Lawmakers approve amendments allowing Russia's new National Guard to fire into crowds and search cars

A State Duma committee has approved legislative amendments that would give Russia's new National Guard the right to use deadly weapons against large crowds, in order to free hostages, prevent terrorist attacks, or suppress attacks on government installations and cargo shipments by armed groups. 

Under similar conditions, the legislative amendments would grant the National Guard the right to search individuals' vehicles. National Guard troops would be required to present themselves as law enforcement officers, before conducting any searches, and explain the reason for the search. Car owners not present for the search of their vehicle would need to be notified within 24 hours that a search had been conducted.

Russia's National Guard was created by executive order on April 5, 2016, by President Vladimir Putin. The new policing agency will take over duties and personnel previously composing Russia's Interior Ministry, special police forces, riot-control troops, and a wide array of other Interior Ministry and other state security forces. Putin has appointed the former head of the Russian President's personal security service to lead the National Guard, Viktor Zolotov. Since 2013, Zolotov headed Russia's Interior Military Forces.