Werewolf Policemen Case Leads to Moscow Police Reform

All police officers of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department have been relieved of their duties

Criminal charges were brought against the six arrested police officers and the general of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department (known for the Russian initials as MUR) on June 30th. All police officers of the mentioned department were temporarily relieved of their duties the very same day. Spokesmen for the Central Directorate for Internal Affairs say that it was a scheduled measure to reform the Moscow police.

The Kommersant-Daily newspaper wrote, a closed meeting took place in Moscow on June 27th. All officers of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department and the administration of the Central Directorate for Internal Affairs were present at the meeting. Vladimir Pronin, chairman of the Moscow Internal Affairs Department said at the meeting that all police officers of the investigation department, including the administration, would be temporarily relieved of their authorities. Pronin specified that it was simply a scheduled measure in the Moscow police reform. However, it is clear that a lot of people have already lost their jobs in the investigation department. Furthermore, it is clear that current events are connected with the notorious case of "werewolf policemen." Police officers joke that their ranks would be called a "junior werewolf" or a "senior werewolf."

Colonel-General Vladimir Vasilyev, deputy Interior Minister, gave an exclusive interview to the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, in which he answered questions about the anti-corruption struggle in the police.

"Any police officer, who comes into conflict with the functioning system, is doomed to severe stresses and constant troubles," said Vasilyev. The official said that there had been a powerful department established to struggle with corruption and other crimes: "It is the Criminal Investigation Security Department. Yet, the new department is not enough, one has to have understanding among the personnel, but it is a problem," the general said.

Vladimir Vasilyev added that the Russian Interior Ministry was trying to change the situation, "to create the atmosphere of discomfort and threat, to make people leave, if they did not want to work differently." Most likely, the "cleansing" process will reveal numerous occasions of power abuse not only in the Moscow police. It goes without saying that they will not exert a positive influence on the Interior Minister. A victory might soon become a defeat. Therefore, Vasilyev's  statement was a warning to the police officers, who did not want to "live and work honestly." In other words, they were given an opportunity to quit in an amicable way.

Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov stated last week that the case of "werewolf policemen" would be brought to court on time. The minister added that the investigation was being conducted within the framework of a usual work process. One shall assume, investigators have already obtained the evidence to prove the policemen's guilt, although their lawyers do not think so. Lieutenant-General Vladimir Ganeyev's lawyer (the general has been charged with extorting $700,000 and precious stones trafficking) said in an interview on June 29th that he had a completely different point of view: "Official charges against my client are to be brought on June 30th, and we will study it in detail, of course. Yet, I may say it now that there are a lot of far-fetched things about the case, and our team will try to prove it."

The decision of the Moscow Basmanny Court to extend the time for keeping the general under arrest has already been appealed, the lawyers are waiting for a decision of a higher instance.

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Author`s name Olga Savka