Minister of Internal Affairs

Text: by Mikhail Barschevskiy

The number of serious and very serious crimes in the country is going down. During the year, 1700 police chiefs were dismissed from service for misconduct of their subordinates. The number of employees with higher education at the Police exceeded 70 percent. The Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev spoke about this in his interview to "Rossiyskaya Gazeta".

Vladimir Aleksandrovich, the operation brilliantly executed by your subordinates who have apprehended a murder suspect in Biryulyovo, like many other operations, such as the one in Yaroslavl and Belgorod, nevertheless revealed a strange circumstance. You practically do not investigate some crimes, and only follow the investigations by the Investigative Committee of Russia. At the same time the responsibility for the apprehension of criminals is with you. Is this fair?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: We work within the framework of our authority. In accordance with the Federal Law "On Operational and Investigative Activities" the detection, prevention, suppression and solution of a crime is within the competence of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It is therefore quite logical that the police are also responsible for the search and detention. The functions of the Investigative Committee include the investigation of crimes, including those for which our employees identified and detained the persons who had committed them. For many, especially high-profile cases, we work together, coordinating our actions.

What is happening to the crime in Russia? How and in what direction has the crime situation changed, especially in terms of serious and very serious crimes?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: The data of the current year clearly show the results of our work. The crime rate per 100,000 population decreased by almost fifty five points and equals 1168 crimes.

It is important that there is a decrease in the number of serious and very serious crimes, including murder and intentional grievous bodily harm. The number of recorded robberies and assaults has significantly decreased.

FIGURE: 1.7 thousands of police chiefs were fired last year for misconduct of their subordinates.

At the same time, there was registered a positive dynamics in crime solving.

Serious work is being done to combat organized criminal groups. At the same time we pay particular attention to those of them that are formed in accordance with the ethnic principle. This year alone,  there was suppressed the activities of 438 such criminal organizations.

High efficiency - a direct consequence of the strict executive discipline. It is with restoring the order that you have started your activity as Minister. Last year, for misconduct of subordinates there were dismissed 1700 police chiefs. Will this trend be maintained?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: The practice of prosecuting a chiefs for offenses committed by his subordinates was introduced by me when I was Chief of the MIA General  Administration of the capital. The practice brought positive results, and now we have extended this principle to the entire system. Maybe it's tough, but the situation was such that urgent and effective actions were required. It was necessary to achieve that the chiefs were thinking continuously about the situation in the entrusted area, about the personnel, and were bearing personal responsibility. This year alone, out of four thousand of the MIA employees punished for resonant offenses three-quarters belonged to this very category.

We must create in our teams an atmosphere of intolerance to offenders. When the staff realizes that as a result of the actions of one of them there may suffer a number of their colleagues, they will squeeze these "disoriented ones" out of their units.

Problems associated with migrants, and the growth of ethnic crime again strained the relations of Russian residents to guest workers. Trying to resolve the situation, some politicians started talking about the creation of places for diasporas' compact residence, the so-called Chinatowns in large cities. How do you feel about this, and is the police ready to work in such national enclaves?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: To me, it seems unreasonable offering this method as a solution to the problem of migration. The international practice shows that in countries where there are similar "enclaves" for migrants to reside, there occur with a certain periodicity uncontrolled outbursts of aggression both from the visitors towards the local population, and vice versa.

This year alone, there were neutralized 438 criminal groups, including ethnically-based ones.

No one wins: neither the original residents nor the migrants, nor the authorities, and least of all the Police. In addition, this way does not solve the problems of adaptation and assimilation.

On behalf of all Russians preferring, as you know, to use cash, I would like to thank you for the quick capture of scams selling through ATMs fake five thousand ruble banknotes. In this regard, I have two questions. Why did the police pursue the case, when the fight against counterfeiters is a prerogative of the FSB? And was your agency somehow thanked by banks, the ATMs of which for some reason did not recognize the forgeries, although they were of very poor quality?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: I want to stress from the start that the activities of persons suspected of selling counterfeit five thousand ruble notes through ATMs and POS terminals, was suppressed by joint efforts of the MIA and the FSB of Russia with the assistance of the bank security service. A criminal case has been initiated against the suspects under Article 186 of the Criminal Code "Manufacturing, storage, transportation or sale of counterfeit money or securities." Three suspects involved in the case are in detention by the court decision.

