The main reason that pushed the Russian high military command to create separate Special Operations Forces was the change in the specifics of armed conflicts in the modern world. The number of local wars and anti-terrorist operations has increased, in which the potential of the SSO is revealed most effectively. Hybrid wars have become a reality of the modern world, in which, in addition to traditional armed forces, irregular and non-state armed formations take an active part. Under such conditions, sabotage and partisan operations become especially important. Their implementation requires the participation of special forces, as well as resisting the actions of saboteurs and partisans is also best obtained from units specially trained for this purpose.
Army General Nikolai Makarov, who headed the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in 2008-2012, being involved in the formation of Russian Special Operations Forces, actively studied foreign experience. By the time Russia was just puzzled by the separation of separate Special Operations Forces as part of its armed forces, many developed countries had similar formations for a very long time.
When creating MTR, the experience of the United States of America, China, France, and Germany was studied. In the USSR and Russia, special units existed before, but they acted separately - within the framework of the types of armed forces and combat arms, as well as the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff and other security agencies. The advantages of foreign special operations Forces consisted in the fact that the special forces formed a single structure with a single command. This increased coherence, efficiency, facilitated the decision-making process and the management of units in combat conditions.
The work on the creation of the Special Operations Forces intensified when, in 2013, the new Army Minister of the Russian Federation was appointed Army General Sergey Shoigu. It was under his leadership that the subsequent formation of the Special Operations Forces of the Russian Federation took place, which in a very short time turned into a harmoniously operating and efficient structure.
The successor of General Makarov as Chief of the General Staff, Army General Valery Gerasimov, voiced the most important characteristic of the Special Operations Forces — the possibility of using them outside the Russian Federation, if required by the tasks of ensuring national security or national interests. Of course, both the Soviet Union and Russia used their special units abroad for a very long time, but never before did these actions receive public coverage, and, most importantly, official justification. Now this possibility is included in the military doctrine and this gives the Special Operations Force a special status.
The first commander of the Special Operations Forces of Russia was one of their founders - Colonel Oleg Viktorovich Martyanov. A veteran of military intelligence, serving as a special forces company commander in Afghanistan, and then in almost all the “hot spots” where Russian troops fought, Oleg Martyanov commanded a special forces detachment, then served in the GRU general staff apparatus. It was with the direct participation of Martyanov that the process of creating the Special Operations Forces took place, which he headed in 2009-2013.
One of the main features of the Special Operations Forces is the lack of a permanent composition. In addition to the “backbone” formed from military intelligence special forces units and the Airborne Forces, at different times, depending on the situational specifics, the various operations forces are included in the Special Operations Forces. The “backbone” of the SSO are officers and servicemen of contractual service, first of all, military intelligence officers, paratroopers, special forces with high-quality military education and good experience.
The composition of the Special Operations Forces selects the best of the best, so it can be said with confidence that this is the real elite of the Russian armed forces. MTR fighters undergo special training, allowing them to operate in completely different geographic and climatic conditions. Given the current reality, special emphasis is placed on preparing for action in the desert and mountain conditions. The main difference is efficiency, which is achieved by direct control of the Special Operations Forces from Moscow, from the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces. A minimum of intermediate links in management brings its results - SSO are very efficient and dynamic, able to quickly and effectively solve their tasks.
Another specific feature of MTR is the use of high technologies. The servicemen of the Special Operations Forces are not only well trained, but also well armed and equipped. At their disposal - the most modern rifle weapon, communications, surveillance, vehicles, modern and high-quality body armor, helmets, diving and splinter protection suits.
From the very beginning of the existence of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the authorities emphasized their particular attitude to them. MTRs are part of the “new kulak of Russia,” with which the country defends its security, defends its national interests in various parts of the globe.
In 2014, the command of the Special Operations Forces of Russia, Vladimir Putin, entrusted the trusted person, Major General Alexei Gennadyevich Dyumin. A graduate of the Voronezh Higher Military Engineering School of Radio Electronics, Alexey Dyumin served for a long time in the Presidential Communications Department of the Federal Security Service of Russia, and then in the Security Service of the President of Russia, where he served as Deputy Head of the Security Service of the President of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. In 2014, he was appointed deputy head of the GRU — commander of the special operations forces. This, incidentally, is very significant. When the president decided to reformat the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia into a fundamentally new structure - the National Guard Forces, he also appointed General Viktor Zolotov, who previously headed the Security Service of the President of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, to lead the process. That is, the head of state entrusts the most responsible and complex areas to those officers who for many years trusted their own safety.
