Spetsnaz : Russia's Special Forces

4.07 (61 ratings by Goodreads)
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Authoritative illustrated analysis of the history of the military Special Forces units of the Soviet Union and Russian Federation.

When the shadowy, notorious Spetsnaz were first formed, they drew on a long Soviet tradition of elite, behind-the-lines commando forces from World War II and even earlier. Throughout the 1960s-70s they were instrumental both in projecting Soviet power in the Third World and in suppressing resistance within the Warsaw pact.

As a powerful, but mysterious tool of a world superpower, the Spetsnaz have inevitably become the focus of many 'tall tales' in the West. In this book, a peerless authority on Russia's military Special Forces debunks several of these myths, uncovering truths that are often even more remarkable.

Since the chaotic dissolution of the USSR and the two Chechen Wars, Russian forces have seen increasing modernization, involving them ever more in power-projection, counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism and the Spetsnaz have been deployed as a spearhead in virtually all of these operations.

This fully illustrated book packed with details such as orders-of-battle, equipment and operational doctrine offers a unique, absorbing guide to the secrets of the Spetsnaz, their most noteworthy missions and personalities.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 64 pages
  • 184 x 248 x 7mm | 213g
  • Osprey Publishing
  • New York, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Fully illustrated with photographs and specially commissioned artwork
  • 1472807227
  • 9781472807229
  • 189,715

Table of contents

Introduction: overview; background in Russian history and culture
The Spetsnaz Tradition: special units of the Bolshevik Red Guard, and behind-the-lines NKVD operations in World War II /Cold Warriors: foundation by GRU, 1950
Operations 1960s-70s: Angola, Czechoslovakia, etc, and order-of-battle 1980
Operations in Afghanistan, and order-of-battle
Spetsnaz after the USSR: the turmoil of the 1990s
Tajikistan and Moldova, imitation units in post-Soviet states
Operations in Chechnya, the Chechen Spetsnaz
Modern Spetsnaz: increasing strength and importance
Naval Spetsnaz, and order-of-battle 2013
Special Weapons
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Review quote

"Spetsnaz: Russia's Special Forces chronicles everything from their origins to recent headlines. The Spetsialnogo naznacheniya (Special Designation) troops have carved out a reputation for ruthless efficiency, proficiency and ferocity. However, the Spetsnaz seem to be rather misunderstood and to some extent even mythologized. Mark Galeotti, an internationally recognized expert, traces their history while outlining the evolution of their organization, missions and character. Their uniforms, equipment and weapons are detailed in depth. Galeotti shows how the Spetsnaz are the cornerstone of a new Russian way of war that stresses deception, surprise and speed, ensuring that they will maintain their elite status for the foreseeable future." --Toy Soldier & Model Figure magazine
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About Mark Galeotti

Professor Mark Galeotti, formerly senior lecturer in international history at Keele University, is Clinical Professor of Global Affairs, New York University. He is a former Foreign Office adviser on Russian security affairs, and for 15 years (1991-2006) wrote a monthly column on this for Jane's Intelligence Review.

Johnny Shumate works as a freelance illustrator living in Nashville, Tennessee. He began his career in 1987 after graduating from Austin Peay State University. Most of his work is rendered in Adobe Photoshop using a Cintiq monitor. His greatest influences are Angus McBride, Don Troiani, and Edouard Detaille.
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Rating details

61 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 41% (25)
4 26% (16)
3 31% (19)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
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