Montag, 3. November 2008

Nochmals: Abschied von der Kalaschnikow

Wie ich erst heute bei der Durchsicht meines Feedreaders festgestellt habe, wurde das Thema auch schon von einem englischen Blogger behandelt: New guns for Russia’s cops - so what? Er geht dabei auch ein wenig auf die Hintergründe ein, allerdings im schönsten politisch korrekten Ton, mit der besonderen Vorliebe unserer heutigen Sozialwissenschaftler für das alles- und nichtssagende Wort "Reform":

Let me explain. In the 1990s, Russia’s police had to cope with rising violent crime – especially that connected with organised crime – as well as shrinking budgets and declining public respect. Regrettably but understandably, they responded to this lethal combination of pressures by retreating into a form of bargain-basement paramilitarisation. Increasingly, police officers appeared festooned with army-surplus Kalashnikov rifles and bulky (and not very efficient) body armour. Even special armed-response police will generally have different tactical requirements than soldiers, and putting combat weapons designed specifically for delivering inaccurate but devastating salvos of automatic fire into the hands of nervous and poorly-trained officers proved often disastrous and tragic.


Even senior police officers did realise this, and recent years have seen attempts to address this. Beyond a general improvement in the MVD’s budgets in line with the upturn in the state budget overall, there have been a variety of local initiatives but there has been relatively little done on a national level. (Reform is also very slow: it was only with Federal Law no. 69-FZ of July 20, 2004 that the police officially shed a role, long since ignored, of registering colour copying facilities, a relic of the Soviet regime’s paranoia about the use of copiers to spread subversive literature.) The replacement of the police’s old Makarov pistol with the new Yarygin PYa ‘Grach’ and their Kalashnikov AKM-47 rifles and AKS-74U assault carbines with PP-2000 and PP-19 ‘Vityaz’ submachine guns actually does count as one such genuine reform, however drily technical it may sound.

The Makarov is a dated and underpowered design, compact but hardly impressive. A sound piece of advice I once heard was that its effective range is about as far as you could throw it. As such, it is a weapon which lacks authority on the streets. Hardened criminals were not overawed by it, the police themselves were not reassured by it. As a result, it was often ignored in favour of rifles and SMGs really designed for war. By being armed with a reliable, modern and more powerful pistol, Russia’s police can be encouraged not to escalate confrontations or, worse yet, use the inaccurate and indiscriminate weapons they otherwise had to carry as fall-backs.

Likewise, the PP-2000 is a compact but effective weapon, which gives the police greater firepower without being so obtrusive and overtly military. More to the point, the 9mm ammunition it fires has good stopping power but is much less likely to punch through a wall and hit some innocent bystander on the other side. The PP-19 looks much like the military AKS-74U it will replace, but again fires more controllable 9mm rounds.

According to First Deputy Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Mikhail Sukhodolsky, re-equipping all the police will take upwards of three years. What I haven’t heard yet is how much training will go with it (for armed police, the Russians are woefully under-trained in use-of-weapons, which is more a matter of knowing when not to shoot and how to make sure you only shoot who you are aiming at), but it nonetheless is a first step back from paramilitarisation. Of course, there is a lot more to be done, and most of it is cultural. But it represents one of the first practical steps away from the paramilitary model of policing which came to dominate in the 1990s and as such, even if it sounds just like new toys for the boys, it should be welcomed."
Mark Galeotti spricht in seinem Text ein paar interessante Punkte an, man darf allerdings mittlerweile bezweifeln, daß das englische Modell der Polizeiarbeit (von dem der Autor wohl ausgeht) effektiver ist als das "paramilitärische", welches ja auch in den USA eine zunehmende Verbreitung erfährt. Außer vielleicht in den Augen verweichlichter Pazifisten und Anti-Waffen-Intellektueller (von diesen Typen gibt es in Russland glücklicherweise nicht allzu viele). Ferner erschließt sich mir nicht, worin die angeblich fundamentalen Unterschiede zwischen (positiv gesehenen) Polizeiwaffen und (negativ bewerteten) Militärwaffen bestehen sollen, außer im "militärischen" Aussehen letzterer.

(In diesen Kontext paßt irgendwie auch der - wohl automatisch erzeugte - Link am Ende seines Blogposts: Should air rifles be restricted? Alles klar.)

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