Behind the scenes of Moscow traffic police: Traffic cops’ side jobs and auditors with claims 

Behind the scenes of Moscow traffic police: Traffic cops’ side jobs and auditors with claims
Employees of the State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate admit that to implement the plan, they need to fine people indiscriminately Photo: The CrimeRussia

It is no secret an average motorist got smacked by an angry traffic cop without violating the traffic law at least once. Many people prefer buying their way out on the spot or paying their bogus traffic tickets to save time and keep mentaly healthy. Some go to court. Such people even have good chance of winning, statistically speaking. What do traffic cops think about that, especially the Moscow ones?

They anonymously speak about having to give a set number of tickets for certain traffic violations every shift. They do not mention how much they make working off the books, but that is to be expected. Still, they confess they have to fine each and every one, although such fines are easily contested in court. Alternatively, they can give a fake tickets; they are displayed as unpaid in the database. Sometimes senior officers are irritated a checkpoint did not catch a single car with drugs or weapons or a 'Bacchus' (police slang for drunk drivers), according to a low ranking traffic cop.


They anonymously speak about having to give a set number of tickets for certain traffic violations every shift. They do not mention how much they make working off the books, but that is to be expected. Still, they confess they have to fine each and every one, although such fines are easily contested in court. Alternatively, they can give a fake tickets; they are displayed as unpaid in the database. Sometimes senior officers are irritated a checkpoint did not catch a single car with drugs or weapons or a 'Bacchus' (police slang for drunk drivers), according to a low ranking traffic cop.


Judging from what was said, it is safe to assume law-abiding motorists are of no interest for the Moscow traffic police as represented by its Head Major General Viktor Kovalenko. Moscow traffic cops are forced to lie about having stopped offenders if they fail to actually spot anyone. Otherwise, they may have to do another shift. For example, a Moscow South-Western Administrative District source claimed "...local traffic cops stay on shift until they catch a Bacchus. They will try to catch one until 1 PM even if their shift ends at 8 AM."

The CrimeRussia has a copy of a document Moscow Police Union Presidential Commissioner for Occupational Safety and Health Aleksey Alekseevich Belogortsev wrote to V. V. Kovalenko:

Russian Accounts Chamber auditors noticed the practice of giving fake tickets; supervisory agencies got interested in the Moscow traffic police activities this summer. They discovered hundreds of thousands of "wrongly given" traffic tickets. For example, motorists appealed 744.5 thousand traffic tickets out of 162,4 million between 2015 and 2016. The courts later canceled 588.4 thousand out of the 744.5 thousand tickets. This is due to the low quality of administrative fining practices, according to the auditors.

When analyzing the Moscow traffic police accounts records, the auditors also discovered sometimes it is impossible to identify – and prove – who paid a given ticket. This resulted in law-abiding citizens being labeled as nonpayers. 13.6 billion rubles ($224 million) worth of tickets was paid anonymously in 2015. Another 10.6 billion rubles ($177 million) worth of tickets was paid anonymously in 2016. Unidentified motorists often have to pay their tickets twice, too.

The traffic police also transfer data to the Russian Federal Treasury in violation of the existing rules, according to the chamber. This results in some people not being able get a 50% discount when paying their tickets in the first 20 days after getting them. The right for the discount is set in the Russian Administrative Offences Code. The Russian Federal Bailiff Service was inspected, too. It does not investigate millions of tickets the traffic police send their way; 250 million rubles ($4 million) worth of tickets was not collected due to this in two years. As for the traffic police, it is often late in handing information over to bailiffs. The latter can sometimes prosecute people for tickets they had already paid. In this scenario, bailiffs simply put the blame on credit companies saying the latter did not notify them.

People and the federal budget lose money plus stuck money eventually goes to who knows where when one hand washers the other. Throw in the traffic police and bailiffs staff overage into the mix and it starts to look really bad. The Russian MIA failed to comment on the auditors’ criticism.

Head of Moscow State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate Viktor Kovalenko has a hard task at hand: report back to the Chamber about the Moscow traffic police internal investigation results until December 1, 2017. He does not only need to report back but to identify and 'reprimand' the people responsible for the 'financial confusion', to put it lightly. The 'confusion' has not yet been directly called a fraud since the auditors have yet to finish their work.

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Head of Moscow State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate Viktor Kovalenko

It is worth mentioning that Kovalenko was appointed the head of Moscow State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate in March of 2015. He replaced infamous Aleksandr Ilyin; Kovalenko used to be his number two. 

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Ex-Head of Moscow State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate Aleksandr Ilyin 

To recall, the Russian MIA Main Internal Affairs Directorate and the police discovered a gang of employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles of the Main Moscow State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate of the Russian MIA. The gang was led by Konstantin Vasyuta. The gang would illegally confiscate number plates with prestigious number combinations (e.g. 777 77 for regular number plates, AAA-series number plates, and AKP177 for the 'police series' number plates). They would then forward such number plates to the ‘right’ traffic police stations for the 'right' motorists; 'cool' number plates could cost up to 15 million rubles ($251 thousand). A 20-people gang selling fake driver’s licenses was busted around the same time; four of them were traffic cops. Ilin’s Deputy Mikhail Martyushev was dismissed as a result. As for Ilin, Russian MIA Head Vladimir Kolokoltsev personally reprimanded him; Ilin had to retire and leave his position to his 'shadow partner' Kovalenko.

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