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27 Jun, 2014 15:01

Russian 'Blackwater'? MPs call for local security industry loophole

Russian 'Blackwater'? MPs call for local security industry loophole

Nationalist party LDPR deputies have drafted a law on private military companies to the regional legislature of North Russia’s Pskov. If approved, the draft will be forwarded to the federal parliament.

The authors of the document claim it was born out of the necessity for capable and specialized commercial organizations to enforce national interests in cases when international politics or law prevent the government from using regular military forces.

The crisis in Ukraine in which the provisionary government in Kiev is actively using Western military contractors in its interests, demonstrate the acute necessity for similar institutions in Russia,” reads the explanatory note published by the Pskov regional legislature.

According to the lawmakers, there are over 450 private military contractors in the world, with 70 percent of the services provided by the US and British companies. These firms solve many foreign policy problems for Western governments, and at the same time bring additional taxes to their national economies.

Representatives of the Liberal Democratic Party hold that Russia has a tremendous potential for expansion in the international market of private military contracts. The lack of proper legislation not only prevents this from happening, but also leads to the situation when some events inside Russia, such as international sports competitions, are serviced by Western military companies.

The prepared draft suggests introducing amendments to the current Criminal Code that directly bans the organizing of or participating in non-state armed groups. They also suggest changes to the Federal Law on Weapons that would allow military contractors to buy and use firearms and various items of military hardware.

The deputies want the Federal Security Service to license private military firms and control all of their activities. According to the sponsors of the bill, this would make the contractors controllable and accountable for their actions and create conditions for further development of the sector.

Apart from the economic and political benefits of the bill, the lawmakers point to its social component. The private military companies could be manned by veterans of the Russian military forces, law enforcement and state security structures. This step would help people who leave the service and provide them with means, without additional burdens to the state budget.

A broader program on the development of private military contractors would create workplaces and stimulate the development of the national military-industrial complex, the LDPR deputies state.

In comments to the RIA Novosti news agency, the head of the State Duma’s committee for defense, MP Frants Klintsevich (United Russia), said that the law was timely and needed. However, he emphasized that the regional legislature could not pass the law by itself and added that United Russia was preparing its own bill on private military companies together with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior.

The MP declined to give any deadline for preparation of United Russia’s draft.