The creation of SWAT in the late eighties was rather a forced measure of the Soviet government. New political course of the state on the democratisation of society was initiated by the nationalist unrest in some Soviet republics. Spurred by the nationalists, the Baltic States first attempted to leave the USSR.
Between a rock and a hard place
In an effort to keep the state in former borders, the Central Committee of the CPSU and the government had adopted specific measures and in all major cities creating units of special police.
In October 1988 by the Soviet Union in the capitals of the Union republics appeared 24 of the detachment of special police. From the Baltic republics by some miracle only the party leaders of Estonia were able to convince the Ministry of internal Affairs of the USSR in the absence of the need to create a riot in its territory, not to "strangle the nascent democracy."
The second of December, 1988 by the order № 206 of the Ministry of interior of the USSR, including the Ministry of internal Affairs of the Latvian SSR, was formed the Riga OMON, numbering 150 people (20 of them officers and 2 non-certified staff).
His task was the protection of public order in major cities of the country, liquidation of mass riots, protection of public order during the period of any catastrophe or natural disasters and the disarmament of illegal groups. In particular, units subordinate to the Ministry of internal Affairs of the breakaway Republic of Latvia, criminal gangs and arms dealers.
The first commander of the Riga OMON was appointed Lieutenant Colonel Edgar I. Lymar. Previously he headed the Department in LOVDT on water transport of the city of Riga, and then — the headquarters of the patrol service of the municipal Department of internal Affairs. With the formation of the Riga OMON was appointed as its commander. After about a year and a half after that appointment, Edgar limar resigned.
In October 1990 squad "special police" was headed by major General Czeslaw G. Mlynnik. Czeslaw G. was born 28 July 1960 in the village of Lovemovie Grodno oblast, Byelorussian. In 1991 he graduated from the Minsk higher school of MIA USSR. (Afghan war veteran, awarded medals "For courage" and "For military merit".) Before his appointment to the post of commander of the Riot, served as the detachment commander of operational platoon, then — the senior inspector of combat training.
In fact, Soviet authorities in the Baltic States already ceased to exist. But Moscow was reluctant to recognize the independence of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and provoked a severe political struggle, in which was involved the Riga OMON. Historians believe the chief cause of all subsequent events — the diarchy established in Latvia in may 1990.
On the one hand, the legally elected Parliament and the government formed by him. With other anti-government coalition: the Communist party of Latvia headed by the first Secretary of the Central Committee of Alfred Rubiks, Intervidenie, the KGB and the Baltic military district (its headquarters was located in Riga).
Initially, the detachment supported the new government. May 15, 1990 he became a hero in the eyes of the Latvian nation. On this day, the first time the military tried to overthrow the Republican Parliament. The staff officers of Privo and dressed in civilian clothes, cadets of military schools stormed the Parliament building. The authorities called the police, who easily parried the attack.
June 18, 1990 from the post of Minister of internal Affairs of the Republic was liberated, Lieutenant General Bruno Steinbrick, the native of KGB and the member of the Central Committee of the CPL, which created a riot and knew how to find policemen with a common language.
The new Minister of the Latvian Republic — the militia Colonel Alois Vaznis, former chief of criminal investigation Department of the Republic, went to a conflict with the "black berets". Started cleaning the squad and on a national basis — life in Riga there was no guarantee that soldiers receive citizenship. And the Latvian language was to learn.
Detachment commander Lieutenant Colonel Edgar limar refused to obey Vaznis and through the newspaper of the Communist party "Soviet Latvia" has declared that will execute only those orders that do not contradict the Constitution of the USSR and the Constitution of the Latvian SSR.
Then the new Minister prohibited the issuance of rebellious Riot police required him money, ammunition and fuel, and the government of the Republic has demanded from the USSR to disband the Riga OMON.
But the then Minister of internal Affairs Vadim Bakatin at the request of the Rubiks ("take into account the growth of separatist sentiment in the Baltic States") has retained the squad, transferring responsibility of his 42nd division of internal troops MVD of the USSR (its headquarters was in Vilnius, and two of the regiment in Riga). In addition to the standard-issue Makarov pistols, Riot police on constant wearing of issued machine guns, grenades, and the squad has added two new APCS.
December 3, 1990 Bakatin at the post of Federal Minister of internal Affairs has replaced the former first Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist party of the Latvian Boris Pugo. His first Deputy was General Boris Gromov, formerly commander of the 40th army in Afghanistan.
During this turbulent time, who not only used the police units in the big political games. Between a rock and a hard place was the Riga OMON.
In 1990 Latvia still declared independence. The Riga OMON officers refused to swear allegiance to the new authorities, and Mlynnik announced that henceforth will be subordinated only to the Minister of internal Affairs of the USSR Boris Pugo. The squad was abroad and virtually outside the law.
Then in Riga there was a representative of the Ministry of internal Affairs of the USSR, directly giving the orders of the Minister of internal Affairs to command of the detachment of militia of special purpose.
