Russia could become 'criminal state' in ten years: top judge

10th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia must halt the massive spread of crime and corruption among officials in the next 10 years or degrade into a criminal state, the head of the country's constitutional court warned Friday.

"The question of the effectiveness of our fight against criminalisation is the question of whether Russia will survive the next 10 years," the country's top constitutional judge, Valery Zorkin wrote in Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily.

In an editorial written ahead of Russia's Constitution Day on Sunday, Zorkin harshly criticised President Dmitry Medvedev's often-repeated call for "modernisation" of the country.

"All the grand plans for development or modernisation of Russia will fall apart if the state is soon unable to protect its citizens from criminal lawlessness," he wrote in the state-owned newspaper.

He wrote that society would be divided up into "predators" and "losers" who would prefer an iron dictatorship to democracy.

Zorkin referred to a recent case in which a criminal group massacred 12 people in southern Russia and investigators found that officials for years had turned a blind eye to the activities of the all-powerful gangsters.

If such situations become the norm, "our country will turn from a criminalised state to a criminal state," Zorkin said.

Analysts said the crime in the Krasnodar region exposed rampant collusion between criminals and serving officials in the provinces, away from the spotlight of Moscow.

© 2010 AFP

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