The Wall Street Journal reports: The Kremlin is creating a new internal security force that answers directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, ahead of parliamentary elections.
The Russian government says the new force, called the Russian Guard, will be headed by Viktor Zolotov, who served as Mr. Putin’s personal bodyguard for 13 years. Mr. Putin directed the creation of the force this month through an executive order now under review by the lower house of parliament.
Mr. Putin said the security force is intended to tighten control over the arms trade in the country and streamline counterterrorism efforts.
“We believe we can…reduce the cost of having various services,” he said in a televised question-and-answer session.
With parliamentary elections set for September, Russian security experts said the new force will be capable of putting down the kind of mass protests that arose following allegations of voting violations in the last such polls in 2011.
“This is really about upcoming elections and the possibility of mass unrest,” said Boris Volodarsky, a former Russian military intelligence officer. [Continue reading…]