Author`s name Michael Simpson

The 1930s Back: Police Informers Appear in Moscow

Moscow Duma revives the structure of agilers
Street cleaners, house-managers and concierges will become informers of policemen responsible for definite districts of Moscow; the best informers will be even paid salaries. It is said that average civilians may also help policemen. The Moscow authorities promise that they will settle public utility bills to those who supply the police with information about suspicious people or about suspicious doings of their neighbors.

A resolution of the Moscow Government "On measures to liquidate the imperfection of registration of citizens to the places of residence and of public utilities bills settlement" came into effect in Moscow on August 4. In fact, the document revives the structure of agilers. House managers are charged with the responsibility to inform the police about all newcomers.

The resolution says that within the five months of the year the passport departments of Moscow registered over 128.5 thousand people arrived from the CIS, 66.5 thousand – from foreign countries and about 120 thousand people arrived from Russian regions. However, the information about newcomers as registered in the police and in housing organizations responsible for public utilities bills disagrees.

Now, with a view to improve the situation the police departments of the Moscow districts will conduct quarterly checkups of registration of newcomers to the addresses where they live or stay. Attorney Mikhail Burmistrov said in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta: "From the point of view of the RF Constitution, every citizen must be not only law-abiding but even make for strengthening of law and order. It is a matter of fact that in many civilized countries people inform the police about all violations of the law." But the situation is quite different in this country. If neighbors start informing the police about every newcomer they notice in their houses, they may easily turn into supergrasses. The new resolution is on no account illegal; no sanctions are provided for the failure to execute the resolution. The only thing is important in this case is that people must be morally prepared for this kind of cooperation with the police. In fact, all information reported by informers will directly depend upon their personal views, morals and opinions.

It has been for a long period already that the idea of reviving the structure of informers was considered at the Moscow Duma. A great number of people living in Moscow illegally seriously worsened the criminal situation in the city. Let's take the hostage taking at the theatre center last year and the recent act of terrorism at the rock concert in Tushino. The people in the city are scared; they appeal to the authority and demand to establish order.

The Moscow authorities decided to seek a solution of the problem in the previous experience of the country. A legislative base was developed for solution of the problem, and soon a law "On public law and order centers" appeared.

According to the proposition of the Moscow authorities, special circuit public councils will be created as attached to every police station. Such councils will mostly consist of house managers, concierges and street cleaners. They will inform circuit policemen of everything that occurs on the territories they control. What is more, street cleaners and concierges are given the authority to detain suspicious people until the police come. Chairman of such public councils will be paid monthly salaries at the rate of 3 thousand rubles which will become a good incentive for them to perform the duties duly.