Warriors - internationalists, veterans of military operations and local conflicts - almost every Soviet and Russian generation had its own war or wars. At the end of the 1940s, the Soviet Union entered the Cold War phase with the United States and other countries of the “capitalist West”. The main lines of confrontation between the USSR and the USA were in the “third world” - the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Soviet Union money weapons, technology supported friendly regimes in developing countries, but not in all cases such support was sufficient. People were needed - from the most experienced military advisers and technical specialists to ordinary soldiers, who would provide protection of Soviet interests abroad in arms.
The war in Afghanistan is the most famous and large-scale example of the participation of the Soviet army in hostilities outside the country. For all the time of the Afghan war, 525,5 was attended by thousands of soldiers and officers of the Soviet Army, 95 thousands of soldiers and employees of the KGB border troops and state security agencies, internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the police. Thousands of civil servants have been through fighting in Afghanistan and around 21.
According to official figures, the Afghan war cost the Soviet people 15 052 dead, 53 753 injured, 417 missing. Very young guys died in the distant Afghan mountains, were returning home with severe injuries. To many, especially those who did not differ in a strong psyche, the war distorted all their lives, even if they were physically healthy - deep psychological trauma affected. It was then that the term “Afghan syndrome” came into use, similar to the “Vietnamese syndrome” experienced by American soldiers who took part in the war in Vietnam.
Many of the warriors - the Afghans were never able to adapt to civilian life and died at home, in their homeland, in the maelstrom of the “hard nineties”, or simply “went to the bottom”, looking for oblivion in alcohol and drugs. Although, of course, there were much more of those who still found the strength and courage to live on - to serve or to work honestly “in a civilian life”. It was the warriors - the Afghans - officers and warrant officers, contract soldiers often saved the situation during the years of the First and Second Chechen companies, trained the underaged young soldiers. Until now, many Afghans in the ranks - in the army, police, security agencies, other security agencies.
But not only about Afghans are we talking about when we remember the Soviet soldiers - internationalists and Russian military personnel who take part in hostilities outside the country. Almost simultaneously with the Afghan war, Soviet officers and soldiers took part in hostilities on the territory of Angola. Here, in the former Portuguese colony in the south-west of the African continent, after the proclamation of independence, a fierce civil war broke out. The Soviet Union supported the MPLA party oriented toward cooperation with Moscow, which came to power in the country. In turn, the UNITA rebel army, supported by the United States, South Africa and China, fought against it.
The young army of the People’s Republic of Angola had an acute shortage of military specialists of various specialties. The Soviet Union supplied military equipment, but there was no one to service it - most of the partisans yesterday did not have military specialties. Therefore, in 1975, Soviet military advisers, instructors, and technical specialists began to arrive in Angola — from ordinary soldiers and sailors to senior and senior officers. The contribution of the Soviet Union to the victory of the MPLA in the civil war was once said by the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who noted that without the Soviet help the Angolan government had no chance. By the way, Cuba sent a 15-strong military contingent to Angola. Unlike Afghanistan, the participation of Soviet troops in the hostilities in Africa was practically not advertised. The 10th Main Directorate of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces (Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation) was engaged in the organization and leadership of Soviet troops in Angola, through which through Angola in 1975-1991. 10 Soviet troops passed, including 985 generals and admirals, 107 officers, more than 7211 warrant officers, midshipmen, foremen, sergeants and privates, as well as workers and employees of the Soviet Army and the Navy fleet.
The main part of the Soviet military personnel stationed in Angola was made up of specialists in the combat use and maintenance of equipment and weapons - officers and warrant officers. In Angola, served pilots, staff workers. With each Angolan unit there was a Soviet officer - a military adviser or several military advisers. The participation of Soviet military experts and advisers in military operations in a distant country, where practically no one knew Russian, required the active use of military translators. Translators from Portuguese were sent to Angola. Among them, by the way, was the current head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, a graduate of the philological faculty of the Leningrad University, who spoke Portuguese, was sent to Angola in 1985 year. He served as a senior translator for a group of advisers to the Navy in Luanda, then a senior translator for a group of anti-aircraft missile forces in Namib province.
During the Angolan War, Soviet warships with marine units and combat swimmers were aboard the Angolan coast. Soviet sailors participated in the training of personnel of the Angolan Navy. Since the UNITA grouping did not have its own naval forces, the main source of threat to the sea for government forces was the South African Navy, and it was precisely to neutralize this enemy that the Soviet sailors who were on ships off the Angolan coast were oriented.
According to official figures, the losses of the USSR during the years of the war in Angola amounted to 54 people, including 45 officers, 5 ensigns, 2 conscripts and two employees. Ensign Nikolai Pestretsov in 1981 was captured during the battle of Quito-Kvanavale and spent about one and a half years in prison in South Africa before he was rescued from captivity.
