September 01, 2010

The Robin Hood Approach

august is historically a troublesome time for Russia, but this year trouble did not wait for August, as violent clashes between citizens and the authorities became increasingly regular occurrences.

When a group of young men in the Primorye region went on an anti-police rampage earlier this year, shooting at traffic police stations and setting offices on fire, many people in the Far East actually supported them: a poll on Ekho Moskvy radio indicated that 60-75 percent of listeners sympathized with the “young Robin Hoods” and would offer them help.

The father of 18-year-old Roman Savchenko, one of the rioters, told the press that all of the young men had been beaten by the police in the past, in order to pressure them to take responsibility for crimes they had not committed. A Kommersant reporter who went to investigate was told of a practice among teenage boys, who torture one another in garages, “so that everyone will understand how he will behave once he ends up in the police station.”

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