Bill on National Guard must be voted down
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has introduced the draft law “On the Russian National Guard Troops” to the State Duma.
If the bill is passed, only one person in the country (even if he is the President) will use his own discretion to decide where and how to use force both domestically and internationally: Article 2 item 2 of the draft states that “bringing the National Guard Troops to accomplishment of the objectives with the use of weapons… is implemented on the decision of the President of the Russian Federation”. In keeping with Russian legal norms of course but the risk of making a wrong decision raises when it depends on one person.
The bill that was introduced has the features of doubling the law currently in force. Article 8 item 2 of the draft law runs that “The Powers of the National Guard Troops” include the “detention; entering (penetration) into residential and other premises, land and territory; cordon (blocking) around plots of land, premises, buildings and other facilities” and are regarded as “special powers” (enforcement measures). However, the police already has all these powers and if the President of the RF needs an additional army, which has super powers, this can mean only one thing: the authorities are trying to protect themselves from their own people.
The protest activity of the citizens has been growing of late, and the authorities are trying to protect themselves from exactly this activity with the new power structure. Article 9 of the bill, which determines the “General Powers of the National Guard Troops,” stipulates that the National Guard has the right “to demand that the citizens must respect public order … and stop unlawful actions”, etc. For us it is obvious that this paragraph is primarily aimed at preventing civil protests carried out within the limits of the law.
The adoption of Article 16 item 4 of the bill “On the right to use force, non-lethal weapons, firearms and the order of using them” which grants a National Guard member the right “not to warn about his intention to use physical force, non-lethal weapons and firearms” will become an outrageous act.
Of course, in accordance with the draft law, firearms and non-lethal weapons can be applied only “if a delay in their application poses an imminent threat to the life and health of a citizen or soldier the National Guard Troops.” But is there a guarantee that the National Guard soldiers are going to shoot without warning only in these cases, not when it “seems” necessary to them?
There is no doubt that under the current system, when the representatives of law enforcement prefer to hide any law violations committed in their environment from the public, the use of weapons without warning in the absence of sufficient grounds will be ignored as well, and the perpetrators will not be punished.
This bill threatens the peace, well-being, health and lives of the Russian citizens directly. We call the deputies to reject the draft law “On the National Guard Troops of the Russian Federation.” In case the bill is passed, all the deputies who voted for it will bear personal responsible for the bloodshed which can be provoked by the law.
Chair of the Moscow branch of YABLOKO