice.
Those brave Caucasians were politically protected by the Kremlin. Things that happen now pale in comparison with the events that took place seven or eight years ago. It is as if General Chekalin had been living not in Russia, but in quiet Switzerland. To all appearances, the police have been ordered not to disguise the Caucasian problem any longer. The deputy of internal affairs minister is entitled to state that the situation on the consumer market is still complicated. Six hundred of the 127 thousand crimes that were committed in 2002 were economic crimes in the field of the consumer market. Furthermore, the consumer market is a favorable environment for illegal immigration. The police noticed situation with copyrights as well.
Alexander Chekalin promised that the Internal Ministry and its bodies are going to take serious measures to strengthen the struggle with criminality on the consumer market of Russia and to guarantee the protection of citizens’ rights and interests. However, the activity in this field “is not supposed to put obstacles in the way of legal business activity,” said the general.
Time will show if there will be any good from the intention of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry. Yet, it seems that the story will end up as usual: the police will talk about it a bit more, and then they will get back to blackmailing illegal businessmen from the Caucasus, Vietnam, and China. Our police officers are paid very little, but they need to feed their families all the same.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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