In a surprise move, Russian media reports that President Vladimir Putin has ordered the creation of a Russian national guard. Officially, the new national guard will combat terrorism and organized crime and will take over riot and SWAT duties from the Interior Ministry's troops. But some speculation is that Putin wants to shore up forces close to him.
Some observers believe the guard is being formed in advance of the upcoming parliamentary elections, the first of their kind since the 2011 elections, which sparked political unrest.
Others speculate that Putin is forming his own personal army that would remain loyal to him in the event of a coup attempt. Most significant, Putin has placed in charge of the new national guard Viktor Zolotov.
Zolotov is Putin's former bodyguard and is reportedly one of the president's most trusted loyalists. Simultaneously, Zolotov was appointed to Russia's Security Council.
Is Putin bolstering forces close to him for protection against a potential US-instigated coup? Putin sees the instability all around him, largely instigated by the US and has to wonder if he will be an eventual target. He must wonder who he can trust in the current military and protection services that surround him.
The leak of the Panama Papers is unlikely to sit well with Putin since he is the most prominent world leader linked to a shell company as a result of the papers. Is the leak one more US move to soften the support of Putin amongst the Russian people?