Twenty of Russia’s finest Federal Security Service (FSB) and Special Rapid Deployment Force (SOBR) operatives were invited to the mountains of Dagestan in early April. It was no party – the aim of the get together was to find the most effective agent operating in the region.
The men are assigned an itinerary and given missions to destroy various targets. After a briefing, the group splits up with some soldiers preparing the ammunition belts for the machine-guns mounted on their vehicles. All units arrived in the mountains in their own rides, each carrying
Kalashnikov rifles with 500 rounds of 7.62 x 54 mm ammunition in the boot. It would be unthinkable for an ordinary Russian to hit the road with a machine gun in their car, but if you’re an FSB officer on active service in a region fighting terrorists, it’s no problem.
In the meantime, an officer explains the difference between urban gangs and terrorists holed up in the mountains and the Middle East. “The gang members are afraid of death, while the radicals are not. That is the fundamental difference you have to bear in mind when you’re going after people who have nothing to lose and for whom death is just the start of a new and better life. They have been intensively brainwashed. They sincerely believe that they are waging jihad (holy war) in murdering women, children, and ‘infidels.’ That is the difference.”
Ten minutes later automatic rifle fire rings out. It the signal for the start of the first mission: an accelerated advance to destroy “terrorists” at a target location. An operative shelters behind the first available cover and fires off a volley of 50 rounds from his AK against in the “enemy’s” direction.
The unit comes across two terrorists
One agent leaps onto a moving armored vehicle. As it travels at full tilt, he leans out of a hatch and fires off another belt at a militant in an old motor car, which is now like
At the end of the competition, an operative from the FSB special ops forces covering the Chechen Republic was declared the winner. In second and third place
These people have spent the last 10 years in the neighboring mountains fighting radical Islamists. According to
According to the operatives themselves, armed clashes have become a real rarity, although they are still regularly sent on exercises and on patrol operations in the mountains for several weeks at a time to check on the state of security in the region
The security services are working night and day to keep radical Islamist groups off social media and to arrest recruiting agents, as well as monitoring the movements of returning terrorists and radical ideologues.
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