KGB Alpha team training manual

KGB Alpha team training manual

(Parte 6 de 8)

republic. OMON fired some irritant gas and left. This action came after Col. Gen. Fyodor Kuzmin, the Baltic

District Defense commander; ordered all Latvian police (MVD militia) to hand in their weapons and ammunition. Under the Soviet system, Soviet police have their weapons and ammunition lent from the army-they do not ultimately belong to the republics' interior ministries. President Gorbachev insisted he had not authorized the action in Vilnius, which left 14 dead and 230 wounded.

On 10 January 1991, the OMON unit at Riga was joined by a sniper team from the KGB Alpha team. The operation was a diversionary attack on the Interior Ministry headquarters in Riga, while Alpha team snipers were dropped off on Padomju

Soviet-issue "cherry" or irritant gas given to KGB and MVD units. Photo courtesy of Jim Shortt

Boulevard at the back of a park facing Raina Boulevard, the site of the Interior Ministry. They ascended a small hillock and positioned themselves within a stone ornamental fort so that they had a clear shot down the short R. Endrupa Street at the side of the ministry. Located at 1 R. Endropa Street is the Ridzene Latvian Government Hotel, where Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis was playing host to a Polish trade delegation at a formal dinner in the restaurant on the mezzanine. When the firing started, the bodyguards rushed the prime minister out of the building, but he was shot by a stray round from an Alpha team 7.62mm sniper rifle.

Afterward, OMON claimed it had gone to the Interior Ministry to complain about the alleged rape of the wife of an OMON man. Video footage shows that they stormed the building, firing indiscriminately, killing a Ukrainian police officer, and forcing people to dive for cover. The Alpha team fired some shots for effect. Below them in the park, a TV film crew saw the flash and movement and went to investigate. Two of the crew were shot, including the cameraman, who kept the camera rolling as he died. A police lieutenant rushed through the park to the cries for help, and as he approached the small footbridge, he too was shot by the sniper team's security party. The prime minister's bodyguards, suspecting an ambush, took the VIPs out a back entrance.

The prime minister reached his office safely and telephoned

Marshal Yazov for an explanation. Yazoz said he knew nothing of the affair. The OMON group led by Lt. Alexander Kuzmin, an

Estonian-born Russian, numbered approximately 100. The Interior Ministry contained the deputy minister and 14 others.

Next, the OMON unit attacked the Ridzene Hotel, firing wildly at the glass front. Then shots were fired at the mezzanine. The bullet holes can still be seen in the glass balcony. The casualties from the OMON/Alpha operation numbered two police and two civilians dead and two police and seven civilians wounded.

The attacks on the customs posts in the three Baltic republics became the center piece of OMON action until the Moscow coup. On 20 March, the Vilnius OMON opened fire on a bus of unarmed Lithuanian border guards returning from their shift and wounded three men. The OMON beat up two of the wounded and took them to a local Soviet military garrison. Two days before, the Vilnius OMON had seized Lithuanian Defense Minister Audrius Butkjavicius in the street. In mid-May, more customs posts in Lithuania were attacked, and on the night of May 2, the Riga OMON attacked and destroyed customs offices in Latvia. On the same night, armed men in civilian dress (from Interfront's paramilitary arm) attacked Estonian customs offices.

On 30 May, the Riga OMON was placed under investigation for criminal acts by the USSR procurator general. Throughout the summer attacks on the Baltic States customs post continued. On 7 June armed men in civilian clothes attacked and destroyed an Estonian customs post at Luhamaa. On 9 June another Estonian customs port near Narva was attacked and destroyed. Two customs official were kidnapped and taken into the Russian Republic, where armed Russian MVD militia arrested the terrorists, who turned out to be members of the Interfront (Estonia) paramilitary unit.

Following this attack the Estonian government decided to arm its border guards. But before this policy could be put in to operation, unidentified armed and uniformed man attacked and destroyed border posts in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. This was followed by an attack by Riga OMON on the customs post in the capital. On 18 June unidentified armed men again attacked posts in Latvia and Lithuania.

On 26 June, the Latvian OMON commander, Major

Makutinovich, turned up in Lithuania to lead an OMON raid on the central telephone exchange. This effectively cut Lithuania off from the world but also threw international air-traffic control lines into jeopardy. Coordinated with this attack, armed men attacked two electrical energy transfer stations. Their action placed the Ignalina nuclear power station at risk.

In Riga, a former OMON soldier, who had resigned in disgust after the attempted assassination of the prime minister, was found murdered. The soldier had contacted former colleagues in the Latvian Interior Ministry and told them what was happening within the OMON, providing photographs and membership records for the unit. The scene-of-crime officers believe the slain soldier knew his attacker; apparently he had been called over to a car, a pistol was shoved in his eye, and the trigger pulled-a technique shown in this manual. Murder had become the name of the game.

