Expert: Private armies way to redistribute resources in Russia

Karmo Tüür.
Karmo Tüür. Source: ERR/Vikerraadio

Russia is seeing the emergence of new private armies. Political analyst Karmo Tüür said that private armies make it possible to redistributed large sums of money and equipment with impunity.

Russia is currently home to the Wagner private army, as well as that of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, while there is news of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and even governors creating their own private armed forces.

Tüür explained that private militaries are a gray area in Russian legislation and no clear line separating a security company from a private army has been defined.

"The only thing that is clear is that serving as a mercenary, especially one involved in a military conflict, is illegal. It is still prohibited under Russian law. Attempts to push legislation that would allow this aspect [private armies] to be regulated through the State Duma have been made at least since 2012. Recent attempts are from 2018 and last year. But the initiative has not gotten anywhere as signals from the very top suggest it is unnecessary, that there is no demand," the expert said.

He suggested that private armies are a great way to redistribute resources.

"The reason is that it constitutes a great opportunity for redistribution of resources. Because the old resource redistribution system is clearly falling apart, private military units make it possible to move colossal amounts of money, military equipment and guns, with no one getting punished as there is simply no legal framework for it," he explained.

Tüür also said that private armies are trying to prepare for the situation in Russia spiraling out of control.

"They are maintaining readiness. The Wagner group and Kadyrov's private force are the most visible, standing by should things take a turn for the kinetic inside Russia, which is when they will have a relatively well-oiled and loyal resource with which to intervene in processes," he said.

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Editor: Merili Nael, Marcus Turovski

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