Sunday, September 16, 2007


Thank goodness the Cold War is over and the Russians are our friends now.

What's that? The news? No, I haven't really been watching the international news why? I'm sorry, did you say "the Father of All Bombs?"

It's not the Russian bombs that worry me... It's the commandos...

Now, I'm no expert on the modern Russian military, but I know enough to provide an overview of this interesting bunch. "Spetsnaz" is an inclusive term tha is a Russian acronym of two words roughly translating as "Special Purpose." An equivalent term for us in the West might be "SWAT." Many different units in the Russian military, law enforcement, and intelligence organizations carry the designator "Spetsnaz." There is no single "Spetsnaz" unit. Some Spetsnaz units are covert, black ops types like our own Delta or SEALs. Others are assault formations like our Rangers. Others are police teams with paramilitary roles. These aren't just SWAT teams, but whole battalions of civil troops deployed as border patrols or riot police, or anti-terror squads.

What they all share is an ability to blow stuff up and the lack of subtlty that is a Russian hallmark. Most Spetsnaz feel a sledgehammer will do, even if a scalpel might be ideal.

From deep in the Cold War emerges a tradition of presenting Spetsnaz as bezerk supermen and brutal thugs with extensive training. As with any legend there is some truth to some stories... but how much truth, and which stories?

Reportedly, the Spetsnaz are all issued a very solid entrenching tool and are taught to use this mini-shovel for all kinds of survival purposes. Graduation in this educational block comes when the Spetsnaz soldier is dumped into a pit with wild dogs with only his e-tool for defense. Either the man or the dogs leave the pit.

Spetsnaz are said to be martial arts masters of secret traditional Russian techniques of unarmed combat: Sambo, and a little something known today as "Systema." Plenty of propaganda photos of high-kicking Russiand, and board-breaking stunts exist. Since the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, a slew of Russian Emigres have opened martial arts schools in the West claiming to share these once secret techniques.

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