MOSCOW (AFP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday announced the creation of powerful new National Guard security force, a move analysts said could be aimed at warding off unrest over the country’s economic crisis.
Putin said in a televised meeting with Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and other security officials that the force would merge the country’s interior ministry troops with riot police and swat teams.
The Kremlin said that the Naional Guard will answer directly to Putin and tackle terrorism and organised crime, but did not specify how many troops would be included in the new structure.
The force will be led by interior ministry troop boss Viktor Zolotov, who previously headed Putin’s own security detachment.
Analysts say the move comes as the Kremlin strives to bolster its security apparatus ahead of parliamentary elections in September in the face of a crippling economic crisis authorities fear could stir unrest.
"The economic crisis is continuing and could give rise to a social crisis," said Konstantin Kalachev, head of the Moscow-based Political Expert Group think tank.
"This means that security forces need to be reinforced and prepare for the worse."
Putin also announced yesterday that Russia’s federal migration service and its drug control service will be folded into the interior ministry. — AFP