The reform of the Russian police, which President Putin and his team for the last three years have been talking about for the last three years, has at last been carried out. Mr Putin has signed two decrees, "Issues of the Interior Ministry of the Russian Federation" and "Issues of the Federal Migration Service".
According to the first decree, the Interior Ministry will change only in terms of its internal structures and the names of some departments. Its major components, such as the Investigation Committee and the Chief Command of Interior Troops will remain intact.
Putin also promoted Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin to First Deputy.
From now on, the ministry's structure will resemble that of the FSB, where until recently the main structural units were departments. Instead of the current main and "ordinary" directorates, the ministry will have no more than 15 departments covering the main areas of its work. The interior minister will have only three deputies (not counting head of the Federal Migration Service - FMS) instead of the previous 12. The reform has cut the central staff by 20%.
An important point in the police reform is the separate decree on the FMS, which is part of the Interior Ministry. The Service will receive almost all the functions and powers that belonged to the ministry's passport and visa departments. The staff of the Migration Service will be increased by six times to 18,000 people. On the same day Vladimir Putin named Andry Chernenko the head of the new service and the deputy Interior minister. Until now Mr Cherenenko had been the head of the Migration Service under the Interior Ministry.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23