Russian Police Major Falls From Window After Testifying Against Boss

Dvnovosti and the Gubernia.com news website reported that security cameras showed Mishkina unsuccessfully attempting to gain access to the building’s rooftop, then descending a few flights.

Unconfirmed reports citing anonymous sources in law enforcement agencies say that Mishkina was a witness in a criminal case against her former boss, who’s suspected of extorting from subordinates. She was reported to have testified against him some time before her death.

A police major in Far Eastern Russia has fallen to her death from a window after testifying against her boss in a criminal extortion case, news outlets reported Thursday.

Security cameras reportedly captured the lifeless body of criminal investigation officer Yekaterina Mishkina, 37, near a nine-floor apartment building in the city of Khabarovsk more than 8,000 kilometers east of Moscow.

It was unclear who or what Mishkina, who was in plainclothes according to the Dvnovosti.ru news website, had been pursuing before plunging to her death from the fifth-floor window.

Gubernia reported that authorities opened the criminal extortion case after Mishkina’s former boss retired.

The Khabarovsk regional police launched an internal inspection into Mishkina’s death, spokeswoman Yekaterina Tarasova told Gubernia, adding that the investigator was “on yet another vacation” at the time.

The Todaykhv.ru outlet reported, citing an unnamed source close to the investigation, that officials found a note in Mishkina’s purse listing a set of key tasks she had to complete “until a certain point.”

“This indicates that what happened wasn’t spontaneous,” the source was quoted as saying.

Mishkina was divorced and is survived by a 14-year-old daughter, according to Todaykhv’s source.

Mishkina’s death follows at least five incidents of Russian healthcare workers falling from windows at the height of the coronavirus outbreak this spring as well as two young journalists in 2018-19.

Russia to Keep Mass Surveillance After Coronavirus, Activists Say

Russian authorities’ massive surveillance campaign rolled out during the coronavirus pandemic could easily be used to monitor civilians in the future, research by the Agora human rights group said Thursday.

During the pandemic, the authorities have collected arriving citizens’ personal data; introduced pass systems that limited movement and violated citizens’ rights; and conducted video surveillance with facial recognition capabilities, the report’s authors say. Other forms of rights violations include delegating police functions to private entities and nationwide geo-tracking that was prone to embarrassing leaks.

The methods “immerse us into the ‘brave new world’ of total surveillance,” said Damir Gainutdinov, co-author of the “Surveillance Pandemic” research.

Moscow and the surrounding Moscow region, as well as the less-populated republic of Bashkortostan and the Primorye region, ranked highest among Russia’s federal subjects for the amount of surveillance they carried out on residents.

Security experts warned during the early stages of Covid-19 restrictions in early spring that Russia and Moscow in particular intend to keep the surveillance toolkit in use until long after the outbreak subsides.

Activists have been almost universally unsuccessful in challenging the surveillance and other restrictions in court.

“In future ‘emergencies’ that can be declared under any circumstances — from a new pandemic or manmade disaster to mass protests — the experience and resources accumulated during the quarantine will allow the rapid deployment of close surveillance,” Agora said.

“Moreover, it turns out the authorities don’t even need to declare an emergency” to limit rights, the group added.

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