Head of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs for Nizhny Novgorod region Lieutenant-General Viktor Bratanov has handed in his resignation. Yesterday this information was disseminated by Information Agency “NTA-Privolzhye”.
As Lieutenant-General has told the reporters, already in August he “handed his resignation over to the Russian Minister of Internal Affairs asking the Minister to dismiss him for he had reached the retirement age”. But the news was published only a month later. Bratanov says that he will not comment on his service in the Directorate of Internal Affairs until his retirement is approved, since he is still a “person wearing shoulder-straps”.
It should be mentioned that Mr. Bratanov has recently had his 55th birthday and in other circumstances he could expect his contract to be prolonged.
Mr. Bratanov has been the head of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs for Nizhny Novgorod region since 2003, and the Committee Against Torture, having its headquarters in Nizhny Novgorod, has had a chance to witness all his activities in that capacity.
It would be incorrect to characterize the work of Lieutenant-General Viktor Bratanov, the “chief policeman of the region”, in one word, regardless of whether this word is “good” or “bad”. Such one-sided assessment would undeservingly simplify the image of Viktor Veniaminovich himself, and the understanding of processes which were going on in the Nizhny Novgorod police with his direct involvement.
Certainly, Lieutenant-General Bratanov was by far not the worst police head and general out of those whom the CAT has met. At the same time, we cannot but say that the expectations which the public and us, human rights defenders dealing with the problem of tortures, attached to this police head have not been met. The situation with tortures in Nizhny Novgorod region has not improved at all in recent years, moreover, applications coming to the ICAT lately resemble Soviet Information Bureau reports from occupied territories. Unfortunately, the events described in the majority of these applications are true, and this is confirmed by numerous judgments in respect of dozens of Bratanov’s subordinates – Nizhny Novgorod policemen found guilty of abuse of office, tortures and ill-treatment.
Anyway, Mr. Bratanov has failed to stop the wave of unlawful ill-treatment of citizens by his subordinates. Did he try to do that really? Only the General’s conscience can answer this question.