Special Operations Forces (Russia)

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Special Operations Forces
Sily spetsial’nykh operatsii (SSO)
Герб ССО.png
Active 2009 (operational from 2013)–present
Country  Russian Federation
Branch Special Operations Forces Command
Type Spetsnaz

Special Operations

Size ~ 2000 operatives [1][2]
Part of Medium emblem of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (27.01.1997-present).svg Russian Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Kubinka-2, Moscow region
Colors Black
Anniversaries February 27

2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine unconfirmed
Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War

Gen. Alexander A. Matovnikov
Oleg Martyanov

Russian Special Operations Forces (Russian: Силы специальных операций; ССО, tr. Sily spetsial’nykh operatsii; SSO)[4][5] are components of Special Operations Forces Command (Russian: командование сил специальных операций; KCCO, tr. Komandovanie sil spetsial’nalnykh operatsii; KSSO)[5] of the General Staff[5] of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

The formation of the unit began in 2009 during a large-scale reform of the Russian Federation Armed Forces (2008–2020).


The Forces are a highly mobile, well-trained and equipped, constant combat readiness special operations force of the Russian Ministry of Defense, designed to perform specific tasks in order to protect the interests of Russian Federation (with application of military force, by necessity), both within the country and abroad, in peacetime and in wartime.

Russian Ministry of Defense defines the term "special operation" as follows: "Special operation of troops (forces) is a complex of special actions of troops (forces), coordinated by objectives and tasks, time and place of execution, conducted according to a single concept and plan in order to achieve certain goals. Special actions of troops (forces) are activities carried out by specially designated, organized, trained and equipped forces, which apply methods and ways of fighting not typical for conventional forces (special reconnaissance, sabotage, counter-terrorist, counter-sabotage, counterintelligence, guerrilla, counter-guerrilla and other activities)".[6]


In 2009, as a part of the comprehensive reform of the Russian Federation's Armed Forces, Special Operations Directorate, directly subordinated to the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, was created on the basis of the military unit 92154 in the Moscow region. At the beginning of 2012 by the initiative of the Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov The Special Operations Directorate was reorganized as the Special Operations Command, which was followed by plans to upscale the Forces manpower up to 9 special purpose brigades.

On March 6, 2013 the Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov announced the beginning of the Special Operations Forces creation. While speaking to foreign military attaches in Moscow, he said: "After reviewing the practice of the formation, training and the use of special operations forces in the leading countries of the world, Russia's Defense Ministry has also begun to create them... A corresponding command was created, which is engaged in planning work and implements plan of training of the Armed Forces... A suit of documents was already developed to determine the direction of development, methods of training and application of these forces ".

On March 15, 2013, according to Russian media reports, creation of the Special Operations Center of the Ministry of Defense of Russia for around 500 professional soldiers has begun in the suburban village of Kubinka-2. Formation of the Center was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. The center is directly subordinated to the Special Operations Forces Command of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

On March 23, 2013 during the meeting of the Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu with the Chairman of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, Valery Gerasimov said that Special Operations Forces have been created as a part the Armed Forces and that they are being trained for missions not only inside the country but also abroad.

In the end of April 2013 units of Special Operations Forces conducted a special tactics exercise at Elbrus mountains at the height of 4,5 kilometers. The exercise was dedicated to practice transportation of one of the SSO units by military transport aviation and army aviation, as well as air insertion of personnel and cargo into target area.[7]

Colonel Oleg Martianov, currently a member of the board of the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation, was one of the founders and the first commander of the SSO.[8]

The SSO personnel consists exclusively of officers and professional soldiers.


  • In 2014, unidentified men with military weapons began blockading Ukrainian bases in Crimea, and on February 27, around 50 men seized the Crimean parliament building. While claiming to be a local militia, this well-armed and highly professional unit turned out to be the first deployment of operators from the KSO.[1][9][10][11]
  • Special Operations Forces of Russia are involved in Syria for target acquisition for Russian Air Force combat planes and for other purposes, such as the training of Syrian government troops, elimination of fighters and destroying critical enemy objects.[12][13][14][15] During the liberation of Palmyra a Special Operations Forces officer has been killed.[16]
  • SSO has been tasked in recovering the flight recorder of Russia’s downed Su-24M back in November 2015, and reconnoitering targets for cruise missile strikes, disruption behind enemy lines through ambushes, high value targeted assassinations and retaliation strikes against select groups of fighters. The SSO also played a crucial role in the battle for Palmyra in Spring, 2016 and provided support in the Syrian push for Aleppo in the same year.
  • A commander of a special missions detachment was awarded a Gold Star and named a Hero of the Russian Federation after his 16-man unit managed to successfully repulse multiple attacks conducted by an estimated 300 jihadists without loss, after being surrounded by the jihadis and abandoned by their Syrian alies. Three other operators from the same unit were also awarded honors.[17]


