Former Wagner mercenaries are willing to train Rostov militia how to disperse rallies before the presidential election. The regional government has not yet approved the project, as the 161.ru publication reported on September 26.
The Oplot movement has begun recruiting people to train as a reserve for security forces, including Rosgvardiya, police, and the army. The organization has informed 161.ru that they are not part of the territorial defense system.
According to Valery Bova, the leader of Oplot, the organization recruits those who have not been accepted by the military recruitment centers, but who want to help "protect our borders." The training that began in August 2023 and is conducted by Wagner instructors aims at providing support to security forces during the 2024 presidential elections.
"In the run-up to the presidential election, [opponents] may try to incite protest actions. Accordingly, we realize that protest actions will do harm and will divert the attention of our forces, the head of the region, and the head of state to these destructive processes," Bova said.
According to him, the Rostov regional government has disapproved of the idea. They decided that the former mercenaries were counterproductive in their activities and initiated an inspection of Oplot by the police. Although, as Bova says, law enforcers have found no violations in the organization’s work, some of Oplot members have left it in the wake of police interference.
The Rostov region does not have territorial defense units, unlike the Oryol, Belgorod, Kursk, Voronezh, and Pskov regions. Currently, the Belgorod territorial defense is being trained to work at the elections. Occasionally, it is used to bump up attendance at mass events organized by the local government.