KGB Alpha team training manual

KGB Alpha team training manual

(Parte 3 de 8)

Then came World War I, with special assignment units deployed by NKVD behind both German lines and their own, and by the GRU through both the army and Naval Infantry. After the war, GRU Spetsnaz was disbanded, and all special assignment tasks fell to the NKVD or the MVD, as has been described. GRU Spetsnaz was revitalized in the late 1950s at about the same time the NATO nations were busy developing their special operations capabilities after a postwar lack of interest in the special forces field. Hence, the need arose to train GRU Spetsnaz officers for a while in the KGB special tasks school near Moscow. The GRU Spetsnaz were not in position in the scheme of things to be involved with the suppression of rebellion in the Eastern bloc immediately after 1945. From 1945 the NKVD operated special assignment units throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, eastern Poland, Ruthenia, Bukovina, and Bessarabia, territories recently annexed to the west of the USSR, as well as already annexed areas such as the Ukraine.

These antipartisan campaigns were fought practically into the 1960s. In the Baltic States, the U.S. Air Force flew secret missions supplying the guerrillas, but unfortunately the CIA shared its operations with MI6, which was riddled with Soviet spies and sympathizers.

When East Germany rose in rebellion in 1953, the KGB and

MVD were on hand to put the rebellion down. KGB and MVD special units ensured the annexation of Poland and Czechoslovakia. In March 1948 Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk, who advocated independence for his country, was found dead in the courtyard of his residence. The USSR claimed he committed suicide; the Czechs believe a KGB special unit was responsible. When Polish leader Wladyslaw Gomulka proved too independent, he was replaced. In 1956 when Hungary rose in rebellion, there was no GRU Spetsnaz on hand to act, so the head of the KGB, General Ivan Serov, launched a campaign to seize Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy and his advisors. Serov arranged a Soviet-Hungarian official dinner in Budapest that Nagy and his people attended. Halfway through the dinner, Serov and his Spets group from the Balashikha school and the Department of the 1st Directorate -which had inherited the Central Committee special tasks--did the dirty deed. (A similar tactic was used in December 1979 to seize Afghan government officials during the Soviet invasion.)

Serov was a Frunze graduate and member of the Soviet army.

In 1939 he transferred to NKVD and served under General Kobulov, the organization's counterinsurgency specialist. Kobulov's NKVD istrebitel'nye otryady supplied the security at the Yalta conference, protecting British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Soviet leader Generalissimo Joseph Stalin. Stalin and Churchill then went straight to the Ukraine and Byelorussia on guerrilla-extermination duties. Serov was sent to the Baltic States to direct similar duties there. Later he transferred to the Ukraine where he befriended Nikita Khrushchev, who was to promote him to chairman of the KGB.

By 1968, however, the GRU Spetsnaz was in full operation and was used in the seizure of Prague, working alongside the KGB's Department V, which had replaced Department 13, and elements of the MVD Spetsnazovtsy on loan from the

Dzerzhinsky Division. GRU Spetsnaz from the brigades based at Kirovograd and Mariinogorko were earmarked to work with

KGB Department V personnel and personnel from the Balashikha school. They would be supported by the 103rd Guards Airborne Division based at Vitebsk. Soviet logistics specialists depleted Czechoslovakia's military supplies through contrived Warsaw Pact exercises in that country, East Germany, and western USSR. The Warsaw Pact then scheduled exercises in Bohemia to divert the Czechoslovak military from intended crossing points. Friday 16 August 1968, all special assignment personnel were placed on standby for the invasion and started discreet preparations. On 20 August 1968, Aeroflot aircraft began landing at Prague's Ruzyne airport. Just before 8 P.M. an AN-24 from Moscow arrived containing communications and signals personnel and the Spetsnaz headquarters element. At 9:30 P.M. another unscheduled AN24 from Lvov containing the Department V personnel arrived.

They were met by Colonel Elias of the Czechoslovak Interior

Ministry and Lieutenant Colonel Stachovsky of the Border Guard, representing the Czechoslovak counterparts of MVD and KGB. The KGB Osnaz departed for the Soviet embassy in Prague and its AN24 returned to Lvov. At 12:0 P.M. the Czech Interior Ministry personnel closed the airport, and the KGB Osnaz arrived with Czech-speaking Soviet officers. The Osnaz, though dressed as civilians, openly carried weapons and seized the control tower, . foreign departures, customs, and airport communications. Two

Aeroflot AN-12s carrying the GRU Spetsnaz landed and taxied to the administration building. The Spetsnaz linked up with the Osnaz troops and swept through the airport, driving all airport personnel and tourists out of the building. Women and children were then allowed to return. At 5:30A.M. on 21 August, the Spetsnaz group allowed airport personnel and tourists to leave.