Perhaps the first public demonstration of the power of the Russian Special Operations Forces was the operation to ensure the reunification of the Republic of Crimea with the Russian Federation, held in February-March of 2014. On the night of February 27, unusual people in unmarked uniforms appeared in the building of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Crimea. They behaved very politely, respectfully communicating with employees. It is said that one of the plumbers who served the building of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation was found sleeping in an office building. People in military uniform woke him up, helped him get dressed and walked out of the building, wishing him a good trip. When Ukrainian journalists ran up to the plumber, trying to find out if Russian special forces were beating him, he said that they were “some polite”. So the popular name of the fighters of the Special Operations Forces appeared - “polite people”, which quickly turned into one of the lexical symbols of the return of the Crimean peninsula to Russia.
It was the Special Operations Forces of the Russian Federation that not only ensured the reunification of the Crimea with Russia, protecting the Crimeans from possible aggression from Ukraine, but also saved the ousted legitimate president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich from the Kiev regime. It is difficult to say whether the brilliant operation in Crimea influenced this appointment, but in 2015, Special Operations Forces Commander Lieutenant General Alexei Dumin was appointed Chief of the Ground Forces Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and then Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation. Since 2016, Mr. Dyumin is the governor of the Tula region.
In addition to Crimea, “polite people” participated in anti-terrorist operations in the North Caucasus, in the fight against Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. In 2015, units of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were sent to participate in the anti-terrorist operation of Russia in Syria. Since that time, for the third year already, fighters of the Russian MTR have been fighting terrorists in the Middle East. In Syria, the main tasks of the Special Operations Forces are reconnaissance, special missions, and correction of Russian strikes. aviation by terrorist groups. As you can see, the tasks are not simple, especially since the situation is complicated by the presence in Syria of not only terrorist and rebel groups, but also foreign armed forces.
In March 2016 of the year, two years ago, in the area of Tadmor, senior lieutenant of the Special Operations Forces of Russia Alexander Prokhorenko (1990-2016) died in the performance of a combat mission. The 25-year-old officer was a graduate of the Military Academy of the Army Air Defense of the Russian Federation, from which he graduated with honors and was assigned to one of the units of the Special Operations Forces of Russia as an advanced aviation gunner. From January 2016, Senior Lieutenant Prokhorenko was in Syria, where he performed dangerous combat missions in the rear of the enemy, correcting the actions of Russian aviation. 17 March 2016 of the year around Lieutenant Prokhorenko, in the vicinity of the town of Tadmor in the province of Homs, was surrounded by militants and, not wanting to surrender, he caused an air strike on himself. The terrorists were destroyed, but Senior Lieutenant Prokhorenko himself heroically died. 11 April 2016 Vladimir Putin awarded Alexander Prokhorenko the high title of Hero of the Russian Federation posthumously.
Special operations forces in Syria participated in the liberation of Aleppo and Palmyra. In the spring of 2017, in the province of Aleppo, a group of 16 fighters from the Special Operations Forces of the Russian Armed Forces performed tasks of targeting Russian aircraft to enemy buildings, strongholds and armored vehicles. Once discovered, a group of 16 SSOs entered into battle with the 300 militants. During an unequal battle, the Russian fighters managed to eliminate the tank, two infantry fighting vehicles and a car with a suicide bomber. 24 May 2017. President Vladimir Putin introduced Lieutenant Colonel Danilo, who commanded the detachment (name was not disclosed) to the rank of Hero of the Russian Federation. Other fighters received orders and medals.
Syria has become the proving ground where the Russian Special Operations Forces are being tested in combat. Not for the first year, Russian military personnel demonstrate their combat skills, combined with incredible courage and loyalty to duty. As practice shows, SSOs play a crucial role in ensuring the actions of the Air and Space Forces of the Russian Federation in Syria, which allows aviation to deliver clear and adjusted strikes on the positions of terrorists. Unfortunately, not without losses.
Despite the short duration of its existence, the Russian Special Operations Forces have already recommended themselves from the best side. It can be argued that they not only can compete with the best special forces of Western countries, but also surpass them in many ways - in terms of training, and, more importantly, in fighting spirit.
“Military Review” congratulates the current and former military personnel of the Special Operations Forces of Russia on the holiday, wishes them to fulfill their tasks with honor, while remaining alive and healthy. Happy holiday, polite people!