So yesterday we learned that Vladimir Putin's new National Guard force may be given legal permission to open fire on crowds in the event of mass unrest.
According to a statement from the State Duma's Defense Committee that was leaked to the media, in the event of terrorist attacks, hostage crises, mass unrest, or attacks on state property "the risk of harming random individuals would be justified."
So now, not only does Russia now have a Praetorian Guard that answers to Putin alone.
Not only will this elite force be led by Putin's former bodyguard and longtime crony Viktor Zolotov, one of the most hawkish members of the president's inner circle -- and let's face it, that's a pretty high bar.
Now Putin's personal army will apparently be permitted to fire its weapons on crowds of civilians.
For years now, Putin and his cronies have been droning on about the specter of revolution and the threat of fifth columnists in Russia.
And we mostly dismissed this as just a cynical ploy to maximize their power.
But now the Putin regime appears to believe that the threat is actually real, and it is putting together a tool kit to crush it brutally.
This week began with Investigative Committee chief Aleksandr Bastrykin making the clearest call yet for a restoration of all-out Soviet-style repression.
And it is ending with the Duma proposing that Putin's Praetorian Guard be allowed to fire its weapons on unarmed civilians.
Despite its bluster, this regime is clearly frightened. And that just makes it all the more dangerous for its own people and the rest of the world.
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