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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New YouTube Videos Criticize Corruption

A former Komi prosecutor has made a YouTube appeal to President Dmitry Medvedev over “fabricated” charges that resulted in two people getting life sentences in July, joining a growing group of law enforcement officials responding to Novorossiisk police Major Alexei Dymovsky’s videotaped appeal to denounce corruption.

Grigory Chekalin, a former deputy prosecutor for the Komi republic, posted his appeal to Medvedev on Thursday, asking him to investigate “fabricated” charges against two young men who were convicted of burning down a local shopping center.

Chekalin told The Moscow Times that his appeal had already angered local authorities and that he had temporarily moved to Moscow after former colleagues told him that the Komi prosecutor’s office was considering opening a criminal case against him on charges of abuse of power.  

“They have one goal: to keep me silent,” Chekalin said by cell phone.

“Interior Ministry officers or prosecutors could plant drugs or weapons on me in order to open a criminal case,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the Komi prosecutor’s office, Natalya Sekhlyan, said her office was examining Chekalin’s claims about the false charges. She had no immediate information late Friday afternoon on whether a criminal case might be opened against Chekalin.

Chekalin made his YouTube appeal to support another YouTube video posted by former Komi police officer Mikhail Yevseyev on Wednesday. Yevseyev also called the arson charges false.

Komi’s top police official, Vladimir Yeremchenko, said in a statement provided to The Moscow Times on Friday that the police force would look into Yevseyev’s claims.

Meanwhile, a former Moscow traffic policeman, Vadim Smirnov, posted an appeal on YouTube on Wednesday to Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev, asking him to investigate work violations.

Smirnov said officers worked for up to 70 hours per week, instead of the legally authorized 40 hours, which hurt the quality of their work and resulted in poor safety conditions on the roads.

Smirnov said by phone Friday that he had refused to work extra hours and was fired this year.

He said he appealed his dismissal in Moscow’s Tagansky District Court, which ruled Friday not to reinstate him.

Police spokeswoman Yelena Perfilova said her superiors were examining Smirnov’s claims.

The videos were posted after Dymovsky created waves earlier this month by posting an appeal to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in two videos on his personal web site, complaining of bad working conditions and being ordered to arrest innocent people. The videos were later reposted on YouTube, where they were viewed nearly a million times in less than a week, and quickly spread around the Russian blogosphere.

At a Moscow news conference last Tuesday, Dymovsky urged police officers nationwide to speak out about corruption and abuse of power.

A senior Sverdlovsk region police official, Tatyana Domracheva, did so Friday, complaining to prosecutors that the lease of part of the regional police headquarters to a private firm was illegal, Yekaterinburg News reported on its web site, Eburgnews.ru.

Domracheva discovered the nine-month lease a year ago, but when she reported it to her superiors, they started threatening to fire her, Domracheva told    Eburgnews.ru.

Repeated calls to Sverdlovsk region police, regional prosecutors and the regional branch of the Investigative Committee went unanswered Friday.