Russia’s lower house, the State Duma, has passed in the first reading a bill that allows state energy corporations Gazprom and Transneft to maintain extensive armed security forces. This reflects a steady rollback of previous efforts to cut down on the proliferation of private security forces in Russia but may also reflect an interest in moving into the global private military services industry.
The 1990s saw a massive expansion in the private security sector as well as the emergence of virtual corporate armies. However, since Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, there has been a steady campaign to consolidate and control the non-state security sector. The private security industry, which is worth over $7 billion a year, has far fewer rights to use lethal weapons, while corporate protection services are similarly limited. Continue reading