14:04 Apr. 6, 2016
Russia to create new law enforcement authority
Vladimir Putin announced earlier today that Russia is creating a National Guard, built on the country's existing Interior Ministry troops. According to the president, the new institution will be tasked with counterterrorism work and fighting organized crime, according to Meduza.
The National Guard will also "continue to perform the functions that have been performed by the OMON [SWAT and riot police], the SOBR [the rapid deployment police force], and others," Putin said.
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The president also said he is subordinating the Federal Migration Service and the Federal Drug Control Service to the Interior Ministry.
Rumors have circulated for more than a year that the Kremlin plans major reforms to Russia's law enforcement. Merging police agencies is expected to reduce budgetary expenses. In February 2015, the newspaper Kommersant reported that officials in the Kremlin had proposed laying off 80 percent of the staff at the Federal Drug Control Service and folding the remaining employees into the Interior Ministry.