In Moscow, 30,0 demonstrators protested against the action in the Baltic States and called for Gorbachev and Yazov to resign. The Moscow OMON and the Felix Dzerzhinsky Division waited with other Interior Ministry troops in the side streets behind the GUM department store in case of trouble. On the USSR's western border, the 103rd Guards Airborne Division, under control of the KGB Border Guards Directorate, was deployed. Among other things, the division seized film and videotape from journalists who had come from the Baltic States. On 27 January 1991 the

Lithuanian OMON was at it again, this time destroying two Lithuanian customs posts.

. The prosecutor general of the USSR, General Nikolai Trubin, later ruled that OMON's actions in Lithuania and Latvia were illegal and the members should face prosecution, but the USSR MVD and KGB did not assist his enquiries, claiming that OMON was not their responsibility. Yet Czeslaw Mlynnik, who participated in the Spets group's attack on President Arnin's Palace in

December 1979, led the Latvian OMON. In October 1990,just before the attack, he was a senior lieutenant. In January he made captain, and later he became a major-all within six months. His coconspirator was Alfred Rubiks, the former Latvian CPSU boss.

In the months before the August coup, Major Makutinovich would be a regular and welcome visitor at 46 Ogaryova Street, Moscow-the MVD headquarters for the USSR.

In February 1991, the Estonian MVD opened its first police school at Paikus, south of the port of Parnu. I was asked to return that spring to Estonia to retrain the bodyguards, advise on future equipment purchase, teach a CQB course at the new school, and train members of the police reserve.3 I returned to Estonia on my own, and the KGB customs service played games with the paper- work. This time the papers for my weapons were in order, but I required the signature of tho KGB boss for Estonia, Rein Sillar, and he could not be contacted. After conferring with the secret service officers who met me, I decided to let the KGB hold the weapons until Sillar could be located, and in the meantime the Estonian police gave me a Makarov and ammunition to carry for my own safekeeping.

The training took place, and I made plans to return with a four-man IBA team in June. At Pirkus I arrived in the president's Chaika limousine, lent for the journey. Weapons handling and firing of AKS-74U and Makarov (PM) pistol training took place in COB-mode, followed by rukopashnyi bol, arresting techniques, and prisoner handling. At this point, we openly referred to the terrorists as Lithuanian and Latvian OMON, Estonian

Interfront activists, and Russian mafia. Boris Pugo, the USSR MVD minister, had gone an record to say that Estonia had the worst crime rate in the USSR. Of course it did-he and his KGB colleagues had exported all their criminal gangs to the country. In January, at the height of the Baltic crisis, two Swedish trade union leaders, Sarti! Whinberg and Ove Froderiksson, had been kidnapped, robbed, and murdered. This had the effect of dissuading other foreign visitors from coming to invest in the Baltic States, for a while.

At the end of May in 1989, the USSR Central Sports

Committee based at Dynamo in Moscow invited me to fly to Moscow and discuss training troops. I was asked not to bring any weapons, as these would be provided for me. I was met before I reached customs by Josif, a member of the committee and an interpreter from Moscow University. Over lunch, I met "former" KGB officers, including Anatoli, a veteran of the Afghan War and Osnaz. Arrangements were made for me to travel to the Crimea,

Estonian special unit at Tallinn Airport being trained by Jim Shortt to handle hijack scenarios. The troops carry equipment taken from KGB Alpha Teams. Photo courtesy of Jim Shortt even though my visa permitted travel in Moscow only. Josif and I took a reserved sleeping compartment and some caviar and set off by rail for Simferopol in the Crimea. We passed through Tula and the Ukraine, and the next morning we entered the Crimea. Our carriage attendant, a young woman, had alerted railway police that a foreigner was on board without the correct visa. At Simferopol station, Nikolai, a major in the KGB, met the train with a giant of a man, another KGB officer named Sasha, and a KGB interpreter. The major took out his red KGB ID card, and the car attendant looked like she would shrivel to dust on the spot. He spoke firmly to her, and she just nodded repeatedly.

