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MOSCOW, May 27 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Interior Ministry reported on Friday that the procurement of protective means was not related to opposition rallies but was a part of long-term procurement plans.
“The Russian Interior Ministry has really posted its intention to buy protective means – shields, which are used by law enforcements in their work – on the state procurement website. The procurements are planned and done annually,” ministry spokesman Valery Gribakin told Itar-Tass.
He said that claims alleging the protective means were being procured urgently for disbanding opposition rallies were “totally unfounded and surprising.”
The Russian Interior Ministry procures equipment annually and the procurement process takes more than a month. For instance, a decision to buy shields was made in December 2011, he said.
“Obviously, there is no relation between the tender for protective means and the upcoming rallies. It would be equally odd to claim that the Interior Ministry’s tender for felt boots meant the police will put on winter footwear in the middle of the summer,” he said.
Gribakin stressed that shields had many time saved life of policemen and average citizens in the detention of armed and dangerous criminals. “A recent example is the detention of a gang in the Moscow region. Policemen protected themselves with shields from the bandits’ bullets. Spetsnaz officers also used shields to protect family members of an armed man who was threatening them with murder in the Kemerovo region,” he said.