Mind-reading devices to help screen Russian cops
It reads like science fiction, but it’ll soon be science fact. Special mind-reading devices are to be rolled out across Russia’s revamped police force.
In addition to the current standard background checks undergone by all police recruits (just to make sure they do not have any serious gangster connections), now HR managers and Federal Security Service officers will be able to delve deep into the minds of future policemen. The sincerity of their desire to serve and protect, as well as any latent criminal or sadistic traits, will all be assessed.
The Interior Ministry has reopened a center where specialists will spend their time reading people’s minds and probing deep into their subconscious. The newly-overhauled Center for Socio-Psychological and Special Psychological and Physiological Research will screen individuals to weed out any who are unfit for service. It will also, where needed, provide psychological assistance to serving members of the force, said Deputy Interior Minister Sergei Gerasimov.
He said specialists at the center would do their best to prevent police brutality, and that any police force considered having lax moral standards to be inadmissible. Although police officers are under constant stress as they deal with the criminal underworld, they also have a considerable amount of contact with law-abiding citizens. Consequently, they must always be ready to come to the rescue, to display tact and consideration for those in trouble.
Apart from sorting the wheat from the chaff, the center’s psychologists are there to help those employed to work under conditions of extreme stress and, where necessary, to rehabilitate them following trauma experienced in the line of duty, Gerasimov explained. The center will primarily focus on generals and senior officers, assessing their performance and selecting candidates for top positions.
Their aptitudes, professionalism, reliability, mental stability and resistance to corruption will be assessed. The mental stability of officers authorized to own and use service weapons is a key issue. The team spirit of entire police units, and the morale of individual officers, will also be looked at.
This innovative center is developing and introducing the very latest psychological technology, and has a solid track record of adopting both new equipment and approaches. A psychological diagnostic complex allows them to assess human needs and motivations, individual traits and intellectual abilities, as well as psychomotor, neurodynamic and sensory-perception faculties.
One device is used in the diagnosis and correction of police officers’ psychological and physiological capacities. Another device takes a radical new approach to drug-testing, in addition to which the center has also developed several lie detectors for screening rank-and-file personnel and for conducting internal investigations and HR checks.
Most Russians admit National Unity Day means nothing to them
This November’s long weekend starts with National Unity Day, a recently decreed public holiday, and ends with the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. However, the holidays mean little more to most Russians than some welcome time off to wind down or get some vital gardening in before winter.
Unity Day commemorates a popular uprising that freed Moscow from Polish-Lithuanian invaders on November 4, 1612. It was led by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky. In 1918, the communists replaced it with a new holiday, November 7, marking the Russian Revolution, which was faithfully celebrated right through until 2005.
Paradoxically, 66% of respondents in a recent survey told national pollsters at VTsIOM that the date means nothing to them, while 48% didn’t even know what holiday it was. Although many people mentioned the national heroes, Minin and Pozharsky, 7% vaguely explained it as being “a day to remember that all peoples should be friendly and tolerant.” “Respondents start making things up, trying to work out what the holiday’s all about from its name - national unity day” said VTsIOM head Valery Fyodorov. Another 2% came up with a truly fantastic explanation, saying November 4 was “what we used to celebrate on November 7, the old Bolshevik Revolution Day.”
It appears most Russians still have a long way to go before they see November 4 as a day for unity, patriotism or even simply a heightened interest in national history. Those on the left have no reason to be any more cheery. Although Russians know more about 1917 than they do about 1612, they are similarly lacking in enthusiasm for the communist holiday.
Most Russians (57%) never celebrate November 7; 39% said they were “indifferent” to Lenin, whereas in 2001, 40% said they “respect” him. As many as 41% of respondents believe his body should be removed from it’s Red Square mausoleum, while 37% said he should stay – but only as a tourist attraction.
A wave of nostalgia swept the country in 2005 when the old holiday was replaced. In the end, 31% are still nostalgic about the word “Soviet” and 18% said they felt proud saying it. The term “anti-Soviet” is associated with “condemnation” (23%), “disappointment” (13%), “anger” (11%), “shame” (8%) and “fear” (6%).
Some analysts claim the new holiday has failed to take root in public mindset despite the government’s propaganda efforts because it is something that simply cannot be implanted or imposed on people; others believe it will, in time, take root, and argue that Soviet holidays did not become popular overnight either.
Incidentally, November 4 is also the feast day of Our Lady of Kazan, one of the most popular Orthodox icons. Some Russians go to church while others prefer working in their gardens.
New civil service code of conduct bans foreign words and crumpled suits
Russian officials will now be banned from wearing crumpled suits, from smoking and from concealing any medical conditions they might have. They will also have to forget all about euros and dollars and even abandon their condescending ways. These rules are taken from the model code of ethics and business conduct for government and municipal employees drawn up by the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development.
Above all, employees are told to keep their hands off others’ property. Excerpts from the code read as follows: employees “must avoid any actions that may influence personal, property-related (financial) or other interests.” They “must not abuse their official position to exercise influence on organizations’ and officials’ activity when dealing with issues of a personal nature.” If a state employee has been presented with a gift during, say, a business trip, he will have to hand it over to his employer, in this case the state, however loathe he is to do so.
Second, officials will now have to keep their distance. The code says they must no longer allow any influence on their official duties by political parties or public movements, nor should they display bias towards any individuals or professional or social groups.
Third, when dealing with rank-and-file citizens, these officials must be attentive, well-mannered, and patient. They must make sure they never look down on people, are rude or condescending. If the code is anything to go by, an official must not turn his nose up at social outcasts or slam his office door shut in the face of a whining spinster. He also has to rinse his mouth out: no foul language will be countenanced. There will be no public criticism of his colleagues, except for where this forms a constructive part of his managerial duties, or of the authorities.
But the most curious thing is that any public utterances, including comments made in the media, must use rubles, not foreign currencies, to estimate the costs of goods, services, budget figures or anything else relating to Russia. Even discussions of debts their region owes foreign companies must be carried out in the national denomination (rubles).
The intriguing question remains: what punishment will be meted out to any unfortunate government employee found breaching the code? Moral censure: this “terrible punishment” will be handed out during conflict commission meetings. But if the employee concerned not just soiled the honor of his profession and his peers by using such words as “euro” or “dollar,” but also pocketed their equivalent, the full weight of the law will come crashing down on him.
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