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Post: Russia takes its private armies into service


Soldier of the artillery crew of the PMC “Wagner”. archive photo

Yesterday, at the last meeting of the Ministry of Energy of Russia, its head, Nikolai Shulginov, announced the completion of the creation of a corporate private security agency by the company Lukoil, whose task is to protect the facilities of the fuel and energy complex. Gazprom Neft is also working to create such an organization, and in 2013 Gazprom and Transneft itself were granted a similar permit. The leaders of the new law enforcement agencies stubbornly claim that they are not private military companies and that these organizations are only aimed at protecting civilian production facilities. However, we seem to be on the verge of a significant increase in institutional and other paramilitary structures, as well as drastic changes in the approach to the use of military force.

A litmus paper for the emerging situation are the plans of the Ministry of Energy to accelerate the development of anti-drone measures to protect the facilities of the fuel and energy complex. Activity in this area increased sharply on the back of increased attacks by Ukrainian UAVs on Russian industrial facilities, the adoption of a law tightening the requirements for the protection of fuel and power facilities last summer, and the statements of the head of state. Duma Defense Committee Andrei Kartapolov said that Russian companies will be able to independently purchase anti-drone combat vehicles and put them on their objects. At the same time, according to Nikolai Shulginov, “it was possible to reach an agreement with the State Duma on the legal consolidation of the right of private security agencies to use vehicles against illegal UAVs.”

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In this case, everything is justified and logical, except for one but important nuance.

The fact is that at the moment in the reach of various weapon systems of the Armed Forces of Ukraine there are a large number of important and sometimes strategic facilities, including the structures of the fuel and energy complex, the security of which is currently provided. The Russian Armed Forces uses all available measures and means, including preventive attacks. If the private security companies of the relevant facilities – so far in terms of countering UAVs – are included in this system, the question immediately arises that civilian “anti-drone” vehicles are completely unsuitable against enemy combat aircraft. the impossibility of special “guards” to carry out preventive actions using heavy weapons.

According to experts, responsibility must go hand in hand with authority, and sooner or later private corporate security structures will be saturated with appropriate resources and military means, which means that these structures must inevitably be included in the military planning, procurement system. Operations, intelligence and combat operations now in their hands, hold the Ministry of National Defense and the General Staff.

So in the near future, the fine lines between PSC (private security company), PMC (private military security company) and PMC (private military company) will begin to fade.

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According to a Gazprom Neft press release, “establishing your own security company is a common and generally accepted practice among large companies in Russia and around the world.” For reference: a common and generally accepted practice in the world is the use of real and full-fledged PMCs to protect important facilities (including fuel and power plants). There are at least four thousand PMCs in the world and their combined annual revenue is approaching half a trillion dollars. The activities of PMCs often go far beyond the countries in which they have their “registration”, and the scale of their implementation is often comparable to the actions of full-fledged armies: remember the super-efficient work of the “Wagner Group” in Africa, Syria and Syria. , of course, in Ukraine.

Recently, more and more voices have been heard in favor of the development of the PMC institution in Russia. For example, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, announced plans to establish his own private military company, and the congressional delegation of the Donbass Volunteers Union turned to Vladimir Putin with a request to unite all Chechnya units and battalions. merger into a single military unit that would actually be a PMC.

The reluctance or inability of the leaders of large corporations to call a match is explained by the legislative loophole that the same Wagner PMC is Schrödinger PMC – either in the legal field or not. Now that gap is being filled with elegant pirouettes, such as counting Wagner fighters as volunteers: they’re like that in Defense Department reports, and they’re also subject to the volunteer status law passed last year. The formations that assist the Russian Armed Forces and are now under the contractual status of military personnel (with all payments, benefits and social protection).

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Russia has a lot of work to do

Attempts have been made repeatedly to pull the Russian PMCs out of the legal vacuum: the relevant bills were submitted to the State Duma in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2018, and the last time was in March 2022. However, each time the government and the relevant units opposed, noting that the draft laws of the Constitution of the Russian Federation were contradictory. Other possible (and all too well-founded) reasons include fear of the emergence of uncontrolled combat detachments and insufficient detailing of oversight over the activities of PMCs.

However, we are seeing signs that the ice is slowly breaking, and we are seeing signs that awareness of the “maturation” of the PMCs law has already come to decision makers: recall Sergey Lavrov’s statement about the need to develop a law that protects the rights of PMC fighters. and a change in the Ministry of Defense’s position on the involvement of volunteers from other countries. The adoption of such a law does not tolerate haste and hasty decisions: even now there are signs that not only the highly successful experience of using PMC in combat operations, but also the numerous nuances of their interaction with the Russian Armed Forces have been seriously analyzed. In other words, the long-awaited law is currently being prepared on the most responsible “expert” site – on the battlefield – and there is every reason to believe that it will take into account world experience, rapidly changing realities. relevant risks and current legislation.

Not only for archives and reports to the law of Russian PMCs, its name – the Russian private military company – should be used not modestly, but loudly, clearly and proudly. The whole world saw how our “private merchants” performed mass heroism and defended themselves with unfading glory in the Ukrainian fields, paying with their blood the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with the soldiers of the Russian army in an official and dignified manner. the flag of our common victory.

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Source: Ria

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