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The Daily Vertical: Preparing For War (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

The Kremlin, it appears, is preparing for a war with its own people.

On yesterday's Daily Vertical, I noted how General Sergei Melikov, the deputy commander of Russia's National Guard, told Izvestia that the 400,000-strong force, which reports directly to Putin, is "the heir to the NKVD."

Well, now we're learning that this wasn't just wishful thinking.

Because Putin has apparently just handed his personal Praetorian Guard powers that even Josef Stalin's secret police didn't have.

WATCH: Today's Daily Vertical

According to the decree, which was signed late last month, the National Guard's commander now has the power to assume control over and give direct orders to regular military units.

And who is that commander?

Well, that, of course, would be Putin's old pal and former bodyguard Viktor Zolotov, one of the most hard-line members of the Kremlin inner circle.

So Putin's old bodyguard now has the power to commandeer entire military units.

And since the National Guard exists to combat domestic threats, this basically points to one conclusion: Putin is laying the groundwork to use the military against the Russian people should the need arise.

And he's making sure that he can do so without any input from the defense minister, who might, after all, get cold feet.

Call it insurance against either a popular uprising or a palace coup.

So, the man who was once tasked with protecting the security of Putin the man is now in charge of protecting the security of the Putin regime.

And that bodes ill for the security of the Russian people.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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