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Most unpopular interior minister dismissed

May 22, 2012, 12:15 UTC+3

Rashid Nurgaliyev, who used to be the interior minister for eight years, is dismissed, and head of the Moscow police Vladimir Kolokoltsev is replacing him

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MOSCOW, May 22 (Itar-Tass World Service) — Most newspapers publish separate articles on a replacement of the interior minister. “The perpetual” minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, who used to be the interior minister for eight years, is dismissed, and head of the Moscow police Vladimir Kolokoltsev is replacing him, the RBC daily writes. Among his advantages are his transparency, strict control of the staff and spotless reputation. His drawbacks include fanatic subordination, while an interior minister should be a rather independent figure.

Kolokoltsev, the newspaper reports, started his service back in 1982 at a police station which guarded diplomatic representations and passed practically all positions of the police task force. It was in his time, that officials started receiving punishments for their staff’s violations of law. He is also remembered by having come to the Manezhnaya Square during the riots in December of 2010, where he tried to calm down aggressive football fans and nationalists.

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta calls symbolic the appointment of Vladimir Kolokoltsev. No doubt, the newspaper writes, this appointment has to do with the latest events in Moscow – the protest rallies. Here, experts share quite contrary views. Some say that this way Vladimir Putin approved indirectly the severe methods during dispersal of the opposition’s rally on May 6 and later on – of those who “spent their time” in Chistye Prudy, in the Kudrinskaya Square and in Old Arbat. However, for example, Igor Bunin is sure that Kolokoltsev is Medvedev’s prot·g·: “Finally, Putin gave in and agreed to the appointment. Here, of course, Medvedev has lobbied Kolokoltsev.” The thing is, he continued, that the actions of the police could have been more severe, “if it were not for Kolokoltsev.”

The appointment of Kolokoltsev has become the only important reshuffling in the security, defence and law enforcement ministries over the announcement of the new government, the Vedomosti writes. The people’s most unpopular minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has left the government. Even the police themselves like the new interior minister much more. Nurgaliyev was left for consideration of the president. He would be offered a position.

A State Duma’s deputy of United Russia Alexander Khinstein says Nurgaliyev is a least popular interior minister over the past decade. The ministry’s staff is glad the minister is a person, who had passed all stages of service at the police from the very bottom – the police ministry is tires of earlier political appointments or those sent over from FSB, sources at central departments of the interior ministry say.

The Interior Ministry is not an independent authority, and it experiences influence of the power and intelligence services, and, which is more complicated, the ministry has formed stable groups, which run their own lives, and it is not clear whether the new minister would be able to manage them, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Committee Kirill Kabanov said. Over Nurgaliev’s eight years at the ministry, there have formed several groups, involved in “settlement” of business issues, including opening and closing of economy crime cases, a source at the ministry said. Nurgaliyev tried to fight them, he did manage something during the certification of the staff, but he lacked persistency.

An organiser of protest rallies, a deputy of A Just Russia Ilya Ponomarev said that under the management of Kolokoltsev the position of the Moscow police had been more constructive towards protesters than that of the federal authorities. He expects the new minister will continue towards protests “similar though human policies” and the interior ministry would be responsible for the decisions regarding the protesters, which the presidential administration makes.

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