A Moscow police captain has been arrested for corruption, Russian police said Monday.
The unnamed captain was charged with accepting US$40,000 in bribes from a car dealer for turning a blind eye to his illegal activities. The captain’s superiors also will be punished, according to a police spokesperson.
Russian law enforcement has been shaken by a series of scandals over the past three years, revolving around corruption and police brutality. The scandals caused a domestic and international revolt, and major human rights organizations urged the Russian government to act.
In December 2009 Russian President Dimitry Medvedev proposed a series of measures to curb corruption in law enforcement. He stated that a 20 percent reduction in the police force would lead to an increase in the pay for the remaining officers, making them less susceptible to bribes. He also advocated greater government control over law enforcement agencies.
In 2010, Medvedev introduced a police reform law, but critics say there have been no noticeable improvements. President of the Public Verdict Foundation Natalia Taubina wrote following the April 10 Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights that “The results of the review testify to the fact that the vital principles of accountability, transparency and respect for human rights that are enshrined in the law ‘On the Police’ have not filtered down into the everyday practices of the police.”
Despite the Kremlin’s optimism, police corruption and brutality remain serious problems. In March, police tortured 52-year old Sergei Nazarov, who died in a hospital one day after he was arrested on minor charges.
Nazarov’s death and the shocking treatment of 22-year old Oskar Krylov at the hands of the police are just two of many cases of police brutality reported in Russia. Although the officers who tortured him were fired and imprisoned, Krylov says he still lives in fear.
In February, Medvedev had the St. Petersburg chief of police Mikhail Sukhodolsky fired a month after a 15-year old boy was beaten to death during interrogation.