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Kremlin: National Guard likely to be involved in suppression of unauthorized mass actions

The chief of Russia’s newly-established National Guard, Viktor Zolotov, will be subordinated directly to the Russian president

MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. It is more than likely that Russia’s National Guard will take part in the suppression of unauthorized mass actions, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

"One can assume that, of course, [it will take part] in [suppressing] unauthorized [actions]," Peskov told reporters.

The Kremlin spokesman recalled that, in accordance with the presidential decree, among the powers of the National Guard is participation in the enforcement of public order, together with the Interior Ministry.

"The National Guard’s functions include participation in anti-terrorism efforts and ensuring legal regime of counter-terrorism operations. And as for your question, I don’t know yet," he said when asked whether National Guard troops could take part in counterterrorism operations abroad.

Chief of Russia’s National Guard to be subordinated directly to president

According to the spokesman, the chief of Russia’s newly-established National Guard, Viktor Zolotov, will be subordinated directly to the Russian president.

"The chief of the National Guard will be subordinated to the supreme commander-in-chief, i.e. to the president," he said, adding that the chief of the new structure was included into the Russian Security Council as its permanent members.

"Obviously, Putin has personal confidence in Zotov. The president and the commander-in-chief never appoints people he doesn’t trust to top positions in law enforcement structures," Peskov said.

In his words, Zolotov "has a very rich experience of work in special services." "Naturally, it is a good record for a chief of such a big service as the National Guard," he noted.

Zolotov was chief of the Presidential Security Service in 2000-2013. From 2014, he has been First Deputy Interior Minister and commander-in-chief of the Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops.

Interior Minister Kolokoltsev has not tendered resignation

Peskov also pointed out that Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev has not tendered his resignation.

"No," Peskov said while answering the question whether Kolokoltsev offered his resignation.

The presidential spokesman underscored that the number of law enforcement structures is not increasing.

"The Federal Drug Control Service law enforcement body is becoming a component part of the Interior Ministry, it’s minus one law enforcement department," he said. "Plus one is the National Guard. So it can’t be said that another law enforcement agency is added."

"The Interior Ministry now also has functions connected with control of the turnover of narcotic substances, psychotropic substances and their precursors, as well as the migration sphere," Peskov said.

He did not comment on whether the heads of the Federal Drug Control Service and the Federal Migration Service will retain their posts.

"I can’t answer yet, we should wait for relevant decrees of the president," Peskov said. "It can only be said that Interior Ministry departments on drugs and migration will be led by deputy interior ministers, who will be appointed by the president."

No crisis of confidence in Putin in law enforcement structures

According to the official, today’s changes in the Interior Ministry do not mean that there is a crisis of confidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin in law enforcement structures.

"No, it does not mean that," Peskov said while answering the question whether the establishment of the National Guard meant a crisis of confidence in "siloviki".

Russia’s Federal Guard Service to retain its functions of protecting top officials

Russia’s Federal Guard Service tasked to ensure security of the country’s top officials will retain its competences following the establishment of the National Guard.

"It can be said confidently that the Russian president’s decree on the Russian National Guard does not affect the functions of the Federal Guard Service," Peskov said.

National Guard not to require a staff size increase

The spokesman also stressed that the National Guard will not require a staff size increase and its creation will optimize the law enforcement bodies.

"No," Peskov said when asked if the National Guard is going to increase its staff. 

"The National Guard creation will not require a staff size increase and will not lead to the expansion of any state machinery or any other structure," Peskov said.

"I am not ready to answer this question yet," Peskov told journalists when asked about the National Guard’s possible size.

"A change of control over the Federal Drug Control Service and the Federal Migration Service as well as the transformation of internal troops into the National Guard will optimize the law enforcement structures," the Kremlin spokesman added.

Amendments of current laws

The establishment of Russia’s National Guard will require improvement of the legal framework, the press secretary went on to say.

"So far, it can be said with confidence that certain improvement of the legal framework will be needed," Peskov said. "For sure. The current laws will need certain amendments."

He said amendments will be needed to more than just two laws. It will be necessary to amend the regulations of the interior ministry and other structures. "So, amendments to the legal framework will follow," he added.