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National Guard chief says Russia's recent anti-corruption protests are the stuff of ‘color revolutions’

Source: Meduza

In a recent interview with the news agency Interfax, Viktor Zolotov, head of the newly formed National Guard, declared that protests in Russia “have an obvious systematic nature and are carried out by similar means as ‘color revolutions’ in other countries.”

“The true goals of the fight against corruption are being replaced by general destabilization and the creation of chaos,” Zolotov said, warning that methods of “dismantling” Russian society, “often by relying on the feelings of respectable citizens,” are becoming “more devious and sophisticated.” 

Zolotov also accused the foreign media of using the “pretext of civil and democratic rights violations in Russia” to “wage constant information attacks to discredit the country’s political leadership.”

One of the Russian National Guard’s primary objectives, Zolotov reminded his interviewer, is to prevent attempts to “destabilize” the country. His agency is “well experienced” in this field, he said.

President Putin created the National Guard with an executive order in April 2016, pulling resources from Russia’s Interior Ministry (transferring to the National Guard the riot police and rapid deployment troops) and other police agencies.

The National Guard reports directly to the president, and Viktor Zolotov is Putin’s former personal security chief, leading to characterizations in the media that the new police agency is Putin’s modern-day “Praetorian Guard.”

In December 2016, the regional head of the National Guard in the Altai Territory declared that the new agency was created to suppress Russia’s “fifth column” and “revolutionary unrest.”

Riot police from the National Guard participated in the crackdown on nationwide anti-corruption protests organized by opposition politician Alexey Navalny on March 26 and June 12.

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