Russia » Politics

The country needs "whistleblowers"

Russian intelligentsia, which had once held up to shame the entire whistle-blowing system of the Stalin's epoch, decided to reconsider its views regarding the use of the insider information.

One well-known political analyst Joseph Diskin during Wednesday's meeting of the “Civil forum” club has urged the intelligentsia to reconsider ethical norms, which accuse any cooperation with special services. “No one says that 'blowing the whistle' should be considered a norm, as it is in Switzerland for instance; but something needs to be changed in society's conscience nonetheless,” stated the political analyst.

Recent private meeting of the Federation Council has triggered the discussion. On Wednesday, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” has published an interview with one of the Duma's delegates Alexei Mitrofanov (of LDPR political party). According to the delegate, the subject of popularization of insider work was one of the issues discussed at the meeting.

“Patrushev said something about overcoming the negative image of the institution of secret cooperation. With this in mind, he suggested making new films, addressing our “intellectual community” with a plea to create a normal, positive image of a person cooperating with secret services. Why deny the subject? I do not understand what's there to be ashamed of? And how is it possible to propagandize whistleblowers without bringing this issue to everyone's attention?

How could it be? In Switzerland, for instance, if a man has had a few shots and then attempts to drive home, it is immediately reported to the local police. The bar owner is in fact the one who calls the police in these instances. In this case, he worries about the man's safety. These people have completely different mentality. As for us, we've been raised in a country where millions of people have been imprisoned. Our tradition is somewhat based on morals of the prison world…We've got to persuade everyone that this ['blowing the whistle'] is something we all ought to do,” considers Mitrofanov.

“I am often asked about “whistleblowers”. What can I say; when one gets ten years without parole for an anonymous phone call, then I definitely oppose it. However, one should not be fearful of the secret-service apparatus aimed at protecting the government,” stated Duma's speaker Vladimir Platonov.

Last year, Russia's State Duma passed a law concerning “common clauses of law and order.” The bill undermines the formation of special public safety units. Similar units will be based in each region and will obviously fall under a watchful eye of public activists. The units will be financed from the state's budget.

Delegates came up with the draft not long after the terrible terrorist act at Tushino airfield (Moscow) during a rock concert. The main responsibility of the so-called public activists involves looking after the people who rent flats in that particular region, whether or not those people are registered residents of the city, who visits them, who they vist and so on. In addition, these “informants” are entitled to regulate traffic, look after teenagers, homeless animals.

This is a paid position (3 000 rubles, i.e. $100 USD per month). This money, delegates consider, should stimulate people to execute such instructions.