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MVD Special Purpose Detachments

Two company sized MVD units, the Special purpose company (RSN) and the Special purpose militsiia detachment (OMSN), were created in December 1978 and 1980, respectively, from the MVD Dzerzhinskii Division as counterterrorist units. Under Gorbachev both companies grew to battalion size.

The OMON [Detachments of Special Designation] were created in 1987. By 1991 there were an estimated 9,000 OMON troops deployed throughout the USSR, while another estimate suggested that as of late summer 1992, there were 5,500 OMON personnel organized into 20 detachments around Russia. Created to deal with terrorist incidents, serious criminal activities and the "maintenance of public order," OMON units are organized like SWAT teams or light infantry, depending on their roles. These units also are deployed to conflicts beyond their immediate operating areas. OMON units gained notoriety for their repressive and lethal activities in the Baltic republics and are based in many other republic areas. In the face of growing drug-cultivation problems the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union, the Ministry of Internal Affairs Militia OMON were employed starting in 1992 in drug-eradication efforts.

Internal troop spetsnaz units fell under the control of the MVD in 1992, and they continue to be deployed to trouble spots and are among the most experienced and effective of all Russian forces in dealing with interethnic conflict. Activated in 1978, these forces have grown substantially and are currently organized in brigade, battalion and company increments.

Sources and Methods


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Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood

Updated Wednesday, November 26, 1997 5:56:23 PM