Rosgvardiya is the largest internal security structure in Russia. It has been assigned independent functions (policing and intervention, critical infrastructure security, oversight of security contractors and private gun owners), and auxiliary functions in support of the other government departments dealing with security, including the Ministry of Defence (participation in combatting non-military threats and in border protection and territorial defence).
Widely divergent views have been expressed about Rosgvardiya since its establishment in 2016: for some it is the key to understanding the nature of the Russian regime, while for others it is a model structure of the state’s military organisation. Both views appear to be well founded. The ‘militarisation’ of the Russian internal security force has been progressing in parallel to its modernisation, re-arming and the enhancement of interoperability through joint drills. Externally, this serves to demonstrate the readiness and agility of the institutions of force, and internally it strengthens the force-based governance mechanisms of the state, its security and citizens under the pretext of preparations for extraordinary situations. This stabilises the current power elite in Russia.