Anyone thinking about bringing the Maidan to Russia, beware! Citizen patrols are one step ahead of you.
Volunteer groups are reportedly being formed in some Russian regions to help authorities stave off the type of regime change led in part by the Maidan movement in Ukraine, named after the central Kyiv square that was the focal point of antigovernment protests starting last November.
The "anti-Maidan" volunteer groups will reportedly consist of 10 members each and will have a foreman to lead the group.
The volunteer groups are being set up by the newly established Anti-Maidan Council, a body that brings together veterans of Russian military and special forces, activists, and representatives of the Orthodox Church community.
According to Russian daily "Izvestia," the volunteer groups will start their activities this month.
The volunteers will work "in direct coordination" with law-enforcement agencies, "Izvestia" reports, quoting the organizers' letter to provincial governors.
The daily quotes Yevgeny Shabaev, the head of the council, as saying the volunteer groups will be first launched in regions bordering Ukraine, as well as in central provinces.
The next step is to organize them "in the whole country," Shabaev tells "Izvestia."
Shabaev didn't elaborate on volunteers' expected duties.
The Anti-Maidan Council's founders claimed last month that the body would concentrate on informing the Russian people of Western propaganda methods used to disrupt the constitutional order and overthrow the government.
The council has warned that antigovernment activists plan to organize street protests and actions to destabilize the situation around nationwide regional and local elections slated for September 14.
The council said it plans to organize alternative rallies and events to promote the interests of the Russian state.
Council members include a deputy head of a group uniting veterans of Russian military intelligence, a leader of the Union of Russian Orthodox citizens of Russia, a member of the South Cossack organization, a lawmaker, and a member of the Night Wolves motorcycle club.
According to Izvestia, the formation of the council's volunteer groups has prompted mixed feelings among Russian experts.
The daily quotes Vladimir Lepekhin, the head of the Moscow-based Institute of Eurasian Economic Union, as saying the creation of such groups is necessary and timely.
Lepekhin was quoted as saying the volunteers would "make the state response system more effective" by monitoring the political space and organizing alternative rallies.
However, Igor Morozov, a member of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, has told "Izvestia" that such an initiative could backfire and "provoke social discontent."
Morozov said there is no need to create special anti-Maidan groups because "the majority of the [Russian] population has a negative view about the Maidan" and that the "repeat of the Ukrainian scenario in Russia is out of the question."