Russian lawyers expressed doubt Thursday that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's decree to streamline the law enforcement structure would be effective and said society should change first.
Medvedev signed the decree on Thursday. In particular, he ordered staff cuts and instituted the rotation of senior personnel at the Interior Ministry. The government was told to downsize Interior Ministry personnel by 20% by January 1, 2012. He also ordered the closure of two ministry departments, according to the Kremlin press service. The departments in question were not specified.
The decree also orders the interior minister to review personnel selection procedures with a view to making the force better motivated, focused and professional. The minister was given three months to work out an anti-corruption program.
Lawyer Andrei Borovkov, who protects the interests of fugitive Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, said: "This won't bring drastic changes. Where will they take employees from?"
Vadim Klyuvgant, lawyer for ex-Yukos oil company head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, said the problem is in society.
"Police officers won't work better by themselves. They are part of society and there won't be honest police officers until there is a normal society. The system of values needs to be changed," he said.
Calls for police reform were spurred by a number of incidents involving Interior Ministry officers. In the worst incident, which occurred 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.
Medvedev has 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.
MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti)