Russia: February 18, 2000


  President Putin, perhaps nostalgic for the way things were run during his long career as a KGB secret agent, has reintroduced secret police units into the army. This was a procedure introduced by the communists during the Soviet period. The secret police (KGB) units were to insure the loyalty of the troops, and to insure that the soldiers did what they were ordered to do. The new FSB (the KGB's successor) units will not use one communist era procedure; the "Zampolit" (political officer.) In Soviet times, every unit commander had a deputy who represented the communist party and could veto any of the commanders decisions. The Zampolit was responsible for troop loyalty and political correctness. Sort of a communist chaplain. The Russian army has also reintroduced chaplains, something that the communists did away with from 1918 into the 1990s.


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