Government rejects bill to introduce private military contractors in Russia - report

© Alexandr Kryazhev
The Russian cabinet has rejected a bill regulating the work of private military companies because of legal weaknesses and security fears, Izvestia reports, citing the author of the document.

The main sponsor of the bill, MP Gennady Nosovko of the center-left party Fair Russia was disappointed at its rejection. However, he has promised to rework the draft and submit it again in November. He added that he did not agree with many of the government’s conclusions regarding their review of his bill, but refused to go into detail.

He mentioned that if the reworked piece of legislation was rejected again, he would bypass the government and send it directly to the State Duma before the end of 2015.

READ MORE: Bill to allow private military contractors submitted to Russian parliament

Russia needs private military companies that would protect its interests in the Arctic and in the Middle East,” he told reporters.

He also mentioned that the use of private military companies would increase competitiveness, while also providing jobs for military and law enforcement veterans.

Nosovko agreed that strong government control was essential for private military contractors to function successfully. However, he noted that the government had not decided which agency or ministry would be responsible for keeping them in check, if the bill was signed into law.

Izvestia quoted an unnamed source in one of Russia’s “power agencies” who said the government had rejected the bill because a section concerning state regulation lacked detail.

The main question is which organization, the Defense Ministry or the Federal Security Service of the Interior Ministry, would control tens thousands of “Rambos” to make sure that they would not turn their arms against the state itself,” the source said.

The newspaper added that according to its information, the Defense Ministry and the Federal Security Service strongly opposed the very idea of private military companies in Russia because such organizations could potentially become free of state control and could even be used against the government. However, both the Defense Ministry and the FSB have declined to comment officially on the issue.

This is not the first time that lawmakers have tried to pass legislation, which would see the introduction of military contractors in Russia.

In July, two lawmakers from the parliamentary majority caucus United Russia said they had prepared a bill that would grant private military companies broad rights, but also give control over them to the Defense Ministry, which would use them as an immediate response to various threats.

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While Russia does not have private military companies, private security firms are abundant. This includes independent contractors and security branches of major corporations. According to the Interior Ministry’s statistics, there are currently over 60,000 such companies in the country with about 700,000 employees.

Those favoring the introduction of private military contractors in Russia say that if the legislation is eventually passed, it could create over 500,000 jobs.