Putin readies new 350,000-strong National Guard to 'combat subversive activity'

Vladimir Putin’s “National Guard” is undergoing its first readiness tests, as the newly-formed internal security corps gears up to quell potential unrest ahead of this year’s elections.

The exercises will allow the estimated 350,000 new troops to “practice their readiness to combat subversive activity and reconnaissance groups, terrorist and extremist formations,” the force’s press office said.  

But critics of Mr Putin’s government have claimed they will be used to repress dissent.

The bulk of the soldiers were previously part of other internal security forces and the creation of the Guard in 2016. 

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