Spetsnaz by Viktor Suvorov

June 26, 2022

Detailed account of the organization and operation of Soviet special forces.

This involved much more explanation and less storytelling than Inside the Aquarium and I’m glad I read that first.

I enjoyed the book far less partly because it was a more dry read, partly because it was distressing reading about Russia’s “total war” tactics as they obviously play out in modern Ukraine, and because I’m extremely put out by how dogs and cats are used (hopefully were used?) by Russian tank brigades.

The book was published in 1988, but this doesn’t feel dated:

Spetsnaz is one of the weapons of a dictatorship. Its battle training is imbued with just one idea: to destroy the enemy. It is an ambition which is not subject to any diplomatic, juridical, ethical or moral restraints.

Nor this, though I’m aware of the irony that we could just as well be describing American military action abroad:

The Soviet Union is always innocent: it only repels perfidious aggressors. On other people’s territory.