In this case, we performed the work for which the state and the taxpayers pay our wages, without expecting any additional gratitude. Citizens' satisfaction with the results of our work - it's the best result for us.

The first six months in the ministerial positions you looked somehow tired, maybe even a little confused, and now you look good. Got used to the job or got accustomed to the constant stress?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: The level of responsibility for the entrusted work covering the whole country makes a certain mark on a person. He should go through a certain period of adaptation. Perhaps these are the changes, you have noticed in me.

With regard to stress, a person gets used to anything.

MIA personnel is becoming increasingly professional. Over 71% of employees have higher education already.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that the events of May 6 last year, left an indelible mark in your soul. It seemed you did not want to believe that in the cultural and intellectual Moscow people who came to the rally, may cross the line, turning into an aggressive unruly crowd. Did that day affect some of your views, traits of character?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: At the time of any mass social and political events the police is always ready not only physically, but also mentally for any scenario. Therefore, on that challenging day we were able to respond quickly.

In general, every event - it's some experience. On May 6, 2012, we once again got sure that some provocateurs never miss an opportunity to take advantage of a massive gathering of citizens in an attempt to destabilize the situation. Therefore, in this respect, we have long ago formed our clear position - any provocative actions always and everywhere will be immediately suppressed.

What areas of the police activities are currently the most important?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: The Ministry of Internal Affairs faces a wide spectrum of important tasks. This is our common fight against crime and corruption as well as maintenance of public order and security. Their implementation is equally important for our citizens, because it is the effectiveness of the police that determines the feeling of security of every individual citizen.

Such efficiency is directly related to the quality of the personnel. Today the share of skilled employees with an experience ranging from 3 to 10 years increased to 41.5 percent. The number of employees with higher education increased to 71.5 per cent.

These facts allow me to say with confidence that the system of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs is becoming increasingly professional.

What support do you expect from the legislators?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: We have submitted a number of legislative drafts to the State Duma. And we hope that they will be considered and approved. In my recent speeches in the State Duma and the Federation Council, I outlined those of them which are of priority for the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. In particular, we believe it necessary to introduce in Russia criminal responsibility for financing the extremist activity. We also hope that the State Duma will soon approve our legislative initiatives on the participation of citizens in the protection of public order.

In countries where there are "enclaves" for accommodation of migrants there occur uncontrolled outbreaks of aggression.

In a recent interview you remarked in irritation that you were in favor of returning the death penalty for brutal and atrocious crimes. However, you also noted that you support this as a private citizen and not as a minister. Tell me, how often citizen Kolokoltsev opposes minister or lawyer Kolokoltsev?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: Opposing here is just impossible. You should agree, every minister in the first place is an ordinary man. But he is assigned to a position with a large responsibility, so no human emotions may influence his decisions taken in strict accordance with the law or influence the fulfillment of his tasks.

The key question

The reform, which began in the Ministry of Internal Affairs with the adoption of the Law on the Police and received a new impetus with your appointment, is definitely bringing some fruit. In this one interview only, we touched on a few high-profile cases that have been resolved within a very short period of time. And what are your personal feelings, is the attitude of citizens towards the police changing?  Do they trust the Police more now?

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: For me as Minister of Internal Affairs the reputation of the Ministry and the citizens' opinion about our work are extremely important. I want to assure you that we are deeply self-critical and able to objectively evaluate our performance. We can see hidden problems, over which we need to work and work to win the trust of the people of our country.

We are committed to doing all we can to make people feel fully protected. After all, this is the main factor of public confidence in us and our work.

The material was prepared jointly with the Association of Lawyers of Russia

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