While this was happening, three GRU Spetsnaz from

Mariinogorko Brigade arrived with the lead elements of 103rd Guards Airborne Division. One of the first VDV units to arrive was 271st Airborne Artillery Regiment, which moved to a position overlooking Prague and positioned its artillery. The rest of the 103rd Division-the 393rd, 583rd, and 688th Guards-occupied key points such as the brigades over the Vltava River, railway stations, post office, central telephone exchange, and central crossroads. The MVD Spetsnazovtsy and GRU Spetsnaz captured the television and radio stations. GRU Spetsnaz accompanied by Department V Osnaz seized the presidential palace. At 3:00A.M., GRU Spetsnaz seized Prime Minister Oldrich Cernik at bayonet point in the government presidium building. A security force from the 103rd Guards arrived and secured an outer perimeter.

At 4:00A.M. three BTR-50s led by a black Volga sedan left the

Soviet Embassy and went to the Czechoslovak Communist Party Central Committee building. A security force from the 103rd Guards Airborne Division arrived and secured an outer perimeter. GRU Spetsnaz leaped out of the BTRs and were led into the building by two KGB Osnaz and Col. Bohumil Molnar of the Czechoslovak Interior Ministry. President Dubcek and his advisors Smorkovsky, Kriegel, Spacek, Simon, and Mlynar were meeting in Dubcek's office when the door was kicked in and eight Spetsnaz rushed in and placed their weapons at the back of the politicians' heads. The KGB men then walked in with the Czechoslovak colonel and announced that they were all under arrest. They were then flown under Spetsnaz and Osnaz escort to Moscow.

The invasion of Czechoslovakia was the first major operation in which KGB, MVD, and GRU special assignment units had worked together. Department V and its predecessors, however, had been very active prior to this. One example was the attempted assassination of the shah of Iran in 1962. This was masterminded by the then chief of Department V, Lt. Gen. Ivan Fadekin. (Fade kin had been a deputy commander of partisans in the NKVD during World War I.) Following the CIA-instigated coup in Iran the Central Committee of the USSR decided to eliminate the shah. Fadekin was given the task and arrived in Teheran in 1961. In February 1962, he arranged for a Volkswagen packed with explosives to be positioned along the route of the shah's convoy between his palace and the parliament building. The explosives had a radio-initiated detonator. As the shah's car passed, the radio signal was sent but failed to detonate the explosives.

The primary roles of Department V were assassination, sabo- tage, and subversion in time of war and linking up with GRU Spetsnaz groups. After the defection of a Department V officer to MI6 in 1971, the department was closed down. Its direct-action role passed to a newly created Eighth Department within the S Directorate of the 1st Chief Directorate formed in 1973. However, its role, codenamed "Kaskad," was primarily limited to wartime as the Cold War thawed on both sides of the pond.

Prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Eighth

Department was ordered to kill President Amin of Afghanistan. In September 1979 Lt. Col. Mikhail Talybov of the 8th Department was provided with Afghan documentation and sent to do the job. He managed to get a position as a cook and tried to poison Amin on numerous occasions. His failure led to an invasion similar to that of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

In 1977, with the approach of the 1980 Summer Olympic

Games in Moscow, the MVD decided it required an antiterrorist intervention capability on par with the German GSG 9, French GIGN, British 2 SAS CRW (Special Air Services Counter

Revolutionary Warfare) teams, or U.S. SWAT teams. Far from being the model of law and order, the USSR had the world's worst record for air piracy, now called skyjacking. The Interior Ministry turned to its elite Felix Dzerzhinsky Motor Rifle Division based near Moscow to come up with a solution. On 31 December 1977 the Special Assignment Company21 of the division was formed under its commander, Captain Mal 'tsev.

Recruits came from within the division, and only 50 out of 100 passed the selection course. Mal'tsev chose maroon berets, badges, shoulder boards, and hat ribbons since that was the color of the Internal Forces. The berets are solid maroon or mottled as the Russians prefer. The unit became known as the "mottled berets."2

(MVD Internal Forces special assignment personnel are not referred to as Spetsnaz; they are called Spetsnazovtsy, according to Col. Gen. Yuri Shatalin, who in 1990 was head of all MVD Internal Forces. On 19 April1990 he listed the number of special assignment troops at his disposal at 2,500, but this might include the separate OMON units that I will discuss later.) In 1982 the unit carried out its first internal operation. It flew to the city of Sarapul in the Russian Republic and from there flew 70 kilometers northwest to Izhevsk, where they transferred to buses and drove to a school where two criminals were holding children hostage and demanding to be given an aircraft to fly to the West. Working with the local KGB, they negotiated the surrender of the criminals and release of the hostages.

