Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the creation of powerful new National Guard security force, a move analysts said could be aimed at warding off unrest over the country's economic crisis.
Putin said in a televised meeting with interior minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and other security officials that the force would merge the country's interior ministry troops with riot police and swat teams.
The Kremlin said that the Naional Guard will answer directly to Putin and tackle terrorism and organized crime, but did not specify how many troops would be included in the new structure.
The force will be led by interior ministry troop boss Viktor Zolotov, who previously headed Putin's own security detachment.
Analysts say the move comes as the Kremlin strives to bolster its security apparatus ahead of parliamentary elections in September in the face of a crippling economic crisis authorities fear could stir unrest.
Putin warned in February that security forces should remain vigilant as "foreign enemies" were seeking to disrupt Russia's upcoming parliamentary elections.
Russian leaders have consistently voiced fears of a western conspiracy to oust Putin through anti-government protests.
Putin also announced on Tuesday that Russia's federal migration service and its drug control service will be folded into the interior ministry.