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05 April 2016

Putin orders forming of Russian National Guard force

Russia has announced the formation of a new National Guard security force that will answer directly to President Vladimir Putin


"The decisions have been taken, we are creating a new federal body of executive power," said Putin during a security meeting in the Kremlin on Tuesday.

He noted that the National Guard would be formed from the merger of SWAT teams, riot police, and interior ministry troops to fight terrorism, organized crime, and drug trafficking while they have normal police functions.

"I do hope that the National Guard troops will perform their tasks effectively, just as they have been doing up to this day and step up the work along the priority guidelines," he added.

The new force is set to be led by the head of the interior ministry’s forces Viktor Zolotov (pictured below), who formerly directed Putin's personal security detachment.


"Viktor Zolotov is appointed director of the Federal Service of National Guard Troops and commander-in-chief of the National Guard Troops of Russia and relieved of his previous duties," read a presidential decree.

"The chief of the National Guard will be subordinated to the supreme commander-in-chief, i.e. to the president," noted a Kremlin spokesman. 

Putin also announced that Russia's drug enforcement agency and federal migration service will become subordinates to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

According to analysts the move is aimed at bolstering security ahead of September parliamentary elections.  

In February, Putin called on security forces to remain vigilant as "foreign enemies" wished to disrupt the upcoming elections.

Following Putin’s announcement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that the National Guard will, in coordination with the police, ensure security, at public events and unauthorized protests.

“The National Guard will not require an increase in staff numbers, it will not lead to any structure being expanded or anything like that," he added.