In Moscow’s Shadows (New York):
Why has reform not stopped police abuse in Russia?
It’s a year since the Law on the Police was introduced amidst a series of genuflections towards the need to improve the cops’ human rights record, close the legitimacy gap between police and the policed and generally do something about long-entrenched habits and practices of corruption, intimidation and brutality. Heavens, the police were even banned from truncheoning pregnant women; I’d have thought this shouldn’t have needed to be said, but given the choice, I’d rather it be proscribed than permitted.
So has the world changed? It may not seem so. We are still being horrified by a litany of abuses and tragedies, from the fatal beating and torture of Sergei Nazarov in Kazan on March 9, through journalists being attacked and beaten while covering anti-government protests. (Parenthetically, Russian prisons are also still rife with violence.) So, what’s going on?