Spetsnaz SOBR

Eric Sof

Spetsnaz SOBR during the training exercise
Spetsnaz SOBR during the training exercise (Photo: XY)

An elite branch of the special police force in former SSSR was formed on November 9, 1978. All special forces of former SSSR, including military and law enforcement, were called Spetsnaz. An elite police unit was Spetsnaz SOBR where SOBR stands for Special Rapid Response Unit.

Today, inside Russian Federation security system they exist as an elite police force. They are divided through regions, and every main region has one SOBR unit with different call name. For example, the Moscow SOBR Division is named RYS. Other divisions have names as BARS, TEREK, BUKAT, VIKING, BERKUT.

Selection and training

To became a member of this elite unit, you need to pass selection. Selection for Spetsnaz SOBR is one of the toughest in the world. It is multistaged and strict enough to determine who is fit mentally and physically to become a member. Usually, the new members who successfully finish selection have previously served in the Army and they have higher education.

During basic training, each member of SOBR are going through few phases, from basic firearms training to parachute training. During phases, they are training different techniques, martial arts, scuba, mountain training and psychological stability and preparation.

Often, they are marching for hundreds of kilometers with full gear on, and sometimes it weights up to 60 kg. They are able to carry out combat missions, in every place and under every condition.

Inside Spetsnaz SOBR, there are several detachments specialized for various tasks. They have professional alpine climbers with the status of industrial climbers (the only unit it the Russian Interior Ministry). There are also detachments with snipers, divers, parachuters, professional drivers, negotiations, paragliders and so on.

Members of Spetsnaz SOBR are wearing Maroon Beret as part of their history.

Since 2000, members of SOBR periodically travel abroad, to toughest places on the planet with only one goal, to go through survival training in that environment. They have been so far in the Sahara Desert, in the jungles of the Amazon, Venezuela, Peru, Vietnam, Namibia, Himalayas, China…

Today, SOBR is involved in anti-terrorist operations through Russian federation. They have been leading force in last month raid on suspected terrorists in the North Caucasus.

Their training and preparations are in contrast to the other special units of the Russian Ministry of Interior (MVD), because Spetsnaz SOBR developed their individual character. Among regular training preparations already mentioned, they are specially prepared for armed criminals in urban centres, barricaded or not, their fate is certain.

As Spetsnaz SOBR is strictly police unit, they had great connection and conjunction with regular army and police formations in Russia. They also taken part of the Chechen war campaigns where they have been among the first.

Winner of Special Forces World Cup 2015

The championship kicked off at the Royal center for the training of the units of special forces (The King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center – abbreviated KASOTC) in Amman on April 18-23. Under the terms of the tournament, the competition brings together current special forces units from around the world.

The championship was attended by 43 teams from dozens of countries, including the world powers – the US, China, and others.


Spetsnaz SOBR became a four-time gold medalist, two-time silver, and three-time bronze medalist. That was enough to take 1st place in final team rankings.




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