Friday, January 22, 2010

Russian Police Officer Aleksei Dymovsky Speaks out Against Corruption

"The authorities are seeking to 'discredit [Major Aleksei Dymovsky] and make him look like an ordinary crook in order to humiliate him and belittle his role and his public statements.'"--Major Alexei Dymovsky's attorney, Sergei Gubar, speaking to the Russian Service of RFE/RL (1-22-10)

The Novorossiisk authorities and the state security (FSB) are subjecting Major Aleksei Dymovsky (Алексей Дымовский), a Russian police officer, to a campaign of kompromat and legalized repression because he appealed to Prime Minister Putin on Youtube (English subtitles) to tackle corruption in the police. After he posted his allegations on Youtube, Dymovsky was fired for "libel and action that tarnishes the police force," according to the English-language RIA Novosti (1-22-10).

Major Dymovsky has now been charged in court with fraud and abuse of power because he told the truth about police corruption.

According to Major Dymovsky, young policemen don't mind the low salaries because they know they will be able to supplement their income with bribes. Major Dymovsky alleges that the Novorossiisk police are even pressured to arrest innocent people in order to meet monthly quotas. Major Dymovsky keeps sighing during his appeal to Prime Minister Putin. He seems very sad and resigned to his fate--a campaign of fabricated slander and arrest.

In this Youtube video, a young man asks Russians if they have ever heard of Major Dymovsky's appeal to Prime Minister Putin to tackle corruption in police (militsia). What do you think they are saying?

I thought it was pretty ironic that Major Dymovsky appealed to the former KGB officer Prime Minister Putin to tackle corruption and bribetaking in the police; when Putin worked in Leningrad/St. Petersburg, his job was to decide who would be given a license to export precious metals. How do you think Putin decided who would be given a license? Probably he took bribes.

I remember what happened to the FSB wistleblower Alexandr Litvinenko and wonder if the ordinary policeman Major Alexei Dymovsky will meet a similar fate. As Litvinenko's Wikipedia entry notes:

In November 1998, Litvinenko publicly accused his [FSB] superiors of ordering the assassination of Russian tycoon and oligarch, Boris Berezovsky. Litvinenko was arrested the following March on charges of exceeding his authority at work. He was acquitted in November 1999 but re-arrested before the charges were again dismissed in 2000. A third criminal case began but he fled the country to the United Kingdom with his wife, where he was granted political asylum.

During his time in London Litvinenko authored two books, "Blowing up Russia: Terror from within" and "Lubyanka Criminal Group," where he accused Russian secret services of staging Russian apartment bombings and other terrorism acts to bring Vladimir Putin to power.[3] He also accused Vladimir Putin of ordering the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.[4]

On 1 November 2006, Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized. He died three weeks later from lethal poisoning by radioactive polonium-210, an incident that is sometimes commented as "the beginning of an era of nuclear terrorism."[5][6][7][8]The events leading up to his poisoning and death are a matter of controversy, spawning numerous theories relating to his poisoning and death. The British investigation into his death resulted in a failed request to Russia for the extradition of Andrey Lugovoy whom they accused of Litvinenko's murder, contributing to the further cooling of Russia–United Kingdom relations.

RFE/RL (1-22-10) reports on Alexei Dymovsky:

A Russian police officer who gained widespread fame for posting a video on YouTube alleging police corruption has been arrested for fraud and abuse of power.

Aleksei Dymovsky made international headlines late last year when he appealed to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to tackle police corruption on the popular video-sharing site. In a statement, the Prosecutor-General's Office said he faces 10 years in prison if convicted.

Dymovsky's attorney, Sergei Gubar, tells RFE/RL's Russian Service that the authorities are seeking to "discredit him and make him look like an ordinary crook in order to humiliate him and belittle his role and his public statements."

Gubar adds that the arrest will discourage future whistle blowers and harm the cause of combating corruption.

"By today's actions, by detaining Aleksei Dymovsky, they are threatening those people of common sense who remain in the police, telling them that if they try to fight the system, the same will happen to them. What happened today was completely unlawful."

Fired After Posting

In a series of videos posted on YouTube, Dymovsky, who was a police major in the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, alleged that police there engaged in routine falsification of evidence and were under pressure to arrest innocent people in order to meet monthly quotas. He also complained of poor working conditions and a low salary.

Dymovsky was fired after posting the videos, which received more than 1 million hits on YouTube. Police in Novorossiisk conducted their own investigation after the videos were released, which they said did not back up Dymovsky's allegations.

Rights activists, however, said the allegations were accurate and that police abuse and fraud in Russia are widespread.

Attorney Vladimir Volkov, a former prosecutor, told RFE/RL's Russian Service at the time that Dymovsky's allegations only scratch the surface of the malfeasance among the country's police.

"Of course, what he said is true," Volkov said. "What's more, Dymovsky doesn't even know the whole truth."

Authorities announced in December that they were investigating Dymovsky for fraud linked to abuse of office. He was summoned today to appear in Novorossiisk's Primorsky District Court.

Foregone Conclusion

Vadim Karastelyov, a Russian human rights activist, tells RFE/RL's Russian Service that his detention had been a foregone conclusion.

"The decision to detain [Dymovsky] had been made before the hearing because the courthouse was surrounded by police and FSB personnel, and a police car was waiting for him outside," Karastelyov says. "So, even before the announcement of the ruling, the police took control of the courtroom. They entered the room together with the judge. Then the judge read out the decision to detain him." [See full text.]

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