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Russian special purpose regiments or Spetsnaz, Specnaz is a general term for "special forces" in Russian, literally "special purpose". These Russian special forces can specifically refer to any elite or special purpose units under subordination of the Federal Security Service (FSB) or Internal Troops of Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the units controlled by the military intelligence service GRU. Currently, the term is used as well to describe any special purpose units or task forces of other ministries (even the Emergency Situations Ministry special rescue unit) Foreign special forces are also commonly referred to as Spetsnaz on Russian television, for example "American Spetsnaz." Spetsnaz specialists have trained the Republican Guard of Syria, Iraq and Iran and they have been involved in training other special forces units across the world. "Alfa" is a well-known counter-terrorist unit begun in 1974. Today "Alfa" is a highly professional unit, which consists of roughly 700 servicemen. The majority of the unit is stationed at Moscow, the rest of the unit is located in three other cities - Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, and Khabarovsk. All the "Alfa" operatives undergo special airborne and firearms training. Roughly one third of them have special mountain training; another third have special counter-sabotage diving training. The unit utilizes a wide range of modern Russian and foreign weapons and equipment, some modified from the original versions to fit the unique needs of the unit. Spetsnaz GRU, or Russian army special forces, are considered the best trained units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The Spetsnaz have created a fierce reputation as one of the best special forces in the world today due to the very harsh standards of their training. They are controlled by the GRU. The units of Spetsnaz GRU have no official names, such as the case with units of MVD Spetsnaz. They are generally referred to by unit numbers, for example, "16th Separate Brigade of Spetsnaz", much like any other military unit. Few details are actually known about the operations of Spetsnaz GRU, but it is known that the units were heavily involved in operations in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Spetnaz GRU teams usually wear standard-issue VDV uniforms, light blue VDV berets and unit patches in order to avoid identification. However, they can also wear different uniforms, for instance, they would wear the uniform of a unit which is stationed nearby, in order to blend in. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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