Staunton, March 24 – The Russian Guard, supposedly the last and most loyal defense of the regime against any challenge, may not be quite as ideologically united as many have assumed. This week, its commander announced he was establishing a network of political officers to instruct and likely watch over those in its ranks.
Viktor Zolotov, the director of the Federal National Guards Service as the Russian Guard is formally known ordered the creation of a Chief Military-Political Administration within them that will be responsible for “the moral-political condition” of its uniformed personnel (newizv.ru/news/society/24-03-2021/v-rosgvardii-vossozdany-dolzhnosti-zampolitov).
According to Russian Guards officials, the plan was approved in May of last year but is being implemented only now because of problems associated with the pandemic. What is striking is that even at that time, what the Russian Guard was doing lagged behind the Russian Army which moved in this direction already in 2015.
Valery Gribakin, press spokesman for the Russian Guard, says that this innovation will be phased in over the next year and will not lead to an expansion in the number of personnel. Each unit in the guards will now have a deputy responsible for ideological and political work, and they will be called “not ‘polruks’ but ‘zampolits.’”
They will engage in what he described as “a complex of agitation-propaganda work” to ensure that “the level of moral-political and psychological” condition of those in the ranks remains high and thus ensure that they will be able to “successfully fulfill the tasks” they are assigned.