OMON, Spetsnaz and Kadyrovtsy, oh my: ‘Russian Security and Paramilitary Forces since 1991’

imageJust a brief note: my book Russian Security and Paramilitary Forces since 1991 is out this week, published by Osprey Books in their Elite series. I talk a little more about it here, but as a short, concise (and wonderfully-illustrated), English-language guide to the plethora of security forces in Russia today, I pride myself that it is unique.

Here is the blurb and contents:

Russian Security and Paramilitary Forces since 1991

Elite 197
Author: Mark Galeotti
Illustrator: Johnny Shumate

While the size of Russia’s regular forces has shrunk recently, its security and paramilitary elements have become increasingly powerful. Under the Putin regime they have proliferated and importantly seem set to remain Russia’s most active armed agencies for the immediate future. In parallel, within the murky world where government and private interests intersect, a number of paramilitary ‘private armies’ operate almost as vigilantes, with government toleration or approval.This book offers a succinct overview of the official, semi-official and unofficial agencies that pursue Russian government and quasi-government objectives by armed means, from the 200,000-strong Interior Troops, through Police and other independent departmental forces, down to private security firms. Featuring rare photographs, and detailed colour plates of uniforms, insignia and equipment, this study by a renowned authority explores the Putin regime’s shadowy special-forces apparatus, active in an array of counter-terrorist and counter-mafia wars since 1991.


Introduction: historical overview of Russian security and paramilitary forces, including their part in the failed coup against Gorbachev in 1991, the successful take-over by Yeltsin in 1993, and the rise of Putin

The Police: roles, organization and equipment, OMON riot police, SOBR and OMSN snatch squads, and the fight against the Mafiya

The Interior Troops (VV): roles, organization and equipment, VV Spetsnaz, Vega, ODON, MVD, and the war in Chechnya

The FSB: commando units Al’fa, Vympel, Zenit, etc., and FSB control of Border Troops

’Warlords in Suits’: independent ministerial forces, Federal Protection Service, Justice Ministry, Ministry of Emergency Situations

Guns for the Masses: private security firms and vigilante forces and anti-Moscow organizations in the North Caucasus

Tools of the Trade: special weapons and equipment

Paperback; August 2013; 64 pages; ISBN: 9781780961057 (also available as a Kindle e-book)

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