Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Whether it's because he's saber-rattling with other superpowers on the world stage,

  • or making his critics turn up dead, plenty of people would like to see Vladimir Putin

  • - the controversial President of the Russian Federation - get a taste of his own medicine.

  • That's why a man like him needs world-class bodyguards, and a complex and well-organized

  • security service to direct them.

  • But considering we're talking about Putin here, a man whose leadership and lifestyle

  • can generously be calledeccentric”, it was never going to be that simple.

  • When it comes to him, you're always going to find hidden layers of intrigue, espionage,

  • corruption, and even some good, old-fashioned murder.

  • And today, we're not only gonna talk about the shady private groups that defend Putin's

  • physical safety within Russia's borders - we're also gonna talk about the even-more-sinister

  • secret groups that defend Putin's political interests abroad.

  • Grab yourself a warm glass of Polonium-laced tea, and let's get started.

  • In a wider sense, the government body responsible for keeping all Russian political big-wigs

  • safe is the Federalnaya sluzhba okhrany, or Federal Protective Service in English.

  • The US doesn't have a department that's a one-to-one parallel to the FSO, but the

  • closest comparison is somewhere between the Secret Service and its parent department,

  • Homeland Security.

  • The largest difference being, under Putin's heavily centralized Russian government, the

  • FSO has consolidated a truly frightening amount of political power for a security agency.

  • While the US has checks and balances enshrined by the Constitution, Russia isn't all that

  • concerned with the separation of powers.

  • Checks and balances just get in the way of what Vladimir Putin wants, and within Russia,

  • what Putin wants, Putin gets.

  • The FSO has essentially no oversight, and it has the legal authority to perform warrantless

  • searches, surveillance, and wiretaps, make unsubstantiated arrests, and boss around other

  • state agencies.

  • Through its various political civil wars with fellow agencies and departments, the FSO has

  • been able to gain influence over things like the national budget, essentially allowing

  • billions of rubles to pass through them into contractors of their choice.

  • The FSO also allegedly performs a number of extremely weird tasks for a security agency,

  • like performing secret sociological studies on the Russian people for the government's

  • internal use.

  • And beyond that, it even has access to the legendaryBlack box”, which is essentially

  • the Russian answer to the nuclear football - the nuclear briefcase that holds the keys

  • to armageddon.

  • So you've probably gathered right now that, in addition to making sure none of Putin's

  • many enemies get the jump on him, the FSO is a terrifyingly powerful agency.

  • And ironically, the FSO is actually way moresecretthan the US Secret Service.

  • Exact numbers on things like the FSO's budget, and its total number of employees, are highly

  • classified Russian state secrets.

  • Putin himself is ex-KGB; to be all cloak and dagger is practically second nature to him,

  • so it should really come as no surprise that the organization keeping him safe operates

  • without transparency.

  • Speaking of the KGB, it probably won't surprise you that the origins of the FSO are closely

  • tied to this infamous Cold War spy agency.

  • The FSO was founded in 1996 by former KGB General and Boris Yeltsin bodyguard, Alexander

  • Korzhakov - a notoriously shady and power-hungry figure himself, who, during his tenure, constantly

  • tried to parlay his security position into political influence.

  • He wrote in his memoir that he and the FSO effectively ran the country for several years,

  • and on that front, not a great deal has changed.

  • The main difference is that Vladimir Putin is now at the top of the pyramid.

  • But just below Putin on this pyramid for many years was the supervisor of the FSO, and leader

  • of Putin's personal security team, General Viktor Zolotov.

  • Unsurprisingly for a Putin devotee, General Zolotov is kind of a weirdo - going by the

  • nicknameGeneralissimo”, and being the subject of numerous corruption charges and

  • international sanctions for his illegal conduct.

  • He was previously the chief of a Russian security detachment known informally as theMen

  • in Black”, because of their love of black suits and sunglasses.

  • These sinister G-men also apparently even rocked heavy weaponry like rocket launchers

  • while on the job.

