This week’s Economist includes an interesting piece on the corruption and brutality of the Russian police and the increasing media attention it is garnering in the Russian press. The country’s police force has long been lamented by Russians who see it at best as the brutal enforcement arm of government, and at worst as a criminal organisation run to skim the profits from Russia’s economic revival. My own experience has only served to further this impression.
On first landing in Domodedovo airport during a particularly brutal snowstorm I was greeted by a friendly taxi driver who hastened me to his car before speeding off down ice-caked roads. On the way we passed a police patrol car which, thankfully, had pulled over the driver in front of us while we continued rocketing our way into Moscow. I asked the driver whether he was worried about being caught by the police. He told me if I paid them about 1000 roubles (roughly £20) it wouldn’t be a problem.