Medvedev uncovers security flaws in station swoop

10th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday dropped by one of Moscow's main railway stations in an unannounced visit, angrily uncovering a raft of security lapses after the airport bombing last month.

With Russia's interior minister, top prosecutor and security service chief in tow, Medvedev appeared to copy the strongman tactics of his mentor Vladimir Putin to show Russians he cares for their security.

Television pictures showed Medvedev marching in unexpectedly into the office of the manager of Kievsky Station in Moscow -- where trains depart for western Russia and Ukraine -- to give the official a blunt dressing-down.

An exasperated-looking Medvedev was shown lamenting he had not seen a single policeman at the station, despite Russia supposedly upping security after the suicide bombing at Domodedovo airport on January 24 that killed 36.

"Where are the police, how are controls carried out?" he asked. "There's no-one in the main hall. They (the police) have to be on patrol," he fumed.

The wobbling television pictures -- which appeared to have been shot in the style of a reality TV show -- then showed Medvedev charging into the office of the station's transport police to ask what was wrong.

In more mimicry of Putin's penchant for handing out instant retribution, Medvedev then appeared to instruct prosecutor general Yury Chaika to investigate the security measures of state-controlled Russian Railways (RZD)."

"Yury Yakovlevich, you need to sort out RZD," Medvedev told the prosecutor tersely.

Russian news agencies said that Medvedev then telephoned the powerful chief of RZD, Vladimir Yakunin, with a blunt order to rectify the situation.

"Put order in place and report back to me within three days," he said.

Medvedev and other Russian officials had expressed anger that the Domodedovo airport bomber was allowed to enter the arrivals hall on January 24 without going through a single security check.

However liberal Russian analysts have often expressed doubt if the high profile media stunts and scoldings of officials carried out by Putin and Medvedev ever lead to any lasting change.

© 2011 AFP

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