  • Special Purpose Center "Senezh"
  • Special Purpose Center "Kubinka-2"



Submachine guns[edit]

Assault rifles[edit]

Sniper rifles[edit]

Machine guns[edit]

Explosive weapons[edit]



  • Arcteryx LEAF kit
  • Special Operations Forces kit for extremely hot climate
  • Propper Multicam BDU
  • Tactical Performance ATACS FG Tactical Field Jacket / Tactical Combat Pants
  • Tactical Performance ATACS FG Battle Strike Uniform Coat / Trousers
  • Tactical Performance Multicam Tactical Field Jacket / Tactical Combat Pants
  • Tactical Performance Multicam Battle Strike Uniform Coat / Trousers
  • Tactical Performance Multicam Tactical Combat Shirt
  • Phantom special thermal underwear[18]
  • Ratnik VKBO EMR camouflage combat uniforms


  • 6B7-1M
  • «Voin-Kiver RSP»
  • LSHZ 1+
  • 6B47
  • 5,45 Design Spartan 1
  • 5,45 Design Spartan 2
  • 5,45 Design Spartan 3


  • 6Sh112 LBV
  • 6Sh117 LBV
  • 6B43 armor vest
  • 6B45
  • 6B46
  • «Redut-M» armour vest
  • STICH PROFI® Loading system plate carrier
  • STICH PROFI® Lightweight plate carrier
  • FORT Defender 2
  • 5.11 Tactec Plate Carrier
  • Various Crye Precision, Surival corps, SSO/SPSON, Gear Craft, Wartech, FORT, ANA tactical, Armocom plate carriers


  • FORT «Fortres K14» protective suit
  • FORT «Raid-L» protective suit
  • PMK gas mask
  • GKN-7 diving suit
  • «Aqualung Amphora» rebreather
  • «Veer-6» ballistic shield
  • PT-2 thermal monocular
  • Peltor Com Tac XP headset
  • NRS-2 special scout knife
  • ZALA UAVs[19]
  • Strelets reconnaissance, control and communications system[20]
  • «Arbalet» parachute system

Transport Vehicles[edit]

Ground vehicles[edit]



  • BK-16 and BK-10


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Interest, The National. "Get Ready, America: Russia Has Its Own Deadly 'Delta Force'". Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Brief, Cipher. "Russian Spetsnaz: Learning from Experience". Retrieved 27 May 2017. 
  3. ^ Sputnik. "Russian Aviation, Special Forces Play Key Role in Crushing Daesh Near Palmyra". sputniknews.com. Retrieved 11 October 2017. 
  4. ^ "Силы специальных операций (ССО)". Ministry of Defense of Russia (in Russian). Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Marsh, Dr. Christopher (2017). Developments in Russian Special Operations - Russia's Spetsnaz, SOF and Special Operations Forces Command (PDF). CANSOFCOM Education & Research Centre Monograph Series. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. ISBN 9780660073538. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  6. ^ http://vpk-news.ru/news/35417
  7. ^ "День Сил специальных операций. Досье". Retrieved 11 October 2017. 
  8. ^ Sputnik. "Russian Engineers Develop Next Generation Multipurpose Body Armor". sputniknews.com. Retrieved 11 October 2017. 
  9. ^ Post, Washington. "New battlefield video shows how Russia's elite KSO military unit is fighting in Syria". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  10. ^ Galeotti, Mark (2015). Spetsnaz: Russia's Special Forces (Elite ed.). Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-4728-0722-9. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  11. ^ Front, South (2017). "Russian Special Operations Forces". Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  12. ^ "UK Mirror: Russian Spetsnaz Special Forces Sent In to Protect Assad". Newsmax. 
  13. ^ Russian-led military intervention in Syria
  14. ^ "Press review: Sochi forum ends recession and GLONASS plays key role in Syria". Retrieved 11 October 2017. 
  15. ^ Sputnik. "Russian Aerospace Forces Have Eliminated Over 3,000 Militants in Syria in 2017". sputniknews.com. Retrieved 11 October 2017. 
  16. ^ "Russian military says special forces officer killed near Palmyra". Retrieved 11 October 2017. 
  17. ^ "How 16 Russian Special Forces Took Out 300 Terrorists". Retrieved 11 October 2017. 
  18. ^ http://izvestia.ru/news/661694
  19. ^ Телеканал ЗВЕЗДА (1 March 2017). "Бойцы Сил специальных операций действуют в Сирии: эксклюзивные кадры". Retrieved 11 October 2017 – via YouTube. 
  20. ^ http://vpk-news.ru/news/36223