400 Moscow Cops Fired This Year

Police Officers Providing Security at an Assembly on Triumfalnaya Square Earlier This Month. M. Stulov

About 400 Moscow police officers have been fired for various offenses in the first 8 months of this year, the city's police chief Anatoly Yakunin said.

The figure is two times higher than last year, and it will continue to rise as the authorities try to "create order in the system," Yakunin said on the Rossiya 24 television channel.

The Interior Ministry has also changed the way it is confronting illegal immigration, focusing increasingly on arresting employers who hire illegal immigrants, he said, Interfax reported Tuesday.

"The serious work is just beginning, and I think that these measures will get through to unscrupulous employers, and they will carry out their activities in Russia within the framework of the law," he said.

Yakunin added that 30 officials from the police department and the Golyanovo district administration have been fired since July 27, when a police officer was attacked by a group of immigrants at the Matveyevsky market in Moscow.

The officials were removed on suspicion of their involvement in a criminal racket organizing illegal immigration, he said.

The persistent presence of corruption and illegal immigration in Russia have been two of the biggest criticisms aimed at the United Russia party by its opponents ahead of the Sept. 8 mayoral and gubernatorial elections.

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