How Putin’s Praetorian guard will put down mass protests


It has been years since Russia’s protest movement showed much moxie, sending tens of thousands onto the streets of Moscow for raucous demonstrations against electoral fraud and Vladimir Putin’s third term as president. But with the economy now mired in its longest recession in 20 years and parliamentary elections set for this September, Russia’s police are drilling for a new rise in discontent, The Washington Post’s Andrew Roth writes:

Earlier this month, Putin announced the formation of a new, national guard, whose commander (a former head bodyguard for Putin) would answer directly to the Kremlin (as opposed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs) and which may be given the right to fire into crowds with live ammunition, Russian lawmakers have suggested….

“There is no real reason for creating the National Guard out of the Interior Troops and other forces unless you have a serious worry about public unrest,” Mark Galeotti, professor at New York University and a specialist on Russian security, argued in a recent column. ….


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