: Daily Beast: Putin creates enormous praetorian guard, puts his bodyguard in charge

14:15 Apr. 13, 2016

Daily Beast: Putin creates enormous praetorian guard, puts his bodyguard in charge

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during media forum of the All-Russia People's Front in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, April 7, 2016. (AP)

Does the Russian president really think the Americans are trying to overthrow him? Can he be this paranoid? And where will that lead?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has surprised his countrymen once again. In a remarkable power play, Putin has reshuffled the aces in Russia's law enforcement system and tossed a huge number of cards in the air.

 Read also Putin's hidden agenda behind new Russian National Guard: Opinion

In less than a week, he liquidated the federal drug control and immigration agencies, firing more than 50,000 people, including his longtime ally from the KGB, Russian drug tsar Victor Ivanov.

Putin then let Russians know that he had created a new force, called the National Guard, a powerful structure that includes more than 180,000 interior ministry troops plus special police units.

Read also Meduza: Putin announces the creation of a new Russian National Guard

Putin's shakeup creates a military and police force of up to 400,000 well-trained servicemen loyal to him personally. The newly appointed commander is one of Putin's most trusted men, a former undercover KGB agent named Victor Zolotov, a man with the massive build and intimidating face of a bodyguard who has been responsible for the security of the Russian leadership for almost 20 years.

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