In January 1991 by order of the Ministry of internal Affairs of the USSR and the Central Committee of the Communist party of Latvia was occupied and riot police took custody of the printing House — party publisher, the new government nationalized Latvia. There, the separatists could print flyers and leaflets. The activities of this enterprise has been paralyzed by police officers while simply controlled the printing press.
"To restore order and establish the Soviet government in Riga, enough of our squad. We are ready to execute any order of the President. I hope that he will soon be, — said journalists the senior Lieutenant OMON Alexander Kuzmin. — Improve the existing authorities, will take under protection of strategic objects and have a trial of nationalists".
The new leadership of the Ministry of internal Affairs of the USSR tried to calm Vaznis, alarmed by the audacity of the police. On 14 January he received a telegram signed by Gromov: "...As You know, from the Federal Ministry adopted measures to strengthen control over operational activities of the squadron...". But the same day (January 15) riot police disarmed the police Department "Vecmilgravis" in Riga, and later the local Department of the Minsk higher school of the interior Ministry.
In that alarming situation was in reserve of the Ministry of internal Affairs of the USSR Steinbeck stated: "...Such formation, as the riot police, dangerous for any government. Alien commanders appointed from Moscow, riot police do not recognize. Authority enjoyed by Mlynnik, devoid of the restraint. Detachment and is controlled by the Special Department of the KGB of the Baltic military district. The anarchism of their dangerous. Do not rule out new attacks. I don't think that they are fulfilling someone's specific instructions, but do not exclude that they can get the information provoking the guys on those or other actions."
According to later investigation began, January 16, riot police, fearing attacks on captured base "Vecmilgravis", opened fire and accidentally killed the driver of a passing car.
January 18 in Moscow took a report over the signature of Vaznis: "...I have all units and organs of internal Affairs of the Republic of Latvia ordered in the case of intrusion attempts of Riot police to buildings and premises of internal Affairs bodies to open fire on defeat".
But two days later the OMON seized the building of the interior Ministry of the Republic of Latvia, all the weapons stored there, and the documentation for its account. Killing two policemen who were guarding the Arsenal, the operator of the Studio, who filmed the incident on videotape, and the random passer-by.
How to remember the veterans of special police, the reason for the seizure was the fire patrol unit of Riot policemen going on duty shift. The narrow streets, the dark, and that Bastion hill, from where it was fired by riot police, was the dominant height, is not allowed effectively to defend — I had to take the nearest building... the Republican interior Ministry. During the shooting gathered a lot of onlookers, and a stray bullet it is very easy for someone to catch.
The firefight ended as quickly as it had begun. "Look around — to fight-not with anyone. Gathered the weapons and left the building...".
In defiance of "black berets" in Latvia from the national police was created the battalion "white berets". In one of the collisions they surrendered without firing a shot. Riot police disarmed the battalion, taking police uniforms, pistols and machine guns.
— The Baltic States was actively separatism and created their economic borders with customs authorities, — says the commander of the Tyumen OMON Oleg sidorchyk.
Oleg sidorchyk originating from Tallinn... In militia Oleg went by conviction but by this time in the Baltic States began a campaign to slander the Russian-speaking population. "Natives" after Russian, which is, in fact, kept the entire industry of the Republic, are increasingly shouting offensive words, and stadiums bawled nationalist songs. This "revolution" historians then called "singing".
— Expect romance in PPP was not enough — I wanted to try his service in the Riot — says sidorchyk. Then these newly established units went incredible rumors. Supposedly the selection of a squad, like in space...
In early 1991, Estonia in coordination with the Ministry of internal Affairs of the USSR created the police from acting police officers.
Estonians considered it beneath his dignity to serve in the militia, and it is 90% consisted of Russians, who don't speak Estonian. Commanders quietly offered to Russian policemen to sign sheets of paper with unintelligible texts in the Estonian language. As it turned out — the oath of allegiance to the new Estonia. Sidorchyk Estonian owned and not fallen for the bait.
Then, according to the separatists, open borders with Russia have undermined the economy of the new Baltic States and their security, were involved in a battalion of field police (police patrol), in which Aleh sidorchyk served for the posts of "senior coranica" (senior patrol). Refusing to protect the border, he resigned and, after meetings and negotiations with the chief of staff of the Riga OMON Valery Brovkin, in June 1991 was accepted into the squad...
Then the new Latvian authorities accuse fighters in the massacre of seven Lithuanian customs officers at the checkpoint Medininkai on July 31, 1991. According to the version of the same investigation, in attack participated fighters of the Riga OMON, with the assistance of their colleagues from Vilnius OMON, also subordinate to the Ministry of internal Affairs of the USSR.
On 25 January, around 500 police officers of the Riga garrison at its meeting in the social and political center of the Central Committee of the CPL supported the riot and demanded the resignation of the Minister of Vaznis.
Moscow TV showed imbued with sympathy for the Riga OMON movie "Our" then popular television journalist Alexander Nevzorov.
