06MOSCOW10289, RUSSIAN PUBLIC’S VIEWS ON POLICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW10289 2006-09-14 15:01 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0028
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0289 2571501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141501Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2327
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MOSCOW 010289 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN PUBLIC'S VIEWS ON POLICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
 
1.  SUMMARY: An overwhelming majority of the Russian public 
believes that human rights abuse by police is widespread 
according to recent polling data.  The police, on the 
contrary, believe they are unfairly maligned, but recognize 
problems within the MVD.  These and other findings presented 
on September 11 by the Moscow-based Levada Center suggest 
that the one thing that citizens and police have in common is 
an adversarial view of one other.  END SUMMARY 
 
2.  At the September 11 unveiling of a study entitled "Index 
of Abuse by Law Enforcement Agencies," Yuriy Levada, Director 
of the eponynomous Levada Center, confirmed that abuses by 
the police are significant and are not properly being 
addressed by the authorities.  Among the study's significant 
findings: 
 
-- only 25 percent of Russians have faith in the police; 
-- all age groups and education levels believe that abuse by 
the police is a serious problem, with more than 80 percent 
considering it a very serious or rather serious problem; 
-- over 50 percent of the population also thinks that 
authorities deploy the police against their political 
opponents; 
-- less than 14 percent of the population feel that they are 
properly protected by the police; 
-- and only 30 percent feel they can rely on other law 
enforcement agencies to defend their rights when they are 
victims of police abuse. 
 
3.  At the top of Russians concern about police behavior were: 
 
-- extortion of small and mid-sized businesses; 
-- extortion for lack of a residence permit; 
-- police collusion with organized crime groups; 
-- lack of legal or administrative recourse to police abuse. 
 
4.  According to the study, Russians also feared illegal 
behavior by the police, such as threats and physical 
violence, arbitrary detainment, drug and weapons "frame-ups," 
false testimony, and the excessive use of force during 
demonstrations and meetings. A slight majority of 
respondents, however, believed that the police had become 
more professional in the last two to three years. 
 
5.  The study also surveyed police officers, who described 
systemic problems in their law enforcement agencies. Findings 
included: 
 
-- the MVD leadership does not sufficiently address the needs 
of police officers; 
-- police said that they have no recourse against their 
superiors and that their work is very formalized and 
bureaucratic; 
-- the police believe that the media intentionally paint a 
negative picture of them. 
 
6. Tellingly, more than half of those officers surveyed 
consider it acceptable to use force against detained 
suspects, and twenty percent believe it is acceptable to 
plant drugs or weapons on suspects. 
 
7.  In summarizing the results of the study, Levada 
contended that although the Soviet system had collapsed, law 
enforcement institutions remained unchanged, especially in 
its outlook. 
BURNS

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