Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Riot shields, metal-detectors, tasers, handcuffs, gas canisters… This is an incomplete list of what the National Police is now acquiring. Law enforcement authorities themselves don’t explain the reasons for the large-scale purchases, but experts consider that the National Police are stockpiling equipment in preparation for the quelling of protest actions.
Millions for tasers
“Vesti” examined the site of governmental purchases “ProZorro”, where they found some complete tenders for the purchase of equipment. In particular, the National Police bought 20 sets of arch metal-detectors, the installation of which already became a tradition during mass actions. 3 million UAH – 150,000 UAH per unit – was allocated for them, while on the Internet there are similar ones going for 50,000-65,000 UAH. According to the register of legal persons, the National Police acquired metal-detectors from the capital’s firm, which is engaged in the production of radio equipment.
Also the police bought 1680 tasers for 3,360,000 UAH (about 2000 UAH per unit, while online they cost 250 UAH to 2,000 UAH) from one of the Kharkov firms on the production of security systems. In addition, law enforcement authorities stockpiled anti-strike shields and defence sets for hands and legs – at a total cost of 7,114,200 hryvnias from a Kharkov firm that began to participate recently in auctions and the authorized capital of which is only 200 hryvnias.
Also, 3000 pairs of handcuffs for 2,326,500 UAH (about 775 UAH per unit — while on the Internet prices start from 500 UAH) were bought from the Vinnytsia firm subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is engaged in the production of small arms and ammunition. Also on the list of purchases are 15,000 units of aerosol cans for 630,000 UAH (45 UAH per unit).
The National Police itself yesterday couldn’t receive an answer to the question of why are things being stockpiled. “The better the police officer is protected, the less aggressive he is in relation to other citizens,” considers the director of the Center of Research on law-enforcement activity Oleg Martynenko.
They are preparing for revolts
However, former security officers claim that earlier such stockpiling wasn’t practiced. As was told to “Vesti” by the former head of department of resource providing the Ministry of Internal Affairs Vasily Gritsak, the volumes of purchases were three times less.
According to experts, the authorities prepare for possible provocations. “If to consider the extremely critical moods that reign in society, law enforcement authorities are being prepared to quell popular unrest – the National Guard, for example, for these purposes has special trucks that guardsmen call ‘Shrek‘,” said the expert in security Sergey Shabovta to “Vesti”.
The same opinion was shared by the former Deputy General Prosecutor Nikolay Golomsha. “How the apparatus of the National Police and the National Guard are being expanded speaks volumes about the fact that repressions for quelling protest actions are being prepared,” considers Golomsha.
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