  • And in one particularly strange incident, Zolotov challenged one of his detractors to

  • an actual duel, saying that he would makegood, juicy mince-meat of him.”

  • You can probably see why Putin took a shine to the guy.

  • Like a mob boss, or former US President Donald Trump, Putin tends to fill key roles with

  • people he likes rather than the people who are best suited to the job.

  • So, what else do we know about the FSO and its mysterious activities?

  • Unofficial estimations believe that the FSO has a private military reserve of around 20,000

  • troops, with additional thousands of plainclothes and civilian operatives.

  • The FSO is a vast umbrella department for a huge number of sub-agencies, including an

  • elite military group called the Kremlin Regiment, also known as the Presidential Regiment - whose

  • main duties include, as you can probably guess, the protection of the president of Russia.

  • Another incredibly important group under the banner of the FSO is the Presidential Security

  • Service, or the SBP in its native Russian.

  • When you picture the guys physically standing around Putin when he's delivering a presidential

  • address or pulling another bizarre publicity stunt, these are the guys you're picturing.

  • You might see them dressed like Zolotov-style Men In Black, or hidden in civilian wear among

  • the crowd, but wherever Putin goes, the SBP are bound to follow.

  • If you've learned anything in this video so far, it's that all the security agencies

  • tasked with guarding Putin have some of his trademark secrecy and corruption.

  • It's believed by some that the SBP were in Putin's deep pockets even when he wasn't

  • officially in power.

  • Putin's first two terms lasted from 1999 to 2008, before the title was briefly taken

  • by Dmitry Medvedev between 2008 and 2012.

  • Rumor has circulated that during Medvedev's presidency, the SBP were keeping tabs on Medvedev

  • on Putin's behalf.

  • Though if you ask Putin about this, you may find that you'llaccidentallyfall

  • down an elevator shaft onto some bullets in the near future.

  • You'll probably be delighted to learn that the SBP was under the command of our good

  • friend Generalissimo Zolotov for thirteen years, though it's now apparently headed

  • by the more secretive Commander Alexey Rubezhnoy.

  • The SBP is believed to have somewhere between 2000 and 9000 non-uniformed personnel, though

  • unsurprisingly, there are no official numbers on this.

  • What we know about the day-to-day operations of the SBP, and the methods and equipment

  • they tend to employ, is extremely minimal.

  • Though there is evidence that, as of 2016, the Russian SPS Pistol became their official

  • sidearm.

  • Like the proverbial Russian nesting doll, there's also a smaller agency within the

  • SBP known as the Psychological Security Department.

  • This sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi dystopia, but it's actually an

  • intelligence agency that analyzes all available intel about potential risks to presidential

  • safety.

  • Okay, maybe it is just something out of a sci-fi dystopia.

  • It's also a real meeting of the minds, as it consolidates experts from Federal internal

  • security, military intelligence, and foreign intelligence into one super-branch.

  • But how they actually employ this information to protect Putin from potential threats is

  • - you guessed it!

  • - beyond classified.

  • But hey, as much as we like to mention the rampant corruption and shady dealings of these

  • various security agencies, it isn't easy to be a bodyguard for a major political leader

  • - especially Vladimir Putin.

  • If you're expected to fight off would-be assassins, or even take a bullet for your

  • President, it's fair to say that you deserve to be well-compensated for your work.

  • And, to Putin's credit, he has compensated his bodyguards extremely well...with rampant

  • corruption and shady dealings, of course.

  • This is the story of the Rublevka Incident, a scandal that intimately involves both Putin

  • and his security forces.

  • As we mentioned earlier, most of the people in key positions orbiting Putin were career

  • Putin toadies, willing to show unflinching loyalty to their president.

  • As a result, those who had proved this loyalty were pretty much guaranteed lifetime appointments

  • in Putin's administration.

  • Many that had once guarded him were given cushy high-power political jobs, as well as

  • complementary land and money.

