According to Kommersant the reason is an order from on high to cut down on piracy. My friendly video kiosk is in the underpass that sits directly in front of MID (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and could be relied upon to provide a never ending host of truly crap movies. You have to imagine that a number of WTO negotiators passed through the hallowed doors of MID and might have had a reason to go through the underpass.
Kommersant come up with two principal reasons both of which are probably true; firstly WTO negotiations are reaching the tipping point so Russia needed to show that it was serious about clamping down on piracy. Secondly because the Prosecutors office has pushed the Militsia to show that it can actually do something about economic crime that is just mildly obvious.
It seems that most of the kiosks closed themselves down following a friendly hint from the local police. Time to keep your head down as the Militsia will need to replace their income sources.
The interesting fact that most of the retail points was locked up by owners themselves –that was their response to the action. “Those, who stayed open, took off all counterfeited merchandises and currently sell only licensed Russian games. Those, who sells DVD has only licensed copies of “9th Regiment,” the owner of the kiosk, which is located near Komsomolskaya Square, told Kommersant. “I don’t know when all this would be over. Some people say on Wednesday and some after the elections in Moscow City Duma.”
I love the Russian cynicism about their imminent return - maybe Wednesday....
I am not sure that I understand the point that they are making about the conflict between the Prosecutors Office and the Militsia (copied below for your enlightenment). Needs to be read in the original. The Prosecutor's office was the main instrument in the attack on Yukos (no link required) but if it is going to push the Militsia in to doing their job I might even be marginally less cynical about them.
"According to another point of view, the large-scale police operation is a consequence of the conflict between the General Prosecution of the Russian Federation and the Interior Ministry of RF. In September of this year, General Prosecutor of RF Vladimir Ustinov harshly criticized police for their inability to fight with pirates. “The antagonism between Interior Ministry and Prosecution over the investigation of the crimes for Article 146 of Criminal Code, is widely known. The quality of investigation documents provided by the police to prosecution in the pirate cases is awful,” Yuri Zlobin, head of the association Russian Shield. “I think, that in this case Interior Ministry wants to prove prosecution that it can fight effectively with pirates. The ministry hopes that after this action the law would get an amendments, which would allow police investigate these cases by itself (currently it is a competence of prosecution –Kommersant). Then, police would have a better ratio of cracking media pirate cases because it would collect the evidence, interrogate suspect and make arrests without constantly asking Prosecution for orders.”