Igor Telin: Saransk militia brings back the Andropov times

Today’s tactics of law-enforcement bodies in Mordovia’s capital Saransk bring to mind some analogy. In mid-1980s, when Yuri Andropov, the communist general secretary, was running the country, militia would undertake regular raids to check how and where Soviet people spent their time during their working hours. Special brigades would look in stores, hair-dresser’s shops, cinemas, etc. asking the unawared visitors the only question: “What are you doing here during your working hours?” Those unable to provide a plausible explanation for their absence on the job would be taken to the nearest militia precinct for identification and subsequent brainwashing. Nowadays, the juvenile delinquency prevention unit of the Saransk militia is undertaking a similar drive - “clearing” the city streets of young loafers. In all, 50 teenagers (from 12 to 17 years of age) have been detained – they failed to coherently explain what they were doing in the street during the classes. 25 teenagers were taken over to their parents. At that, parents of 15 teenagers incurred penalties. Mayor Oleg Vlasenko who heads the militia’s underage affairs department told our correspondent by telephone: “teenage loafing about has become a big problem for Mordovia’s capital city. Such an idling frequently results in theft, hooliganism, and other delinquencies.” In all, nearly 100 teenagers have been checked in the course of the raids in Saransk. Interestingly, there have been no complaints on the part of the parents so far.