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News > Russia

Russian Lower House Approves National Guard's Volunteer Units

  • Servicemen of the National Guard in Leningrad Oblast, Russia.

    Servicemen of the National Guard in Leningrad Oblast, Russia. | Photo: X/ @DailyRuSoldiers

Published 17 October 2023

The National Guard directly answers to the Russian president, who can order its intervention in situations threatening national security.

On Tuesday, Russia's Lower House (Duma) approved, in its first reading, bills that allow for the creation of volunteer units within the National Guard, should the head of state deem it necessary.


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According to one of the bills, which still needs to go through a second and third reading before heading to the Senate, volunteers may be utilized in carrying out "specific tasks within the realm of defense during times of mobilization, wartime, armed conflict, and counterterrorism operations."

Alexander Jinshtein, the president of the Lower House's Information Policy Committee and one of the authors of the initiative, explained that "all the legal and social guarantees enjoyed by volunteers in the Defense Ministry will also be extended to the National Guard volunteers."

This Russian lawmaker added that these guarantees will be included as amendments to the country's labor and tax codes. The bills do not contemplate the possibility of including organizations within the volunteer units, as contracts will be signed individually with citizens.

Previously, Jinshtein denied any connection between these bills and the "rumors about incorporating units of the private military company Wagner into the National Guard." 

Last July, a few weeks after the one-day rebellion by Wagner mercenaries, the Duma passed a law to equip the National Guard with tanks and other heavy weaponry, which Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on August 4.

The National Guard directly answers to the president, who can order its armed intervention in cases of emergencies, public disorder, and situations threatening national security.

Putin established the National Guard in 2016, staffing it with approximately 340,000 personnel and appointing General Viktor Zolotov, a former member of his security team, as its leader.

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