Russian Special Operations Forces

Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (SSO VS RF) (Russian: Силы специальных операций Вооружённых Сил Российской Федерации (ССО ВС РФ)) are components of the Russian General Staff Special Operations Command

This is a specially created unit of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the formation of which 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)”.

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.

In 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 “.

In 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.

In 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.

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.

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.
  • 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. During the liberation of Palmyra a Special Operations Forces officer has been killed.


  • Special Purpose Center “Senezh”;
  • Special Purpose Center “Kubinka-2”.
  • 344th Army Aviation Combat Training Center, Torzhok air base.




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