Question: How did the President react to your report?
Vladimir Kolokoltsev: He expressed his thanks to the police officers for their competent action and fulfilment of their professional duties.
Question: What was the report about?
Vladimir Kolokoltsev: It was about the operation carried out to detain the individual who committed a serious crime in the city of Belgorod.
There was immense public response to this crime and the police officers did everything they could in the shortest time — just over a day. The police officers are people too after all, and all of them understand the need to carry out all required actions as quickly as possible in such a situation. The criminal was apprehended practically within a day.
Question: Did you personally oversee the operation? Did it use new methods, or was it a textbook operation so to speak, using the familiar models?
Vladimir Kolokoltsev: First, all of the actions were the kind of standard ones required in accordance with the information we had on the situation. This involved blocking off territory and searching homes in the surrounding areas. Over the day, while it was still light, we managed to search three quarters of the city area. The suspect was captured. Everyone knows now where he was detained.
People sometimes compare our working methods with those of our colleagues abroad, but each situation always has its own specific features. For a start, Belgorod continued to go about its normal life. We did not restrict residents’ life in any way, did not oblige people to remain at home and not leave their homes while the operation was underway. The operation was conducted in such a way as let the city continue its normal life in full, and this influenced our choice of methods. We had no need to use aircraft and other technical possibilities. The city environment made this simply unnecessary.
As for the rest, I think the police officers worked in standard fashion and carried out the tasks I set them as their head.
Question: Will anyone be decorated?
Vladimir Kolokoltsev: Yes, we will be submitting names for state decorations.
Question: How many police officers took part in the operation and which units and [representatives of the] regions most distinguished themselves?
Vladimir Kolokoltsev: It’s hard to judge who distinguished themselves the most, because we had officers from neighbouring regions taking part too, from Voronezh and Kursk regions, from Moscow, from the Interior Ministry headquarters and special forces.
I want to address a separate word of thanks to our colleagues from the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s border guards service. They also got involved in the operation and helped us to close the border so as to prevent the criminal from leaving Russian Federation territory, which would have made it much harder for us to track him down and detain him.
Question: You have said before that you favour bringing back the death penalty. Was this discussed with regard to this particular criminal?
Vladimir Kolokoltsev: No, this was not discussed.
Question: Aside from thanking the police officers, did the President say anything else about the operation?
Vladimir Kolokoltsev: I think it is sufficient that he thanked the officers for their competent and professional work.
Question: Are there any plans to perhaps restrict sales of weapons or bolster security for arms shops? Was this discussed at all?
Vladimir Kolokoltsev: These sorts of issues are discussed as part of our routine work. In this particular case, I don’t think we should make any hasty decisions or draw hasty conclusions.
Question: Did you personally question the suspect?
Vladimir Kolokoltsev: No, he was questioned by people from the Investigative Committee, as is the procedure set by law.
Given his aggressive state, it is hard for the officers to say whether he is sane or not. We will have to wait for the results of the court psychiatrists’ reports. But during his last prison term there was nothing to suggest that he might not be sane. He completed his prison term, but because of his insolent and aggressive behaviour was kept in a separate room, as far as I know from the Federal Penitentiary Service’s reports. He repeatedly received warnings — 28 or 29 times – for breaking the rules while in prison. Our priority task therefore was to find and detain him as quickly as possible. We had every reason to believe he would not stop there and could commit other serious crimes.
Question: What was his motive?
Vladimir Kolokoltsev: That will be for the investigators and the court to establish.