Russia’s chief policeman banned his subordinates from forwarding complaints against officials to the same officials mentioned in the complaints, an order that offers an amusing insight into workings of the bureaucracy.
The order is part of new rules for handling public complaints issued by Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev and published in the governmental daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Wednesday.
The overworked police often bounce complaints against officials in the localities, especially those in municipal administrations and the utilities services, to the very people that the public is complaining about.
The prosecutors are banned by law from implementing this Kafkaesque maneuver, but before Nurgaliyev’s order, there were no legal obstacles to police officers requesting bureaucrats who displeased the populace to judge and punish themselves.
Nurgaliyev’s order also elaborates on other rules of handling the public complaints, including devoting no more than 10 minutes to conversations with complainants and spending no more than a week on informing a citizen that his complaint has been forwarded elsewhere. The order also legalizes filing complaints verbally or by email.
Russian police, notorious for its corruption and inefficiency, underwent a major revamp last year, but public approval of the revamped force remained low. The service was shocked by a string of scandals this year, including a case in Tatarstan where a detainee was raped to death with a bottle of champagne last month.
Nurgaliyev, 55, a close ally of president-elect Vladimir Putin, has held office since 2004 and repeatedly rejected calls by media and the opposition to stand down over police’s bad performance.