Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Siloviki Launch Major Campaign in Moscow to Find and Confiscate Illegal Weapons

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 12 – Over the next month, Russian police and the FSB will be conducting a special operation in Moscow codenamed “Anaconda” to find and confiscate weapons, explosives and “other harmful things” from the population to boost security by ensuring that any such guns and weapons can’t be used to commit acts of terror.

            Interior ministry officials said that the FSB will be playing a prominent role in this campaign, which is scheduled to last until May 11, and that Russia’s National Counter-Terrorist Center will be directing it. Indeed, the ministry told journalists that all questions about this action should be addressed not to the MVD but to that Center.
            In the wake of the terrorist action in St. Petersburg terrorist bombing, it is entirely understandable and even justified for the Russian authorities to conduct such operations to guarantee security. But nonetheless, this effort raises three questions that those in power have not yet answered.

            First, why is this effort being limited to Moscow and not extended to other Russian cities that might be targets of terrorist violence? That limitation suggests although it doesn’t prove that those who have ordered “Anaconda” are more concerned with their own security than they are with the security of Russians as a whole.

            Second, do the authorities now have a plan to confiscate the estimated 20 million weapons now in private Russian hands, a number that continues to rise with guns flowing back into Russia from the Donbass? (Cf. and /

            And third, did the Kremlin order this effort because of fears among some in the police and National Guard that Russians who possess guns may be increasingly willing to use them against the authorities? (Cf.

            Ever more Russians may ask those questions given a United Russia proposal yesterday, withdrawn today, that the Duma approve a law allowing the police to shoot into crowds of protesters, a power that the FSB and the Russian Guard already have ( and

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