  • The three most significant examples of this happening were with Oleg Klimentiev, Alexei

  • Dyumin, and of course, the one and only Viktor Zolotov.

  • The problem with giving people land is that it doesn't exactly grow on trees.

  • And while Russia is a massive country, for valuable land to be given, it first has to

  • be taken.

  • This is where an area known as Rublevka came into play.

  • Back in 1924, Soviet military officer Felix Dzerzhinsky - also known asIron Felix

  • - decided that their new burgeoning superpower of a country needed more food.

  • That's why he founded the massive Gorki-2 poultry plant on some land outside of Moscow,

  • where thousands of hard-working Russians were employed to rear meat and eggs for the Motherland.

  • Hundreds of Soviet farm workers settled in the area, as the plant grew and consumed the

  • surrounding villages.

  • Workers like this were Soviet Russia's backbone, having dutifully served the country's industrial

  • rise and fought for it in both world wars.

  • For decades, the land these workers called home was seen as dirt-cheap farming territory,

  • until Putin himself settled nearby, causing the real estate value to skyrocket.

  • Then, when it became time for Putin to give his old security buddies some presidential

  • handouts, he decided that this land would be the perfect tribute.

  • Generations of farm workers and war veterans got shafted in the process, as land they believed

  • was theirs was divided up and given to Putin's ex-guards.

  • Legal battles over this land are still being fought today, but given the massive amount

  • of power Putin has over every branch of the Russian government, things aren't looking

  • optimistic for the little guy on this one.

  • So now that we've covered the secretive, glorified Putin henchmen that make up his

  • domestic security personnel, who are the shady private military personnel carrying out his

  • will overseas, with essentially no oversight on the international stage?

  • That dubious honor goes to the Wagner Group, a private military contractor sometimes referred

  • to as Putin's private army.

  • The guys doing his dirty work on Russian turf are already sus as all hell, but the mercenaries

  • under the employ of the Wagner Group are a whole different level.

  • To give you some context, this group of shady Russian mercs was founded by Putin-aligned

  • Russian businessman, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who works in the food service industry when not

  • allegedly funding military operations.

  • You can tell they're a group after Putin's heart, because they spend a lot of time helping

  • to prop up Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, and have allegedly been involved with the murder of

  • journalists in Central Africa.

  • Seeing as Russia has a pretty sizable army - fifth largest in the world, in fact - you

  • may be wondering, why does Putin need a much smaller group of private mercenaries on hand?

  • The answer is simple: Much like how he gets his Russian security henchmen to do much of

  • his dirty work domestically, the Wagner Group gives him plausible deniability from certain

  • overseas activities.

  • Getting the actual Russian army involved would often cause a messy international incident,

  • but mercenaries not officially tied to him don't have the same political ramifications.

  • Technically speaking, mercenary activities are actually illegal in Russia, which is another

  • reason the Wagner Group is planted firmly under Putin's thumb: If they don't do

  • his bidding, he can easily have them locked up.

  • Think of it as a gentleman's agreement, about the world's least gentlemanly activities.

  • As we mentioned at the start of the video, Vladimir Putin is a man with a hell of a lot

  • of enemies, and there are some very good reasons for that - he's corrupt, militarily aggressive,

  • and is one of the top purveyors of political assassination in the developed world.

  • It's no surprise, then, that his private security, at home and abroad, are equally

  • covert, cut-throat, and corrupt individuals.

  • They're the kind of security you'd need other security to protect you from - and frankly,

  • that's just how Putin likes it.

  • Now check out “A Day in the Life of PutinandIs Vladimir Putin the Richest Man Alive?”

  • for more crazy facts about this eccentric Russian President!

Whether it's because he's saber-rattling with other superpowers on the world stage,

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 putin russian security vladimir putin vladimir shady

How Insane is Putin's Private Security

  • 5 0
    Summer posted on 2021/06/24
Video vocabulary