In addition to Angola, Soviet military experts and advisers were in another former Portuguese colony, Mozambique, where they also helped the local left government fight the rebels. Since the scale of the hostilities in Mozambique was less significant, less Soviet troops passed through this country than through Angola. But all the same, there were no losses - 6 people died, 2 died of diseases.
In 1977-1979 Soviet soldiers took part in the so-called. The Ogaden War erupted between Somalia and Ethiopia. In it, the USSR supported the young revolutionary government of Ethiopia, in whose assistance military equipment was sent, as well as specialists for its maintenance. As in Angola, there was a large Cuban military contingent in Ethiopia - about 18 thousands of servicemen, but this did not mean that there was no need for Soviet specialists. The operational group of the USSR Ministry of Defense in Ethiopia, which was directly involved in planning military operations, was headed by First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces of the USSR Armed Forces, Army General Vasily Ivanovich Petrov, an experienced military leader and participant in the Great Patriotic War, who later received the title of Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1983.
During the fighting on the Horn of Africa, 33 Soviet troops were killed. These were mainly military transport personnel aviationkilled in aircraft accidents, as well as military advisers, translators, signalmen. Thanks to Soviet and Cuban military assistance, Ethiopia managed to win the Ogaden War.
In addition to Africa, the Soviet military personnel from 1967 were in the territory of South Yemen - the Democratic People’s Republic of Yemen. It was equipped with a Soviet naval base, which is only from 1976 to 1979. took the ship xnumx. The total number of Soviet soldiers serving from 123 to 1968 in South Yemen was 1991 people, while military personnel in all this time visited the whole Democratic Republic of Yemen XIIUM (according to official figures) people. As in Africa, there were mainly military specialists and advisers in South Yemen — officers and warrant officers. Soviet military specialists were also present in the neighboring Yemen Arab Republic. Already in 5245, the XRNUMX of Soviet servicemen was in the YAR.
In Egypt, Soviet soldiers were at the beginning of the 1970s, and not only military advisers were sent to this North African country. Already in March, 1970 arrived in Egypt by the 1,5 of thousands of Soviet military personnel of anti-aircraft missile forces and about 200 fighter aviation pilots. By the end of 1970, in Egypt there were already about 20 thousand Soviet soldiers, sailors and officers who served on warships in the Suez Canal zone, in anti-aircraft missile divisions and in fighter aircraft. The losses of the Soviet troops during the war of Egypt against Israel amounted to more than 40 military personnel.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union preferred not to advertise the participation of its military personnel in hostilities in Africa and the Middle East. In most cases, military records of combatants did not contain information about these dramatic pages in their biographies. “They are not there” - this expression was born just then.
Today, Russian military personnel are located outside the country, both as part of the UN peacekeeping contingents and in Syria, where there is a group of Russian troops involved in combat operations against terrorists. Officially, Russia sent its contingent to Syria in September 2015. This is not only the aviation of the VKS, but also air defense units, rocket forces and artillery, marines, special operations forces, and military police. The fighting in Syria gave a number of Heroes of Russia, of which, unfortunately, this high rank was given posthumously to many.
In 2016, he died heroically, engaging in battle with the terrorists and causing a fire on himself, the 25-year-old aircraft operator for the Special Operations Forces, Senior Lieutenant Alexander Prokhorenko. In a battle with terrorists, the 35-year-old intelligence chief of the howitzer self-propelled artillery battalion captain Marat Akhmetshin was killed. The heroes awarded posthumously include Russian pilots: Colonel Ryafagat Makhmutovich Khabibullin (1965-2016), Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Anatolyevich Peshkov (1970-2015), Major Roman Nikolayevich Filippov (1984-2018). The feat of Major Filippov, who catapulted from the downed aircraft and engaged in battle with the terrorists, and then blew himself up with a grenade, cannot leave indifferent.
Russia is a great power; therefore, it is unlikely that it will be possible, even for a long time, to do without the presence of Russian military personnel abroad. Alas, this is one of the integral components that ensure the status of a world-class power to the country. Therefore, people who protect the security and interests of the country abroad have always been. This fact requires a clear understanding and adoption of appropriate measures for the financial and social support of modern internationalist warriors.
The common phrase “they are not there” can be used in communication with “foreign partners”, but inside the country, in relation to the military personnel themselves, there should be a clear approach showing that the country will never abandon its defenders and heroes. Families of dead fighters should receive decent help, the memory of the heroes should be perpetuated in the names of streets, schools, military units. But we should not forget about the living participants in the fighting, the amount of payments to which, for example, leaves much to be desired. If, in peacetime, people take the risk of defending their homeland beyond its borders, go to fight terrorists away from home, then they fully deserve that they are not forgotten. Eternal memory to the fallen and eternal honor to living soldiers-internationalists, Soviet and Russian.