Armored Vehicles to Blend with Traffic
15:31 31/01/2012 BALASHIKHA, Moscow region, January 31 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Interior Troops, whose duties include dispersing mass protests, will switch to a new type of armored vehicle that allows for swift deployment, the force’s commander said on Tuesday.
The majority of the Interior Troops’ armored personnel carriers are tracked vehicles that require special permission from traffic police to travel city streets. But a new, lighter and wheeled vehicle, Medved (“The Bear”), is currently in testing.
The force, which is part of the Interior Ministry, plans a gradual switch to a “new range of armored vehicles,” especially for protecting public peace and fighting mass riots, Interior Troops commander Nikolai Rogozhkin said at a meeting with military vehicle makers.
“We’re in our own country, in the cities, and to use huge vehicles for these purposes is just ineffective,” Rogozhkin said, adding that the APCs must be able to blend in with regular street traffic.
But he added the force would not completely abandon its tracked APCs in favor of Medved.
The Medved, whose first prototypes rolled off the assembly line in 2009, is currently in testing at an Interior Troops unit in Syktyvkar in northern Russia, the Interior Troops’ press service said.
Media and bloggers reported the Interior Ministry deploying several Punisher APCs in downtown Moscow in December following a police crackdown on a street protest against parliamentary elections, which critics denounce as flawed.
Hundreds of Interior Troops were deployed in the city for the sweeping protests later in December, when tens of thousands rallied against the government and the victorious United Russia party. But the troops saw no action, and no APCs were reported at the time.
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