An Interfaks reporter has interviewed Main Military Prosecutor (GVP) Sergey Fridinskiy for the pages of today’s Izvestiya.
Not surprisingly, Fridinskiy didn’t really bite when asked if the GVP had any hand in the recent Defense Ministry cadre ‘revolution.’ He said the GVP keeps its hands on its part [i.e. law enforcement].
Fridinskiy says the GVP monitored the implementation of the ‘new profile.’ In some places, it went more or less normally, but in others, it got out of hand and there were mass violations of servicemen’s rights, like putting 600 men in a barracks for 300. So the prosecutor reacts to such a situation. Fridinskiy said the GVP gave quarterly reports on violations to the Defense Minister.
Asked about the military’s involvement in the tragic ‘Lame Horse’ club fire in Perm, Fridinskiy said the chief and chief engineer of the KECh which was responsible for the property were aware of what was going on there and might have been getting a cut, but the fact that they allowed gross fire safety violations resulting in a tragedy with many victims is what resulted in the investigation and criminal case against them. He indicated the KECh chief died in the fire, and they are investigating whether the chief engineer got bribes. Fridinskiy noted other responsible military officials in the district got disciplinary punishment.
On the ‘Steppe’ garrison boiler house case, Fridinskiy revealed that state inspectors looked at it in May or June and declared it unfit for use, but the locals did cosmetic repairs and used it anyway. He says other districts and garrisons, especially Kostroma, are being inspected. He believes old equipment is largely to blame, but it’s up to the GVP to force people to do their jobs and not let the situation reach the point of an accident.
Fridinskiy termed the general crime situation in the armed forces as stable, with some favorable points. Registered offenses were down 16 percent in 2009 against the year before. The numbers of grievous and especially grievous crimes were down. These figures were for all uniformed power ministries, not just the armed forces. Dedovshchina looked like it would continue a significant decline, but actually ended up increasing by 2 percent.
Asked to address the reported interethnic Baltic Fleet incident, involving Slavs and Caucasians, Fridinskiy said:
“As a rule, we’re talking not about interethnic fights, but interpersonal conflicts. For us it’s just accepted: if a Slav gives it to another Slav based on appearance, then this is simply a fight. But if the very same thing happens with a Caucasian participating, then another hue appears here, even though the fight is based, as a rule, on a normal everyday situation. However taking into account the mentality of southerners, who’re inclined to stick together, a fight between two guys grows into a group fight, and the appearance of an interethnic conflict comes up. When the affair goes to criminal responsibility for nonregulation relations, an ethnic motive doesn’t figure in. But rumors continue to pressurize the circumstances.”
Fridinskiy claims that in the group of ‘barracks hooligans’ in the Kaliningrad garrison there were both North Caucasians and Slavs [but were they part of the same group or in different groups?]. He said 8 were charged in the incident, and some have already been convicted.
Asked about crime among higher officers, Fridinskiy says malfeasance, exceeding authority, and fraud were the biggest offenses. Eight generals [probably from all power ministries] were convicted and six got prison terms from 3 to 5 years. He said the theft of state money was greatest in the GOZ, RDT&E, and housing programs. He indicates he’s investigating 8 cases where apartments didn’t get built by the SU-155 construction firm, despite the fact there were state contracts in place for them.
Fridinskiy seems to indicate he registered 1,500 crimes among senior officers in 2009 [as of late October, he had this number at a little less than 900].
As for how to fix the crime situation in the military, Fridinskiy doesn’t offer much advice beyond using the law. Of course, that gives him lots of business.