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    Medvedev to endorse reform law on Interior Ministry Thursday

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday he will sign a law later in the day to reform the Interior Ministry.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday he will sign a law later in the day to reform the Interior Ministry.

    Calls for police reform were spurred by a number of incidents involving Interior Ministry officers. In the worst incident, which occured in April, Denis Yevsyukov, then a police major, took a taxi to a supermarket in southern Moscow, where he shot the driver dead, before walking into a store and killed two more people and wounded six others.

    "Today I will sign a law improving the activity of the Interior Ministry that will envisage organizational reform, amendments to some financial issues and certain legal as well as staffing changes," Medvedev said in a live broadcast interview with three state television channels.

    He pledged radical changes to the Interior Ministry's structure, but said responsible workers would retain their jobs. Redundancies could be balanced with higher salaries for those police officers who will survive the reform, according to the president.

    "It [the Interior Ministry] undoubtedly needs major, drastic changes, and they will be undertaken. But we must preserve the core of the ministry's staff, those who are capable of responsible work," Medvedev said.

    The president, who recently dismissed a number of regional penitentiary officials, also demanded order in the system which he said had "substantial drawbacks."

    British hedge fund Hermitage lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was awaiting trial on tax evasion charges, died in November after 11 months behind bars in Moscow.

    Medvedev fired Major General Anatoly Mikhalkin, head of the tax crimes department in the Interior Ministry's Moscow branch, on suspicion of his being responsible for Magnitsky's death, and ordered a probe into the incident. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called it a "tragedy."

    The Russian leader also denounced the passage of any unjust court rulings across Russia as evil that should be combated.

    The president ordered that any judicial official who passes sentences under pressure be held responsible "to the law and the country."

    Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin explained on Wednesday delays in Interior Ministry reform under which all the ministry's departments should be switched to federal funding with the need to spend a huge 200 billion rubles ($6.6 bln).

    MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti)


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