Pro-Putin youth group to form counter-protest squads

The youth wing of Russia’s dominant party says it will begin training groups of activists to mobilize quickly to conduct counterdemonstrations to opposition protests.

Denis Davydov, leader of the Molodaya Gvardia (Young Guards), was quoted by the Dozhd TV channel Wednesday that the aim is to have 100 or 200 people who can “come out on the streets in an hour or two to express different opinions.”

He said that “If the opposition begins to throw stones, we don’t have the right to run away. We won’t throw them ourselves, but we’ll not allow anyone to be hurt.”

Dozhd said that the groups will monitor social media and other sources to anticipate protest gatherings.

Molodya Gvardia is the youth wing of the United Russia party, President Vladimir Putin’s power base.

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