The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies – Issue 13, December 2011 / Anne Le Huérou & Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski (13th Issue Editors) – Call for contributors: “Police Brutality and Police Reform in Russia and Post-Soviet Republics”
Having in 2005 published a first issue on transformations in the police in post-communist Europe (http://pipss.revues.org/index271.html), Pipss would now like to return to the subject of the police in Russia and other ex-USSR republics, by presenting recent research from a sociological, anthropological and historical point of view on problems the institution is currently facing, with emphasis on corruption and police violence, sociology of police staff and an analysis of current reforms.
This issue will be conducted in collaboration with the program “Understanding Violence in Russia” (http://russiaviolence.hypotheses.org/), supported by Emergence(s), Mairie de Paris and CERCEC. On March 25th,a seminary devoted to Russian Police will be held in Paris. You can find the program at http://russiaviolence.hypotheses.org/1335
Once again, the “police problem” is on the agenda in Russia. Since 2009, it has returned to the forefront owing to various events in the news or public scandals (Evsyukov and Dymovsky affairs, etc.) bringing to light corruption in the police and the abuse and violence committed by the police. The exposure of these phenomena has prompted project for deep down reform both in the police and the Interior Ministry. This is nothing new: the “police problem” has been a recurrent issue in political confrontations and in the media since the Soviet Union, with greater or lesser intensity depending on the period. Already harshly criticized under Andropov, it was then denounced during perestroika and the 1990s for its endemic corruption, the opacity of its workings and its arbitrary decisions affecting citizens. The many police reforms put in place during the years 2000 mainly concerned the reorganization of the Interior Ministry services, considered particularly closed and resistant to change and thus prompting repeated cases of defiance both on the part of the authorities and of citizens. Some research has been devoted to the functioning of the Soviet police organisation (Favarel-Garrigues, Shelley), to changes during perestroika (Galeotti), to the reduction of policing missions and actors in the 1990s (Favarel-Garrigues and Le Huérou) and to the development of extra-professional lucrative activities in the context of exercising police functions (Kosals and Ryvkina). Some more micro-sociological research deals with interactions between the police and particular social groups (Gladarev, Novikova).
Today, with a new police reform being put in place in Russia, new analyses are necessary in order to:
– study the reality of police brutalities
– make a sociological study of police staff
– explain the forms of mobilisation against the police
– finally, understand the elaboration of reform policies
Similar evolutions of police reforms occurred in the former soviet states even if we know much less about what is going on in the other republics. In numerous republics of the ex-USSR, the repressive role of the police could serve as a starting point for thought on rationales of law enforcement. The scope could also be widened to include the Baltic countries faced with the transition from a Soviet legacy to the Europeanisation of the police institution. It should be possible to give a first overview of the impact of reform in Georgia, its impact on the police institution as well as on society.
Pipss.org thus seeks to broaden its scope, with a particular call for papers from researchers working on police in Russia as well as in other ex-USSR republics.
I – Police Brutality
A great many sources (media, NGOs, testimonies increasingly making use of Internet as a means of expression and diffusion) relay information on the violence deployed by the Russian police in the past twenty years in the exercise of public security missions, judiciary police and law enforcement. However, the abundance of information on acts of violence is rarely accompanied by fine analysis, thus in general, the Russian police institution remains under-researched.
We would like this issue of Pipss to deal with the following themes:
– Police violence: practices
• Extortion of confessions
• The law enforcement framework (OMON)
• Public security, neighourhood police , the BIGDD / GAI
– The police and minorities: police and discrimination
– Complaints and treatment of complaints in Russia
– Specific link of police violence spread with armed conflict in Chechnya :
– Police violence: its impact on MVD reform
II – The Police from Within
From the point of view of professional sociology – and because to date, there has been no real sociology of the police – it would be relevant to discuss the following questions:
– What does the professional socialisation of agents consist in?
– How does training take place, what is the itinerary of a career in the police?
– What are the professional factors weighing on relations between policemen and citizens that can influence various forms of violence?
Pipss.org also wishes to publish articles in this issue dealing with:
– The reality of the police in a provincial city
– Biographical itineraries of policemen.
III – Modes of mobilisation in face of the police
Pipss.org is also interested in different types of mobilisation against the police, the following points in particular:
– Citizen control / the setting up of 2008 control committees
– Work of NGOs
– Internet and the publicising of private experiences of police violence
– Radical manifestations: violence against the police? (Voina, the “primorskie partisans”, etc.)
Pipss would also like to know more about the influence of these mobilisations on police reform policy.
IV – Police Reform
Ongoing debates in Russia since 2009 on police reform deserve special attention. It is important to analyse the universal consensus of denunciations as well as their form – the fact that they come from victims of abuse or from members of the police force. While criticism basically remains the same, the actors (government, NGOs, policemen reporting abuse, citizens’ mobilisations, etc.) and modes of action (from bringing to the attention of the public to direct action) have evolved considerably, both in terms of the means used (increasing recourse to the blogosphere – for example “youtube cops”; publication of a draft law on Internet, with the possibility for interested parties to discuss and comment) and in the resources they represent for actors pursuing very diverse ends.
The following questions can be posed on the subject of reform:
– The police problem as it regularly appears on the public scene, fueling political confrontations and debates concerning a reform of the institution.
– Motives of reform:
• Internal rationales: the MVD and other force structures: is it possible to regain control of an opaque institution?
• Rationales of regional and international integration: cooperation with the European Union, other organisations for political cooperation (CSTO, CSO), bilateral cooperations, transfers of norms.
– Content of the new law and its implication for the future
– Police conditions and the reform of the MVD (pereattestatsia commissions, reduction of staff by 20%, etc.)
– Reaction of local police to distribution of budgets and missions
The contributions of specialists of ex-USSR territories will enable comparisons giving rise to thought both on the comprehension of violent phenomena in the Russian police institution and on police sociology in general in post-Soviet space.
A bibliography on “Police Brutality and Police Reform” is available at http://russiaviolence.hypotheses.org/bibliographies/police-brutality-police-reform.
Guidelines for article submission
The journal will be published in three languages (French, English and Russian with a 100-word abstract in English) thanks to which most authors will be able to write in their mother tongue. This will ensure greater precision in the articles and avoid a decrease in scientific quality. But we draw your attention to the fact that most pipss.org readers are essentially English speakers, therefore we do encourage articles in English in order to reach an audience as broad as possible.
The articles submitted to pipss.org for publication should be original contributions and should not be under consideration for any other publication at the same time. Manuscripts should be attached as Microsoft Word format. References should be given in footnotes. (For more details about the guidelines for article submission please check http://www.pipss.revues.org or contact the Editorial Board). There should be a cover page stating the author’s background and affiliation, full address.
If you wish to submit an article, please first contact the editorial board and send a 100-word abstract in English. The deadline for article submission is July 25th, 2011, with publication in December 2011. Final decisions on publication will be made by the Editorial Board.
Please send your contributions or inquiries to:
Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski, Chief Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Le Huérou & Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski (13th Issue Editors)
Papers dealing with other issues related to armies and power institutions in the CIS, as well as book review proposals are also welcome.
Publishers interested in publicizing their editions, please send review copies to:
Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski , CERSIPS c/° CERCEC, 190-198, av. de France 75244 Paris cedex