Police Corruption in Russia

Posted: February 2, 2013 by batnomin in Uncategorized

Police corruption happens in just about every country. Unfortunately, people in some countries have to deal with more serious forms of police corruption and violence on a daily basis. As someone who was born and raised in Russia and lived in number of different countries including Mongolia, Turkey, Korea, and Canada, I have seen and experienced just about every kind of police corruption and violence there is. As most people know, Russian police has always been rather corrupt and use violence to the most extreme level possible. When it comes to Russian police and the internal affairs, the corruption takes many different forms and involves many individuals. They have all three types of corrupt officers as described by Punch, 2009.

Punch’s 3 categories include:

  1. Grass- eaters which are the ones who accept free meal, discounts and just a general perks.
  2. Meat- eaters are those officers who actually seek out opportunity for bribery and accept the bribes with no problem.
  3. Birds are the ones who are not mentioned that much. Those who don’t really have the right opportunity or they think about their future prospects.

From what I have seen and know, Russian and Mongolian police officers accept bribes and seek out bribes in order to support themselves and their families. Police officers in both of these countries are grossly underpaid and overworked which is the perfect recipe for those who are offering the bribes. If, for example, an officer decides to live and work “clean handed” he or she will most likely end up getting fired or killed. This is probably one of the reasons why I was so surprised when I learned that in Canada, police officers get a decent pay. I was so used to seeing illegal activities involving police officials back home that I could not wrap my head around as to why Canadian police officers seemed so into their duties.

In Russia, most serious police corruptions go underground and they are not reported on TV in detail. There is always the death threat for the officers who are involved in major bribes. For example, Russian mafia is so powerful because they have “friends” in police agencies. The drug dealers pay high price in exchange for “a blind eye” from police officials. This means it is a huge risk for anyone to disclose it.

Reference list,

Punch, Maurice. (2011). Police Corruption: Deviance, Accountability and Reform in Policing. New York, USA: Routledge.




  1. Mike Larsen says:

    Interesting post topic. I would like to see some additional resources, or at least some context for the videos. How could we go about explaining the causes of systemic corruption in Russian policing organizations? What are the factors that create and sustain deviance?

  2. batnomin says:

    In order to explain the systemic corruption in Russian policing organizations, we need to look at the bigger picture and break it down in little pieces for analysis. One of the main reasons why the Russian police organizations became so corrupt is closely tied to the government in general. Russian government has always been far away from being completely or at least partially transparent. The government officials are so corrupt that they don’t see it as a problem. To me that’s the whole problem. If government officials and policy makers don’t see or accept that they are corrupt, there almost no way of “fixing” the problem. Russian police officers exercise brutality, torture, and accept bribes on a daily basis. The whole system works on two main things: How much money the person is willing to throw at them and/or how much people with power you know who works in some sort of government agency. For example, let’s just say there was a car accident somewhere in Moscow. If the drivers have 50/50 fault, both sides will end up paying the attending traffic officer some amount of money to just get it over with. Same thing happens in Mongolia on a daily basis. if you don’t have money (for bribe) the officers can beat you, arrest you, and do whatever they please. I personally don’t think there is a way to prevent this bribes, tortures and corruption in general. The police officers in Russia get paid very little amount of money as they are on fixed salary. In my opinion, that is one of the main reasons why corruption is widespread among Russian police officers. The Russian mafia and other underground criminal groups know all about this; therefore, they pay the officers enough money to do 3 main things: to shut up, to disappear, or to partake in their criminal activities. In of the videos linked above, the former police officer in Russia is so scared for his life that he had to hire a bodyguard and send his family to a “secret” location. Let me just say that hiding is not an option there.
    Another big problem is the fact that the level of denial and neutralization is at its highest in Russian police organizations. The officers know their way around the system and are masters at working the system. There are minimal amount of supervision and accountability. Citizens of Russia do know what is happening and they do protest, but that will do nothing as the government will and do deploy their corrupt officers to beat up or even kill anyone who is on their way or opposing the bribery. Diffusion of responsibility is their greatest skill.

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