Then in 1987 Interior Ministry troops from the Siberian city of Perm seized an aircraft, attempting to fly to the West. Sgt. Nikolai

Matsnev, the gang leader, persuaded five other conscripts to join him, two from his base and three from another. Three of the plotters were drug abusers, using both opium and hashish. Matsnev and Privates Konoval and Yagmurzhi took weapons and ammunition from their armory and set off on foot for another camp where the other three were stealing an armored vehicle. En route, an MVD militia patrol car stopped them, and they killed the two sergeants inside. Konoval fled and was later arrested. Matznev and Yagmurzhi took a taxi to the airport and shot their way through security to the aircraft, a TU -134 destined for the

Siberian oil fields. In the process they damaged the fuselage and killed two of the 7 4 passengers. They demanded that the pilot fly

them to the West, and he agreed to do so once the aircraft was repaired. Matsnev released the women and children and other hostages. Yagmurzhi demanded opium and a guitar from the airport authorities and then promptly lapsed in to a drugged sleep. The Spetsrota then stormed the plane, killing Matsnev and wounding Yagmurzhi, but two passengers were also killed.

Among other intervention duties of the Spets group were security and rescue duties at Chernobyl when a nuclear reactor exploded in 1986.

In February 1988 Azerbaijani gangs swept through the town of Sumgait on the shores of the Caspian Sea, raping and killing Armenians and burning. Even Azerbaijanis who helped their Armenian neighbors were attacked and killed and their women raped. A story started that, on 27 February, two Azeris had been killed by Armenians. A riot started, and between 60 and 100 people were killed. The Azerbaijani Interior Ministry moved slowly to quell the rioting, so the 104th Guards Airborne Division was

Soviet Spetsnaz learned how to use their entrenching tools as weapons in the KGB Alpha Team Manual. Photo courtesy of Jim Shortt sent in to crush the rioting and the MVD Spetsnazovtsy went in to rescue Armenians in the town. On 9 April1989, they were in Tbilial with the members of the

104th Guards Airborne Division from Kirovabad to quell nationalist unrest. The local Interior Ministry troops were sent in under the command of Interior Forces General Yuri Yefimov, who asked the Defense Forces District Commander Colonel General Igor Rodionov for assistance. Twenty civilians died from entrenching tool injuries and toxic gas. The Defense Forces admitted using 27 canisters of a riot-control agent called cheryomukha but denied that it was toxic, comparing it with tear gas. Statements taken from one member of the Spetsrota present were published in a Lithuanian newspaper on 4 May. He spoke of members of the unit putting on their berets when they arrived and that there was only 100 of the special unit among the paratroopers and other MVD units.

The Spetsrota drew their entrenching tools and started to hack at the crowd regardless of sex or age. The soldier recalls it as a night filled with terror he will never forget. Soon after, on 24 Apri11989, the unit was sent to Perm on the Kama River in the Urals. Three zeks, prison camp inmates, had taken an MVD captain and three female staff hostage.

They were armed with prison picks and were demanding weapons, ballistic vests, and safe passage out of the USSR. A KGB negotiation team tried fruitlessly to get them to surrender. Misha Komisarov, a member of the Spetsrota, describes what happened: "That morning we were told to fly to Perm and arrived at 19:0 hours when it was beginning to get dark. The zeks said they would start killing the hostages in 90 minutes. There were 30 of us in the assault group23; we prepared diversionary munitions24 and cutting charges.

"When zeks killed the captain, we stormed the building, wearing body armor and titanium helmets for protection. We cut an entry port in the wall with explosives. The first unit went in and seized two prisoners. Down the corridor other zeks held the women. We knocked the door down, threw in stun grenades, 25 and released the women hostages."

Thus started a summer of pogroms that took the MVD

Spetsnazovtsy around the USSR in support of MVD internal troops. The first was in Uzbekistan in May 1989, where eventually 12,0 MVD Interior Forces had to be deployed. The unit was deployed to Fergana and supported by the Independent Airborne Regiment formed from the old 105th Guards Airborne Division. This regiment consisted of veterans of the Afghanistan War and

(Parte 3 de 8)