Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / Special Operations: Theory and capabilities / Articles
Six declassified operations of the GRU of the General staff of the USSR armed forces
Material posted: Publication date: 28-03-2017
The Soviet Union possessed vast military capabilities. Giant Intercontinental missiles, the biggest and fastest in the world, nuclear submarines, thousands of tanks, powerful ocean-going fleet and other delights of the Cold war. But in addition to the powerful clubs for a full-scale confrontation with the West was still a virtually invisible GRU is able to perform tasks of fantastic complexity on the territory of other States, while remaining under a veil of secrecy.

Gradually the time frame for imposing secrecy on the actions of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Soviet Union to expire, and some foreign operations of spetsnaz GRU become public. A selection of these episodes, able to outdo any American action, introduces You to the magazine "Word and Deed".

Throw on "Cobra"


The first major operation of this kind relates to 1968. Ten people from the GRU special forces attacked a secret us facility, located in Cambodia on the border with Vietnam. From this base, the Americans carried out reconnaissance and raids for downed pilots.

On the base there was a number of various helicopters, among them wormed four newest "Cobra" with a previously unknown guidance system and guided missiles.

In the result of a carefully prepared attack one the Cobra was stolen in Vietnam and the remaining equipment is destroyed. The whole operation took 25 minutes and there were no losses. However, only a few years later because of a leak in the KGB the Americans learned that the secret helicopter they have from under the noses taken away by Russian special forces.

Hot 1968

"Prague spring" of 1968 ended the "operation Danube", in which the United group of forces of the Warsaw Pact countries was introduced in Czechoslovakia. The first top secret operation began the GRU.

So nobody suspected anything, the plane onboard which there was a SWAT team, faked an emergency with engine failure and landed at the Prague airport. Further events developed at breakneck speed; the capture of the airport was completed in 9 minutes, 21 seconds.

Immediately after the report on the success of the operation on the captured airfield transporting airborne division and special forces quickly seized the railway stations, Telegraph stations and government agencies. The government of Czechoslovakia was taken to Moscow, and GRU has chalked up another operation, which the famous German commando Otto Skorzeny called "brilliant."

Angolan trophy


The cold war has not bypassed Africa, though more or less promoted only military clashes involving Egypt. But the rest of the Black continent was hot.

So arming the rebels from Angola, out of nowhere, appeared MANPADS "stinger". It happened before with American MANPADS met the soldiers of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Of course, before GRU was tasked to get this set for research.

Unfortunately, to capture the "stinger" in Angola failed, but in the end the territory of the USSR the GRU was taken out of the Chinese tank T-59, captured near Luanda.

Beirut offer

At the end of September 1985, several employees of the Soviet Embassy were taken hostage by a unit of Hizbollah Monata Mat al-Jihad al-Islami, the head of which stood Imad Mughniyah. The hostages had to be rescued immediately, so the operation was brought by the group "Vympel" under the command of General Yuri Drozdov.

Promptly disappeared for more than 10 commanders of the Lebanese intelligence services, who were the closest associates of Mughni. After these disappearances, he was thrown to select the next kidnapping victim. Mughniyah quickly realized that if he so easily delivered the letter, and can steal without batting an eye, and the next day the hostages were released.

The Palace Of Amin

The seizure of the Palace of the head of Afghanistan, Hafizul Amina — perhaps the most famous operation of the GRU. The Palace "Taj Beck" was captured in 40 minutes, the forces of the GRU and groups, "Grom" and "Zenit" (later to become the offices of A — "alpha" and "Vympel").

The loss of the GRU were 7 people, despite the fact that guarding the Palace was four times bigger than the attackers, and the preparation of these guards was higher than that of ordinary soldiers. During the assault, Amin has been destroyed, which is a clear success of the operation.

"Stinger". Photo:

In Angola to grab the latest American MANPADS did not work, but to do it in Afghanistan was critical, because the Mujahideen successfully used them against Soviet aircraft.

Fortune smiled on the group of special troops GRU under command of Lieutenant Vladimir Kovtun. Finding a group of spooks motorcyclists, the SAS organized a pursuit, which in the hands of Kovtun was captured "stinger", which instantly was sent by helicopter to the base and further study in the USSR.

In conclusion

In place of the GRU special forces under the Special Operations Forces. There is no doubt that the tradition of an elite special unit has carried over to this new Russian structure, and the men of the SSO to adequately continue the work of the GRU spetsnaz. However, no precise information. Privacy...

Adanin Gregory


RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security