Are Putin’s Special Forces Catching Up?

special forces

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Russia’s military is often seen as a bit backward compared to NATO allies and the U.S. — with dated equipment, low budgets, and problematic ships. However, one force Moscow has clearly placed a lot of emphasis on are its special forces.

Like the U.S., the Russian military clearly sees how a small number of these specially-trained and equipped troops can have an outsized influence on the battlefield particularly against poorly organized, commanded and equipped terrorist forces like ISIS.

At the beginning of May, the Russian military bestowed high honors on 13 members of a special forces unit that reportedly killed 300 ISIS fighters in Syria.

By the looks of a video from the Russian Special Operations Forces, Moscow’s commandos have taken a few pages out of the American playbook. From their thumb-over-bore rifle handling to their Multicam uniforms to their OpsCore helmets and red-dot optics, the Russian special operators have clearly learned the lessons of America’s anti-terrorism experience and applied it to their best-trained troops.

“We had a good advantage in terms of armament and equipment, including thermal imaging sights,” one Russian commander said of his troops’ experience in Syria. “All this added to our success.”

According to, not only have the Russians acquired the latest weapons technology and gear, they’re also using top-end electronic systems for targeting and surveillance as seen in the video. They’ve apparently come a great way from their ham-fisted anti-terrorist operations in the Chechnya of the 1990s, with high-speed direct action and snipers taking the place of tank shells and bombs.

“Training is constantly being improved, and the current special operations forces are touted as highly professional and elite troops,” independent Russian security expert Igor Nikolaychuk told Sputnik News. And by the looks of this video from the Russian Special Operations Forces, he’s not far off.