President Putin has signed the decree about creation of Federal service of national guard troops of the Russian Federation in April of last year. Such a powerful power structure in the history of Russia has not happened: it will combine features of the military units and intelligence agencies, and its staff numbers will reach 400 thousand people. In addition, it is headed by one of very close to Putin people, and the Guard reports directly to the President. But the Kremlin has decided to go even further, and this suggests that there is a stronger fear of revolution.
The may decree
May 24, Putin signed a decree, which introduces major changes in the military organization of the state. It prescribes to adopt the document, which bears the title “Regulations on operational-territorial Association of national guard troops of the Russian Federation”. Its key section reads: “By decision of the President of the Russian Federation of military units of Armed forces of the Russian Federation, other military formations and organs can be transferred to the operational control of the commander of the district to perform the tasks assigned to the troops of the national guard.”
In the Soviet times and after collapse of the USSR internal troops in some cases be translated to the subordination of the Ministry of defence. Paramount had an “external enemy”. To combat it, the Kremlin needed an opportunity to concentrate all military and security units in the country. Each major exercises in recent years, attracted internal forces, bringing them into the discipline of the regular army. This tradition was continued after the formation of the national guard. In 2016, the Volgograd region, she conducted joint exercises with airborne troops. Still the strength of the regular army came under the command of the internal troops. Exception happened only during the Chechen wars, when the operational command repeatedly transferred to the interior Ministry, however this was done only to demonstrate that the “military phase” of the fighting is over. However, even then the mission continued to monitor the General staff of the armed forces.
The decree informed about the creation of the National guard also did not say anything about the possibility to subordinate regular army. It happened just now, from which we can conclude that the Kremlin considers internal threats are much more dangerous to the state than the outside. So dangerous that one Regardie (although for this purpose it was created) will not be enough. Although, as said Viktor Zolotov, the number of personnel of subordinate forces doubled compared with the strength of the internal troops and is already close to 400 thousand people! If this is true, then Regardie superior on this indicator the Russian ground forces.
The enemy inside the country
The decree of 24 may mean that Putin fears the outbreak of large-scale social unrest, which can cover the entire country. In such a situation would have to involve all units of the national guard and to bring to fulfillment the “internal functions” of the armed forces. Two days after the signing of the decree appeared in the press article of the former head of Russian General staff General Yury Baluyevsky. In it, he writes that the main threats come not from outside but from within the country, and “the appearance of the troops of the national guard is a response to the threat of the use of technologies so-called non-violent resistance.”
About the possibility to use the military against its own citizens have begun to speak much earlier. In 2014, the conference on security of the Russian generals, wishing to curry favor with the Kremlin, announced “color revolution” a new form of war. This idea appeared in the new version of the military doctrine of Russia, where modern conflicts are called “complex application of military force, political, economic, informational and other measures of non-military character, which is realized with the widespread use of protest potential of the population and special operations forces”. It is noteworthy that the use of protest potential of the population is equated to the actions of foreign spies.
In 2015, defense Minister Sergei Shoigu instructed the General staff Academy to examine how the armed forces should respond to the threat of color revolutions. The results of this work nothing is known. Apparently, army commanders would prefer not to send the army against its own people. Consent to subordination of the armed forces of Regardie disclaims responsibility for the use of force against compatriots. But will it help the ordinary that soothes the conscience of the officers — because it is ordinary have to shoot Russians? For them it does not matter who will give them such an order.
The Kremlin’s army
The backbone of Regardie are former forces of the interior Ministry (187 thousand people). This is a real army with military structure and equipment, is not inferior to the level of the regular armed forces. She has her own aircraft, artillery, tank and naval forces. But it’s not just a new incarnation of the internal troops. The national guard has become much stronger, in particular due to the fact that it is now subject to police special forces. The riot police (“black berets”), whose population is 20 thousand people — a unit specializing in the suppression of street protests and the crackdown. In the ranks of SWAT, the equivalent of the American SWAT units, are 5 thousand fighters. Added to that about 170 thousand employees of private security, although their power potential does not look very solid. The main objective of Regardie will be the fight against terrorism and extremism in the country. In addition, she received powers in the field of control over arms trafficking and the activities of private security companies.
The fact that MIA took riot police and SWAT, means that the national guard will be even better prepared for the crackdown. This is the task of the new forces to suppress riots and prevent revolution. They also had the opportunity to engage in counterintelligence activities and to cooperate with the secret services. In the end, Regardie will be something of a subordinate to the President of hybrid intelligence agencies, special forces and security service of law and order. Director of the Federal service of national guard troops at the same time acts as the commander-in-chief of Regardie. He, as head of the FSB or SVR, has the same status as Ministers and reports directly to the President. Is Viktor Zolotov — old friend Putin in St. Petersburg, who for many years was his guard, and then headed the presidential security Service.
Shield and sword
The national guard is the private army of Putin. He can use it without regard for the Ministers of defense and internal Affairs. Here is no limit applicable to the activities of armed forces: they, even during the war, directly managed by the head of the defense Department, and the President only controls it. There is one caveat: in case of emergency, the army is getting a free max for two days, then she must obtain the approval of the Federation Council. For the national guard, this term is extended to 72 hours. And during this time civil unrest can manage to drown in blood.
The Russian leadership holds the National guard under great expectations, believing that sheer, brutal force will allow him to stay in power. Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the military-industrial complex, called her “the most belligerent military unit, solves the problem within the country” and added that Regardie should get the most modern weapons.
The task of the Praetorian guard of Putin is to prevent rebellions. Asgardia will in the service of hundreds of IT professionals and experts in monitoring social networking. As they say officially, they will focus on identifying terrorists and preventing terrorist attacks. But they also will surely prefer to search the Internet participants of street protests and spying on them.
Asgardia should be a tool not only for riot, but also to intimidate the elite, especially that part which is dissatisfied with the wars in Ukraine and Syria, the conflict with the West and sanctions. At the end of March at a solemn Banquet on the occasion of the anniversary of Regardie Putin said: “we Have a new large event. All of this will require larger forces and means. The scope of tasks is very large, and much of it will be on your shoulders.”