We loaded in to a KGB microbus, a VW look-alike called a

Latvia. This took us to the Crimean KGB headquarters. Opposite was the Dynamo Sports Center and Dynamo Hotel reserved for KGB use. A suite was provided with bedroom, bathroom, sitting room, and hall. I was impressed. Over the next days KGB agents Nikolai, Sasha, and Volodya were my tourist guides. Before I left I ran a short course at the DOSAAF center for KGB person-

KGB Alpha Team target shows little girl being held by hostage. Photo courtesy of Jim Shortt

These photos were taken during training sessions conducted by Jim

Shortt and other IBA personnel at the Soviet Airborne Forces Academy from February through August 1989.


nel on instinct shooting and hitting partly obscured targets where hostages are involved. The KGB Alpha team targets were produced, showing a pistol-wielding desperado holding a little girl in front of him. The KGB people were suitably happy, but then came the crunch: they asked me to stop working with the Baltic States' governments. After all, the KGB said, the Baltic States were just boys, amateurs. The KGB hinted that if I stopped, then courses for

OMON and other specialist MVD and KGB units could be arranged. I politely declined .

This manual was used to train special assignment personnel who now work for a Russian nation that still wishes to dominate or influence the area of the former Soviet Union, or who work for Russian criminal gangs. I do not believe the West's problems with the former Soviet Union finished with the coup's failure. This manual is a product of covert active measures. When I trained anti-Spetsnaz special units within NATO and for neutral governments, such as Sweden, we weren't allowed to identify the threat as being Soviet. NATO spoke of "Orange Forces," and the Swedes referred to "Sabotageforband."The pictures of Osnaz in this manual killing U.S. Special Forces and U.S. 1st Cavalry Division personnel show that the Soviet Union suffered no such restrictions in their training.

NOTES Spetsnaz-acronym of voiska spetsial'nogo naznacheniya forces of special assignment or special-purpose forces Naval Infantry-similar to U.S. Marine Corps MVD-Ministerstvo VvnutrennikhDel, Ministry oflntemal Affairs -KGB-Komitet Gosuderstyennoi Bezopasnosti, Committee for State Security CHON-chasti osobogo naznacheniya, special assignment detachments The KGB was still hunting the Estonian Forest Brothers well into the 1960s. OMSBON-Otdelnyei motostrelkovye brigady osobnnogo naznacheniya, or inde- pendent special purpose motorized brigades Osnaz-an abbreviation of osobogo naznacheniya, another specialist designation Communist Party of the Soviet Union Smert'Shpionam-Death to Spies GRU--Glavnoe Razvedyvatel'noe Upravlenie, the central reconnaissance directorate of the Defense General Staffs GTO-Gotov k Trudei Oborone, Ready for Labor and Defense of the USSR program of the All Union Sports-Technical DOSAAF-Dobrovol'noe Obshchestro Sodeistriya Armii, Aviatsii i Flotu, Voluntary Society for Cooperation with the Army, Air Force, and Navy "Summer Lightning"

KGB ALPHA TEAM TRAINING MANUAL All-Union Leninist Communist Union for the Young "Uttle Eagle" V oennosportivnyikomp/eh-military sports activities In Russian, kholodnye oruzhiye Samooborona bez oruzhiya in full

"'Equivalent to officer cadets Spetsrota Krapovye berety Gruppa zakhvata Imitatsiya Zarga No relation to the Italian variety n Otryady militsii osobogo naznacheniya-police battalion of Special assignments

,. By K.G. Andreev and M.Y. Davidov Russian term for Mghan War veteran (plural, afghantsy) "'A comfortable, two-bedroom suite (I stayed in one in Ryazan), but not up to the standard of a U.S. enlisted person's quarters Boris Pugo, former Latvian KGB chief The Azerbaijani OMON numbered 5,0 men. A special (not reserve or part-time) unit held in reserve for antiterrorist work that has regular officers, mostly ex-Spetsnaz Sabotage groups

It is not often that one outside of intelligence or military circles has the opportunity to read an official armed forces publication from the ex-Soviet Union. I am glad to have had the chance to work on this one.

It is generally a safe assumption that the language and style of military manuals the world over are stilted, limited, and repetitious. I was not disappointed in this by KGB Alpha Team Training Manual. I have rendered the original into English as faithfully as possible, including the retention of a few russianisms or sovietisms.

The much beloved phrases moral no-psikhologicheskii and moral no-politicheskii have no exact equivalents in English, but are (or were) extremely important in party and military doctrine. They are given in this translation as "moral-psychological" and "moral-political." They have little to do with morality, but everything to do with morale. The term "cold weapon(s)" has been kept: it is very descriptive (and authentic) and avoids endless repetition of "edged/pointed weapons" or some such.

I have not tampered with archaisms (e.g., knocking an enemy off a horse), or some of the alarmingly simplistic, not to say optimistic, how-tos for certain actions. A few vague descriptions in the original had to be finessed by the use of "hand/arm" or "feet or legs," for instance. Hand and arm have the same word in Russian, as do foot and leg. Finally, the opportunity to translate this manual has ensured that I will never forget the Russian word for crotch (for those interested, it is promezhnost).

(Parte 6 de 8)