They're MPs, not Spetsnatz as has been falsely reported in a number of places
Russia's Kommersant paper reported yesterday that Russia's Chechen spetsnaz battalions "Vostok" and "Zaped" ("East" and "West" respectively) were being dispatched to Syria.
As Chechnya's Ramzan Kadyrov explained the same day that is complete nonsense since these two units no longer exist having been disbanded in 2008 on Kadyrov's insistence. ("Vostok" was commanded by the Yamadayev clan which was decimated by Kadyrov, and "West" was run by Said-Magomed Kakiyev who despised Kadyrov for having initially fought on the rebel side.)
What seems to have happened instead is that a mainly-Chechen military police unit has been called up to Syria and Kommersant mistook it for the better known Vostok and Zaped battalions.
In fact footage of the military police company in question assembling before the transport has appeared on the internet:
The soldiers are clearly MPs as can be seen by their distinctive red berets. Also they're Chechen seeing how the footage is from Khankala near Grozny and the soldiers are invoking "Allah" in every other sentence. Some of the things that can be heard (in Chechen, ergo the subtitles) in the video are:
- We aren't going to harm anyone there."
- "We're just going to help and nothing more."
- "We do everything with the permission of Allah, trust in him."
- "Good luck guys, I wish you to come back." (Cameraman)
- "We will return the same as we are right now."
So that is that then. For the next several months Russian bases in Syria will be guarded by Allah-fearing Chechens! (Just not Spetsnaz.)