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Podcast: Zolotov's Army

National Guard Commander Viktor Zolotov and his troops. (file photo)
National Guard Commander Viktor Zolotov and his troops. (file photo)

It's been just over a year since Putin established the National Guard as a domestic security force and placed it in the hands of his uber-loyal former bodyguard Viktor Zolotov.

And in that time, the guard has quickly taken on a mystique and a menacing aura, one that its top commanders have eagerly encouraged.

It has been compared to Ivan the Terrible's Oprichniki and Josef Stalin's NKVD -- and not just by its critics.

As rumblings of protest gather steam and as the elite gets increasingly restless, what role will the National Guard play as Russia enters what appears to be a tumultuous political season?

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we'll look at the National Guard, its controversial leader, how they fit into the constellation of Russia's security services, and what we should expect from them.

Joining me is co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, head of its Center for European Security, and a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations; and military analyst Aleksandr Golts, editor in chief of Yezhednevny Zhurnal.


Power Vertical Podcast: Zolotov's Army
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About This Blog

The Power Vertical
The Power Vertical

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or


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