Close Protection: The Politics of Guarding Russia's Rulers

Synopsis

The evolution of elite personal protection units--also known as "close protection" units--within the former Soviet Union is one of the least examined, yet crucial political developments in this region. Due to the often-violent environment in which the political leaders of this region now operate, the need for these special military units is obvious. This study examines the similarities between these the current units and those of the Soviet past and finds that, in spite of the highly unstable nature of politics in post-communist Russia, these elite units have not intervened to the degree that many might have expected. They have, however, played a significant political role throughout the region.