A major base for Russia's new National Guard police force will be constructed in the western Moscow district of Strogino, the city's mayor Sergei Sobyanin told the local Moskva news agency after visiting the facility's construction site on Wednesday.
The base is designed to accommodate the local National Guard regiment, which Sobyanin explained will be used by the Moscow government to ensure public safety during events that attract millions of people. President Vladimir Putin created the outfit in April to preserve public order and provide territorial defense. Answerable only to the President, many speculate it is primarily intended to control potential protest actions.
“[The base] is a full-fledged town that will ensure the operation of the entire unit,” Sobyanin said, adding that the base will serve as a model for other National Guard stations to be built around the country. It will feature recreational and relaxation areas, and facilities to help hone the skills of officers in the force, National Guard chief Viktor Zolotov – a former Putin bodyguard – was quoted as saying.
Among the rights given to the National Guard is the right to fire on crowds in the event of terrorist attacks and hostage situations. They are also authorized to use physical force against direct threats to Russian citizens or fellow members of the National Guard.
"It's no secret that the soldiers in special forces perform tasks involving huge amounts of stress," Zolotov said.