Russian policewoman fired after appeal to Kremlin chief

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A police officer in Russia's Urals region lost her job after accusing her superiors of corruption in a video addressed to President Dmitry Medvedev, she said Thursday.

In late June, Major Tatiana Domracheva accused her superiors in the Sverdlovsk region police department of covering up massive falsifications in a 10-minute address to Russia's Internet-savvy president.

Two months later, shortly after promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel, she was given dismissal papers that cited absence from work, Domracheva told AFP.

"I will fight the dismissal in court," she added, insisting that the official reason for her sacking was bogus and she hoped to get her job back.

Several officers have in recent months recorded similar videos to bring attention to problems in the country's scandal-tainted police.

All were emboldened by Major Alexei Dymovsky, a provincial police officer who gained notoriety in 2009 after recording a personal address to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Dymovksy was also subsequently fired, and later convicted of slander.

In the address, Domracheva said the department had closed thousands of cases after writing them off as having been committed by dead people.

This is done to "get promotions, commendations, and new ranks," she said in the YouTube address, urging Medvedev to take action.

"The war against corruption is not happening," Domracheva told AFP. "It's absurd: honest employees are fired while superiors responsible for violations get promoted."

The head of the department whom she personally accused in the address is preparing to move to Moscow and recently threw a party to celebrate his promotion, she said.

Reached by AFP, a Moscow police spokesman declined to comment on her claim.

Local police spokesman Valery Gorelykh, speaking to Russian news agencies, denied that the dismissal was unfair.

The police officer was fired after she was absent from work for several days without a legitimate reason, he was quoted as saying.

Many observers say the Internet in Russia remains the last bastion of free speech, where a small but determined group of Russian bloggers challenge corrupt officials while the docile, state-dominated media looks the other way.

© 2010 AFP

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