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Published on Sep 3, 2009
Russian special purpose regiments or Spetsnaz, Specnaz (Russian: Войска специального назначения, (спецназ) tr: Voyska spetsialnogo naznacheniya, pronounced [spʲetsnas]) is a general term for "special forces" in Russian, literally "special purpose". These Russian special forces can specifically refer to any elite or special purpose units under subordination of the Federal Security Service (FSB) or Internal Troops of Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the units controlled by the military intelligence service GRU.In the Armed Forces, spetsnaz is a term mainly used in connection with GRU-controlled COMINT, ELINT and radio-surveillance units. Spetsnaz carry out reconnaissance and social warfare missions in "peacetime" as well as in war. According to Vladimir Rezun, a GRU defector who used the pseudonym "Viktor Suvorov", there were 20 Spetsnaz brigades plus 41 separate companies. Thus, total strength of Spetsnaz forces was around 30,000 troops at the time, their numbers are unknown today.