Interview of the RF Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin for "Rossiyskaya Gazeta"

The Principal investigator of Russia said that, this year, about 20,000 cases of corruption have been processed.This figure has risen by half compared to last year. He noted that 16,500 of the total number of cases were filed against the officials. These statistics brought up the topic of the latest high-profile case of the multi-million dollar embezzlement at "Oboronservis."

Mr. Bastrykin, in connection with the "Oboronservis" case, can we say now that the fight against corruption has really begun? After all, here we are talking about senior officials.

Alexander Bastrykin: Anticorruption efforts have become clearer. We can say that the next phase has begun. Someone once rightly said that this fight had been previously aimed at low- and middle-ranking officials. But this does not mean that law enforcement bodies have focused on high-profile cases against senior officials ahead of New Year. The investigative and procedural situation was developing this way. As they say, no one cooked anything special for dinner.

At the same time, Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with the trustees that being confident of the official’s guilt is not enough, the evidence should be gathered, and the investigation procedure should be followed in order to come to the truth.

As for the "Oboronservis" case, now, we are going to conduct a comprehensive financial and economic expert examination involving prominent specialists. We cannot just say that these women and Anatoly Serdyukov have stolen something. I tasked the investigators with conducting a series of examinations to detect the offense. Or, conversely, they may say that this was the market situation: remember that there are certain controversial legal issues, such as the sale of real property at certain value. We discuss all possible options at the meetings. But there is no special purpose. And the fact that we deal now with the top echelons of power seems consistent and well-timed.

As the Principal investigator of Russia, which criminal cases do you regard as the worst ones?

Alexander Bastrykin: The worst crimes are those against children. I suffer emotionally when crimes against children are committed. Unfortunately, their number is growing. Most importantly, they have become unprecedentedly violent. I agree with Vladimir Putin in that part of his recent speech in which he said that the moral ties of the Russian people are broken now. In a broad sense, people have lost such qualities as compassion and empathy.

The day before yesterday we visited an orphanage. When you see these children, some of whom were victims of a crime… Is it frightening or not – a two-year-child had been found behind the stove by road police officers, what did they do in the village? Some villager stopped them, a child had spent a week behind the stove, and no one knew where his mother was. They had found him and brought to the orphanage, I saw him there.

I remember the case in Pyatigorsk. By the way, we discovered it quickly, I am very proud of it; all of our colleagues were rewarded. A man took off a child of 12-13 to make a film test. The girl was open- minded, he promised to try her as an actress. It is a very common technique to decoy a girl. The offender takes a girl away, rapes her and then murder. Or there was a case in the Vladimir Region. It was horrible: two boys were leaving the gardening area, one was about 13, and the other one was younger. We have a suspect but we cannot prove anything, we have been working on this case for six months already. There were other high-profile cases, including those involving the officials. Pedophilia has reached catastrophic proportions.

In conclusion, I can say that I reported to the President on the main results. As for murders, and these are the gravest crimes, we have reached a 100 per cent detection rate in some regions. Though there are few such regions. The national average is 80-90 per cent.