On April 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would develop a national guard to fight terrorism and crime, but a recently released video from Open Russia purports to show the guard training to suppress something that looks like a civilian protest.
The video shows scores of troops with riot shields corralling a group of unarmed mock protesters with stun and smoke grenades, and presumably non-lethal ammunition.
This falls in line with other reports from The Moscow Times that says: “An employee of the National Guard troops has the right to use physical force, special instruments, or firearms without warning.”
Open Russia, a group led by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled Russian businessman and advocate for democracy in Russia, claims the video was filmed at Lyubertsy, 13 miles outside of Moscow.
The announcement of the national guard by Putin comes just days after the Panama Papers alleged that Putin, as well as many other world leaders, used offshore companies to launder billions of dollars.
In Iceland, the revelations of the Panama Papers caused huge protests in Reykjavik and the swift resignation of Iceland’s Prime Minister.
Foreign Policy suggested that the proposed national guard could grow to a force of 400,000, with tanks, artillery, and even attack helicopters, and that the force was preparing to success a “Moscow Maidan,” a reference to the pro-western protests that took place in Kiev in 2014.
Watch the full video from Open Russia below: