December 28, 2009 / 12:22 PM / 10 years ago

Russia to prosecute YouTube police whistleblower

Former Russian police officer Alexei Dymovsky holds up a dictating machine, which he said contains evidence he gathered, during a news conference in Moscow in this November 10, 2009 file photo. Dymovsky used YouTube to appeal to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to tackle corruption in the police force. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A former policeman who accused senior officers of corruption in a series of video blogs will himself face prosecution for abuse of office, Russian investigators said on Monday.

Former police major Alexei Dymovsky became a household name in Russia earlier this year when he used YouTube to appeal to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to tackle corruption in the police force.

A criminal case will be brought against Dymovsky for “fraud committed by a person using his official position”, the Prosecutor-General’s investigative committee said in a statement. It gave no further details.

Dymovsky said the charges were fabricated. “They want to silence me and gain revenge,” he told Reuters by telephone.

Dymovsky, who worked for the police force in the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, appealed to Putin to rein in senior officers whom he accused of pressuring subordinates to charge innocent people to meet statistical targets.

He was fired after making the appeal, which received more than one million hits on YouTube. Regional police also conducted their own investigation after the videos were released, which they said did not back up Dymovsky’s allegations.

“The main thing is that the people of Russia have seen the light. Others will follow me,” Dymovsky said. “You can’t jail the whole of Russia, it’s not 1937 anymore,” he added, in a reference to purges under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Corruption is endemic in Russian society and global surveys have repeatedly ranked the former Soviet state as one of the most corrupt in the world.

An off-duty senior officer killed three civilians in a shooting spree in Moscow in April, one of a series of scandals to hit the force this year.

Reporting by Aydar Buribayev; Writing by Conor Sweeney; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton

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