Lawmakers propose incorporating Russia’s National Guard into video games to improve its image

Russian State Duma’s Deputies have proposed to incorporate the image of Russia’s National Guard into computer games with the goal of enhancing its reputation, reports Russian newspaper Kommersant, citing the letter of the head of the Duma Information Policy Committee Alexander Khinshtein sent to the director of the National Guard Viktor Zolotov.

“The use of such forms of media communication [computer games] with the aim of promoting patriotic values, forming a positive image of the National Guard, and glorifying the agency and its history could have a significance of extreme importance,” the letter says.

The Russia’s National Guard press office confirmed receiving the proposal and stated that “the initiative is being studied”. In addition, the project would be carried out through grants and not using the agency’s funding, the letter specifies.

The image of the National Guard will be promoted either by creating a new computer game dedicated to the agency, or by incorporating characters based on National Guard’s soldiers into an existing game—for example, multiplayer shooter Caliber. Both of these options were presented during a State Duma committee meeting.

Popularising Russia’s National Guard with the help of computer games is an idea that has been discussed for the last six months, clarifies Kommersant’s source: “participants of one of the meetings proposed that VK (Russia’s main social media - translator’s note) create a separate game about the National Guard but the company only agreed to provide export support.”

Alexey Goreslavsky, the head of a non-profit organisation “Institute of Internet Development”, told Kommersant that he considers this idea effective. “Such incorporation is a worldwide practice. Let’s remember the game SWAT where a special police unit neutralises criminals and asocial elements. The thing that stands out is not the game-play but the missions: you come to realise what these people do, the ins and outs of their job,” he explained.

On the other hand, the incorporation of Russia’s National Guard images into the world of computer games could be a risk for game studios, said a Kommersant source in the computer game market. “Even an attempt to incorporate the agency into an existing game could instantly lead to sanctions both on the company and on the individual developers,” he added.

“It’s concerning that games are more popular than books and music,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with project participants of the “Russia—country of opportunities” platform back in April.

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