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Policeman Makes YouTube Appeal to Putin

Dymovsky Dymovskiy.ru

Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev ordered an investigation Sunday of the Novorossiisk police after a local officer made a personal appeal to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin complaining of bad working conditions and being ordered to arrest innocent people.

Nurgaliyev also ordered that the officer be suspended pending the investigation, while the Krasnodar region police chief fired him for slander, Interior Ministry spokesman Valery Gribakin said Sunday, Interfax reported.

“Nurgaliyev will report on the results of the check to the president and prime minister,” Gribakin said.

The incident is the latest embarrassment for Nurgaliyev, who has been struggling to reign in corruption in his ministry and deal with fallout from a police officer’s shooting rampage this spring that left three people dead.

Alexei Dymovsky, a police major in the Krasnodar region city of Novorossiisk, said Sunday on Ekho Moskvy radio that he feared for his life and his family after his video addresses to Putin became an Internet sensation.

In the apparently unscripted and at times stumbling speeches, Dymovsky criticized his superiors for ordering him to arrest innocent people or be faced with unpaid overtime. He also said they told doctors not to give him paperwork for sick leave.

“I’m sick and tired of it all, and I want to resign,” Dymovsky said.

Two videos — both approximately six minutes long — were posted late Thursday on his web site,

Dymovskiy.ru. The clips, filled with patriotic language and homage to state service, were later reposted on YouTube and quickly spread around the Russian blogosphere.

By Sunday evening, the two clips had more than 400,000 combined viewings on YouTube, and the number was steadily rising.

Dymovsky, 32, works in the city’s department against drug trafficking and has served in the Novorossiisk police since 2004. Before that, he worked in the Amur region city of Svobodny, according to a biography on his site.

In the videos, Dymovsky complained that his monthly salary was only 14,000 rubles ($480) but that he had to work 30 days per month. He said he was on sick leave because his left arm was becoming numb from an injury and that he had been denied medical attention at local facilities for not solving enough crimes.

During his 10 years as a police officer, Dymovsky said, two wives left him because of his tough work schedule. Now he fears for the safety of his new wife, who is six months pregnant.

He told Ekho Moskvy that he was planning to send her to Moscow for safety reasons and that he had to hire a security guard and a car because he suspected that he was being followed.

Novorossiisk police met Saturday and condemned Dymovsky’s actions, spokeswoman Polina Gerasimova told Interfax. “People become investigators not to get rich, but because it’s their calling,” she said.

“We disagree with our colleague, whom we can hardly call a colleague, since the major hasn’t showed up at work since August,” the police said in a statement.

As of Sunday evening, there was no reaction from Putin. The Public Chamber, a government oversight body, said Dymovsky’s allegations would be seriously examined.

“In case of an emergency, we’re ready to take the police officer under protection to avoid sanctions and persecution,” said lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, head of the chamber’s committee to oversee the activities of law enforcement agencies.

Human rights advocates in Novorossiisk met with the acting city police chief, Vladimir Grebenyuk, and regional officials. Police chief Vladimir Chernositov, among those whom Dymovsky criticized by name, has also been on sick leave, Interfax reported.

“Dymovsky said what nearly every police worker feels in Russia,” Mikhail Pashkin, chairman of the Moscow police union’s coordinating committee, said Saturday on Ekho Moskvy. “We have the same happening in Moscow.”

In his appeal, Dymovsky also offered to recruit for Putin a team of good police officers to carry out a nationwide investigation of law enforcement agencies.

“Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], I appeal to you with a request. Let’s carry out an independent investigation all around our Russia. And I’m ready to take on such responsibilities,” he said.

The offer coincides with Interior Ministry plans to root out corruption. Most notably, Nurgaliyev said in August that he planned to stamp out corruption in his ministry within a month.

In an interview to Der Spiegel magazine, President Dmitry Medvedev played down Nurgaliyev’s pledge, but he also sounded a note of frustration.

“I hope, anyway, that the interior minister has a realistic idea of how to fight corruption. Of course, you can’t defeat corruption in a month. As I understood Nurgaliyev, he was talking about getting rid of the most serious abuses in the Interior Ministry,” Medvedev said, according to a transcript posted on the Kremlin web site.

Problems of the law enforcement system have been a subject of intense discussion since police Major Denis Yevsyukov killed three and wounded six people in a Moscow supermarket on April 27.

Medvedev sacked Moscow’s police chief several days later.

In October, the republic of Buryatia’s top police official and his deputy were arrested in connection with a contraband case. Also last month, Medvedev fired the Tuva region’s police chief after an officer there shot two traffic cops, killing one and injuring the other, before shooting himself.

After that incident, Nurgaliyev called on the federal, regional and local police to discuss ways of reinforcing work discipline.

The scandal with Dymovsky comes at a particularly unfortunate time for the Interior Ministry, which celebrates the national Police Day holiday on Tuesday.

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