As betrayed by the Riga OMON
In early January 1991, several representatives of the leadership of the CPSU and the Soviet government created the self-proclaimed authority in the USSR — State Committee for emergency situation (GKCHP) tried to forcibly remove Mikhail Gorbachev as President of USSR, to change its course and to disrupt the signing of the "Treaty on the Union of sovereign States", scheduled for 20 August 1991, and thus
to prevent the "lawful" separation of the country into separate States.
From late 1990 until the beginning of August 1991, the members of the GKCHP had intended constitutionally to enter in the country state of emergency.
Without the support of the President of the USSR Supreme Soviet of the USSR, since the beginning of August 1991, they adopted illegal, but specific measures for the preparation of a state of emergency.
Their essence was to isolate from the power of the President of the USSR, blocking the likely attempts of the President of the RSFSR (B. N. Yeltsin) to resist the activities of the emergency Committee and the establishment of constant control of heads of government of the RSFSR.
The emergency Committee hopes laid on the parts of the Soviet Army and special forces to storm the building of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR.
Scenario of military solution of the conflict in the Riga thought the conspirators more "successful" than the same sample forces in Vilnius, where on 12 January at the storming of the television center killed 13 people.
On 19 August 1991 in Moscow the coup (the so-called "August" putsch), and the Minister of internal Affairs Boris Pugo ordered the commander of the Riga OMON to czesław Mlynica to restore the Soviet order in Riga.
As later recalled by Mlynnik, "...on Monday, August 19, at 6 a.m. received instructions Pugo to open the secret package... And after 8 hours all the objects related to the category of special importance, have been completely taken us under control..."
"Black berets" five groups of 10-15 people on several specially sent army combat helicopter MI-8 was dropped on the important objects and without a single shot took and took custody of the municipal Department of internal Affairs, Ministry of interior, the telecentre on the island of zaķusala, long-distance telephone and Telegraph station on Dzirnavu street and the Latvian radio Committee at the dome square.
On the morning of August 20, fighters of OMON have taken the objects transferred to the army and Marines, along with counter-intelligence took over the search for weapons of the separatists, but the operational information about the weapon turned out to be false. By the evening of 20 August, the government of Latvia hid in bunkers bomb shelters, and in Riga, Soviet authorities returned.
As a result, the riot police was removed from power all the separatist forces. For two days the soldiers almost without a single shot took control of all strategic facilities in Latvia. And yet none of the separatists did not go to the rallies and protests.
Activists of the Popular front of Latvia (NFL) were scared and faithfully carried out all the orders "occupiers".
August 21, OMON fighters were preparing to take control of the last object, which was under the control of the supporters of the NFL, is a building of the Supreme Council of Latvia.
Dressed in "the citizen" and with folding machines under clothing OMON fighters in groups of three or four passenger cars were looking for the headquarters DNDL ("Movement for national independence of Latvia") and voluntary nationalist brigades "Karthiga sarge". Found in the headquarters they seized by the nationalist literature and a powerful means of communication on the basis of five brand-new cars GAS-66. These machines — a mobile station is likely to have been stolen from abandoned army depots "emergency ration".
At the headquarters of the special Department of the district people strained to hear the television speech by Boris Yeltsin in Moscow were already over with the emergency Committee...
On the same day the Minister of internal Affairs of the USSR Boris Pugo committed suicide, and the Riga OMON and the military from the Ministry of defence, meanwhile, continued to control the capital of Latvia. But then what to do, they didn't know. Further instructions are not followed...
Without the support and specific commands, the soldiers, to the relief of the Latvian government, after three days he returned to the barracks.
At its base near Riga riot police circled the wagons, and on proposals made by the management of Latvia to give up the soldiers declared that will shoot to the last bullet.
The Supreme Council of Latvia has addressed to Moscow with the request to donate the Riga OMON. Metropolitan Democrats readily agreed and gave the detachment ordered to lay down their arms. But the "black berets" refused. Then the regiment of Marines stationed on the other side of the Daugava river, from Moscow came the order to disarm the riot police.
The Marines warned the command that if someone tries to disarm by force "black berets", then they will go to their rescue. Such intentions were declared by the commanders of several military units. Then in the Baltic army could easily disobey the President.
There were rumors that the destruction of the Riga OMON was sent to group "alpha" KGB of the USSR and informed neighbors-the Marines who controlled the river, informed observers of Riot police on all passing vessels with possible "guests". Fortunately, the rumors were only rumors.
Division interior troops (who were subordinate to the riot police) took a squad with low pay and a visor attached to the APC. But sympathetic Russian citizens at night supplied the fighters with food.
Soon the Council of Ministers of Latvia began "bombing" the Kremlin's requests to relocate "these thugs" somewhere in Russia.
Lithuanian nationalists by this time blocked the Vilnius OMON base. In extreme situation, his soldiers burned all of their personal Affairs. About twenty people with fight broke through police cordons and reunited with the Riga colleagues.
As a result, under the threat of dramatic events, essentially a military revolt, at the highest governmental level the decision on security assurances to soldiers, their families and evacuate them from Riga...
Tags: Russia , Special Forces