Military march in Russian border town of Nikel, Murmansk region. Photo: Atle Staalesen

Russian governors could soon start building regional armies

New legislation opens up for establishment of regional military companies that will be in charge of "guarding the state border in times of war."
July 27, 2023


The amendments that were announced by Member of the State Duma Andrei Kartapolov on the 25th of July will allow Russian governors to build their own private military companies.

According to Karapolov, the military formations will be “specialised state unitary companies that on the decision of the Russian President can be established to protect public order.” They will also be used to “protect state borders in times of mobilisation, as well as in times of martial law and war,” Kartapolov explained.

General Andrei Kartapolov is Chair of the State Duma Committee for Defense. He was previously in charge of the Armed Forces’ so-called Military-Political Department. Photo:

Andrei Kartapolov chairs the State Duma Committee on Defense. He is also General in the Russian Armed Forces and was in charge of Army’s so-called Military-Political Department ahead of his election to parliament in 2021.

The new legislation comes as part of controversial amendments in the Russian Law on Draft Age.

It is not clear how the new military formations will interact with Russia’s existing forces, among them the Armed Forces, the FSB and the National Guard (Rosgvardia).

But the new regional units will be armed and allowed to use force. And they will “interact with the Interior Ministry, the FSB and Ministry of Defence to protect the state border, fight illegal armed groups and combat foreign sabotage and intelligence formations,” the Russian version of the Barents Observer reports.

In addition, they will reportedly be commissioned to take action in issues of public law and order, which could mean that they can be applied to repress protest actions. They will also engage in fighting drones, in the air, under water, as well as unmanned surface vehicles.


The formations will have extensive authorities and face little consequences for their actions. Reportedly, members of the new forces will bear no responsibility for inflicted damage of moral, physical and material character, and citizens will have no right to oppose their demands.

According to Kartapolov, the law is “made for a big war, and the smell of such a big war can already be scented.”

The new legislation comes into force on the 1st of January 2024.





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