March 13, 2017 - Fort Russ News -
By J. Arnoldski -
The Russian National Guard's first ever surprise combat readiness drills kicked off this morning.
The operation was subsequently announced by the guard's Department for Interaction with Media and Civil Society Institutions: “By the decision of the director of the Federal Service of National Guard Troops, Army General Viktor Zolotov, a surprise inspection of combat readiness is being held starting on March 13th, 2017,” the statement reads.
The drills began in Russia's core Central Federal District and are set to be "continued in other federal districts," the announcement rather vaguely outlines.
Central Federal District, with its administrative capital in Moscow
The National Guard's press report specifies that the drills are "working out issues of checking combat readiness for combatting saboteur-reconnaissance groups and terrorist and extremist formations." To this end, the exercises will include reinforced patrolling of key infrastructure and the use of "special and armored vehicles for neutralizing conventional terrorists."
Overall, the report summarizes, what is at hand is "practically working through preparations for mobilization."
The Russian National Guard, nicknamed Rossgvardiya, was decreed into existence by President Vladimir Putin in April 2016. Formed out of troops from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Katehon Think Tank assessed such a restructuring from the outset as "an internal army that is needed to maintain order in the country in conditions of deteriorating international conditions and Atlanticist attempts to destabilize the situation in Russia." General Zolotov's close, loyal relationship with President Putin is emphasized as well as the fact that the National Guard's creation meant purges of corrupt and disloyal elements and streamlining security structures.
One of the main tasks of the National Guard is counter-terrorism, while its other habitual responsibilities include guarding state facilities and special cargo, controlling private security services and the arms trade, as well as assisting the Federal Security Service, or FSB, in protecting state borders.
The last point on cooperation with the FSB is noteworthy. Back on February 16th, Putin presented terrorism and instability emanating from Ukraine as the greatest threats to Russian security, and demanded that the FSB and related security agencies devote "special attention" and "concentrate forces" on the issue.
The National Guard's sudden exercises undoubtedly fit into this picture.
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