There are few things Russians hate more than the Russian police force. This hatred, which oscillates between derision, condescension, pity, indifference, and rage, comes from the fact that the police here operate much in the way Tony Soprano’s racketeers do: nice driver’s license, shame if anything happened to it…
No one calls the police if, heaven forefend, something actually happened to them. Russians know perfectly well that the police isn’t there to protect them or to enforce the law; they’re there to stop you wantonly, ask for a bribe, and then kick it up the food chain. They’re scrambling for cash, just like everyone else in Moscow.
And so, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in conjunction with Channel One (puppeteered by one of Putin’s most trusted capos), is starting a TV talk show starring the venerable Russian police force. The prime-time show, called “The Yard,” goes live in a few weeks and features police officers discussing ways not to become the victim of a crime and tactics for dealing with life-threatening situations, and the importance of cosmetic change.