MOSCOW (Reuters) - A former Russian policeman, who accused officers in his home town of corruption in blogs that had more than one million Internet hits, said on Tuesday he wanted to discuss the affair with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Major Alexei Dymovsky was fired after he posted two video clips on YouTube in which he appealed to Putin to rein in senior officers who he accused of pressuring subordinates to charge innocent people to meet statistical targets.
Unusually for Russia, where reports of high-level corruption and abuse of power rarely go public, Dymovsky’s accusations have become a highlight of print media and key state-controlled television channels.
“We have to serve the law, not the generals,” Dymovsky told a packed news conference in Moscow on Tuesday, Russia’s national day for its police forces. “I want to keep working and I want to achieve justice.”
He also complained of surveillance and efforts to stop him traveling to Moscow.
After the videos gained attention in media reports over the weekend, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, responsible for the police, promised an inquiry into Dymovsky’s allegations.
Regional police were fast to report that their own investigation failed to back up Dymovsky’s charges.
Dymovsky, who worked in the criminal police force of the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, accused senior officers of forcing him to work at weekends and exerting undue pressure.
The major repeated the accusations in video clips posted on his website dymovskiy.ru and viewed more than one million times on YouTube, according to the site's statistics.
“I want to show you from the inside the life of cops across Russia ... the ignorance, the boorishness, the recklessness, where officers die because of their dim-witted bosses,” Dymovsky said in the video.
Dymovsky told reporters that senior officers kept compromising material on subordinates so they could fire them at any time. He said officers were pressured to charge innocent people to meet targets for solved crimes.
“If you fulfil the plan, then great, if you don’t, you have to pay. The orders come from the leadership, but it’s all oral, of course.”
Dymovsky said he planned to stay in Moscow to try and have a meeting with Putin to secure a wide-scale inquiry to help restore the honor of the police.
Dymovsky told reporters he believed his telephone was tapped after the YouTube clips came to light and described how his car was blocked on his way to a local airport.
After leaving by road for Moscow, he said he changed his car three times and removed the battery and sim card from his mobile phone to prevent himself from being monitored.
Russian news agencies quoted an unnamed interior ministry source as saying Dymovsky’s protest was a provocative act aimed at destabilizing the situation in Southern Russia and discrediting police, possibly organized by “foreign money.” (Reporting by Conor Sweeney and Conor Humphries)