Russia today is the last Militia Day. It is commemorated differently. In Kirovsky district court of Ufa there are pleadings under the case of murder of a school teacher committed by police sergeant Simukhin. The conviction is not far away. In the small city of Kstovo in Nizhny Novgorod region the case about cruel beatings of a 17-year old teenager by a local police officer is being investigated. It will not take long to pronounce the verdict either. In Arzamas three “heroes in uniform” who beat and raped a woman in the medical sobering-up station will soon face the court. According to the opinion poll conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre, the profession of a policeman is at the very bottom of the list from the point of view of appreciation and prestige.
The Militia Day is really commemorated for the last time. The Government has promised to reform the Ministry of the Interior and give the militia a new name – police. It believes that the new law enforcement body will set its face, and not the rubber club, towards the public.
And today’s incident in Nizhny Novgorod supports the dream of the new Russian police and gives us hope that it might come true. A former police officer who ill-treated famous Nizhny Novgorod physicist Vadim Lobanov 6 years ago has sincerely repented on his own initiative, without any hints or reminders (though, we may put it in brackets, he could forget about it and let things go, especially in this case, since there is no threat of prosecution or punishment for him), and has written Mr. Lobanov a letter. In the letter he has admitted the fact of arbitrary treatment, apologized and offered a compensation of moral damage. And he has actually paid it.
We would like to reiterate that 6 years have passed since the events. Even the investigation authorities goaded into action by the Committee Against Torture have failed to detect any violations in the actions of the officer during these 6 years. But the policeman himself has always remembered about the crime. After he retired he started thinking about his soul and about people whom he had willfully or involuntary harmed while wearing the police uniform. And he has found courage to repent. There is still hope for a better future of the authority which is going to replace the militia. We may hope that such people will form the core of the future Russian police – not the people who do not make mistakes, but people who are capable of admitting and fixing them.
Below you can find the letter of the retired Ministry of the Interior officer who apologizes to the person he abused. In its turn, the Committee Against Torture stops the proceedings under Vadim Lobanov’s application and withdraws a corresponding application from the European Court.
“Attention: V.N. Lobanov
Dr. Mr. Lobanov,
I would like to sincerely apologize to you in connection with the incident which took place on 29 October 2004 during your detention. I am really sorry that I arbitrarily used violence and special devices. I honestly repent and am ready to compensate the moral damage to you. I wish you health and happiness.
10.11.2010 O.L. Blagodirov ”