Invited to Join Spetsnaz

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Viktor Suvorov shares a fictional interview of a young officer invited to join spetsnaz, the Soviet special forces:

Any young officer can be invited to join spetsnaz irrespective of his previous speciality in the armed forces. If he possesses the required qualities of an iron will, an air of unquestionable authority, ruthlessness and an independent way of taking decisions and acting, if he is by nature a gambler who is not afraid to take a chance with anything, including his own life, then he will eventually be invited to the headquarters of the military district. He will be led along the endless corridors to a little office where he will be interviewed by a general and some senior officers. The young officer will not of course know that the general is head of the Intelligence directorate of the military district or that the colonel next to him is head of the third department (spetsnaz) of the directorate.

The atmosphere of the interview is relaxed, with smiles and jokes on both sides. Tell us about yourself, lieutenant. What are your interests? What games do you play? You hold the divisional record on skis over ten kilometres? Very good. How did your men do in the last rifle-shooting test? How do you get along with your deputy? Is he a difficult chap? Uncontrolled character? Our information is that you tamed him. How did you manage it?’

The interview moves gradually on to the subject of the armed forces of the probable enemy and takes the form of a gentle examination.

‘You have an American division facing your division on the front. The American division has “Lance” missiles. A nasty thing?’

‘Of course, comrade general.’

‘Just supposing, lieutenant, that you were chief of staff of the Soviet division, how would you destroy the enemy’s missiles?’

‘With our own 9K21 missiles.’

‘Very good, lieutenant, but the location of the American missiles is not known.’

‘I would ask the air force to locate them and possibly bomb them.’

‘But there’s bad weather, lieutenant, and the anti-aircraft defences are strong.’

Then I would send forward from our division a deep reconnaissance company to find the missiles, cut the throats of the missile crew and blow up the missiles.’

‘Not a bad idea. Very good, in fact. Have you ever heard, lieutenant, that there are units in the American Army known as the “Green Berets”?’

‘Yes, I have heard.’

‘What do you think of them?’

‘I look at the question from two points of view — the political and the military.’

Tell us both of them, please.’

They are mercenary cut throats of American capitalism, looters, murderers and rapists. They burn down villages and massacre the inhabitants, women, children and old people.’

‘Enough. Your second point of view?’

‘They are marvellously well-trained units for operating behind the enemy’s lines. Their job is to paralyse the enemy’s system of command and control. They are a very powerful and effective instrument in the hands of commanders. . . .’

‘Very well. So what would you think, lieutenant, if we were to organise something similar in our army?’

‘I think, comrade general, that it would be a correct decision. I am sure, comrade general, that that is our army’s tomorrow.’

‘It’s the army’s today, lieutenant. What would you say if we were to offer you the chance to become an officer in these troops? The discipline is like iron. Your authority as a commander would be almost absolute. You would be the one taking the decisions, not your superiors for you.’

‘If I were to be offered such an opportunity, comrade general, I would accept.’

‘All right, lieutenant, now you can go back to your regiment. Perhaps you will receive an offer. Continue your service and forget this conversation took place. You realise, of course, what will happen to you if anybody gets to know about what we have discussed?’

‘I understand, comrade general.’

‘We have informed your commanding officers, including the regimental commander, that you came before us as a candidate for posting to the Chinese frontier — to Mongolia, Afghanistan, the islands of the Arctic Ocean that sort of thing. Goodbye for now, lieutenant.’

‘Goodbye, comrade general.’

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