I was recently asked how Russians would handle ethnic riots.  Normally, the regular police would be the first level of defense, but pretty soon the Mobile Special Militia Detachment (OMON) would be called in as they are the regular riot police.  I recently came across a video showing how special riot-suppression forces of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) train for that kind of events.  Though the OMON deal typically with civilians riots and the FSIN with the much more dangerous people incarcerated in Russian jails or labor camps, there tactics would be similar.  See for yourself this recent FSIN training video:

The next level up would be to call in the newly formed Russian National Guard or the Independent Operational Purpose Division (ODON) who have enough power to conduct independent military operations.

My point?  Russia has a full set of instruments to crush any level of violence inside her borders, from small local riots to a regional insurrection.  Not only that, but on each level Russian authorities are fully capable of bringing down a level of violence against the rioters which would be quite unthinkable in Europe.  Careful here, I am NOT saying that they necessarily would do that, not at all.  In fact, riot control in the USA and in Europe is usually much more heavy-handed because these are “official democracies” so they get to behave like dictatorships, whereas Russia is an official “authoritarian regime” and therefore most exercise the utmost caution when dealing with riots.  Which is all fine and dandy until things really get out of hand, at which point the Russians will bring in whatever amount of violence needed to restore law and order.  Here is the key thing: everybody knows that, including the various ethnic minorities, foreign workers and refugees.

There are *a lot* of ethnic gangs, immigrants and assorted refugees in Russia, and during the 1990s some of them behaved in a way very similar to what we see in Europe today.  So Russia learned that lesson the hard way.  This is why such events don’t happen in Russia anymore.

The Saker

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