Speaking to a group of students last week, Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said citizens should be allowed to strike back at police who attack them without cause:
Also last week, State Duma Deputy Andrei Makarov, a leading member of the ruling United Russia party, upped the ante, suggesting at a press conference that maybe it was time to scrap the country's massive 921,000-strong police force altogether and start over:
It has indeed been rough going for Russian law enforcement in recent weeks.
There was Novorossiisk police Captain Aleksei Dymovsky's YouTube video alleging massive corruption, brutality, and falsification of evidence.
There was the suspicious death of imprisoned attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who was reportedly denied medical care after refusing to give evidence against his own client.
And there was the case of three drunken Moscow police officers who were detained after beating an Abkhaz man to death.
Russia's police have been under fire -- and intense scrutiny -- since April, when Denis Yevsyukov, a Moscow police officer, killed three people and wounded six more in a drunken shooting rampage at a supermarket. President Dmitry Medvedev fired Moscow's police chief several days after the shooting.
In May, Supreme Court Chairman Vycheslav Lebedev and Justice Minister Aleksandr Konovalov issued a report singling out the Interior Ministry as Russia's most corrupt institution.
But the current rumblings in high places are likely the result of something other than a sincere desire to reform the law enforcement system. The latest wave of high-profile cases notwithstanding, police corruption and brutality in Russia are nothing new. What is new, however, is the attention the issue is receiving from the elite.
The latest wave of police scandals come at a time of intense clan warfare in the Kremlin, as security-service veterans or "siloviki" surrounding Prime Minister Vladimir Putin battle for influence with technocrats close to President Dmitry Medvedev over Russia's future political and economic direction.
Nurgaliyev is closely associated with the siloviki and there has been persistent speculation in the Russian media and on the Internet that his job could be in jeopardy.
Political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky told "The Moscow Times" that Makarov's proposal to disband the Interior Ministry could be interpreted as an attempt by people close to Medvedev to weaken the siloviki:
Makarov's proposal has divided the ruling party. Some in United Russia distanced themselves from his comments. Andrei Pisarev, the political head of the party's executive committee, said they reflected Makarov's personal opinion and not that of United Russia. But he did get a nod of support from Deputy Duma Speaker Lyubov Sliska, who said, "there is no sense in reforming the Interior Ministry and perhaps a political decision should be made to take the steps proposed by Makarov."
-- Brian Whitmore