A report published last month in the Russian Defense Ministry’s official newsletter, Armeisky Sbornik (Army Collection), makes some unusual claims about the special capabilities the Kremlin’s elite soldiers take with them into the fight. While America may tout the extensive training and advanced technology employed by its own elite special operations units, Russia (which struggles with a significantly smaller defense budget) is now claiming the tactical advantage thanks to honing its soldiers’ super powers.
The piece, entitled, “Super Soldier for the Wars of the Future,” has since been taken down from the Ministry of Defense website, but a basic translation of the document shows some remarkable claims. Russian troops using “parapsychology” tactics were reportedly able to detect nearby ambushes, burn crystals, eavesdrop on enemy communications and even disrupt them – all using the power of their minds.
With an effort of thought, you can, for example, shoot down computer programs, burn crystals in generators, eavesdrop on a conversation, or break television and radio programs and communications,” the report reads.
“Those capable of metacontact can, for example, conduct nonverbal interrogations. They can see through the captured soldier: who this person is, their strong and weak sides, and whether they’re open to recruitment.”
The report goes on to claim some soldiers were able to read documents that were secured inside a safe, even when the documents were written in languages the operators did not know how to speak. These soldiers were also trained in “psychic countermeasures,” according to the report, allowing them to withstand difficult interrogations from super soldiers with physic powers serving in other national militaries. Perhaps the most interesting claim from the report was that these paranormal techniques were utilized by Russian special forces during the Chechnya conflict throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
Even Russian officials have since come out to call the report pseudoscience, suggesting these psychic soldiers must not be permitted to use their talents to persuade those within the Motherland – or, maybe more accurately, suggesting the report itself lacks any real scientific basis. Because it has since been removed from the Ministry of Defense website, it’s difficult to ascertain what, if any, legitimate science was at play during these training rotations and alleged combat operations.
Of course, exploring the paranormal aspects of warfare is not a uniquely Russian endeavor. The United States has also invested time and money into psychic soldiers. In one declassified report produced for the CIA as recently as 1995, Dr. Jessica Utts, a professor of statistics at the University of California, Irvine, conducted a meta-analysis of psychic experiments that were conducted by both the U.S. government and a number of respected private institutions. She came to some startling conclusions:
Using the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic functioning has been well established,” the report states. “The statistical results of the studies examined are far beyond what is expected by chance. Arguments that these results could be due to methodological flaws in the experiments are soundly refuted,” the 32-page report hosted on the CIA’s website reads.
“The magnitude of psychic functioning exhibited appears to be in the range between what social scientists call a small and medium effect. That means that it is reliable enough to be replicated in properly conducted experiments, with sufficient trials to achieve the long-run statistical results needed for replicability.”
Another U.S. Army effort which focused on “remote viewing” and even psychic assassinations later went on to serve as the plot behind the 2009 George Clooney film, “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” Like the Russian claims, these soldiers specialized in seeing foreign locations, gathering intelligence, and as the title suggests, trying to kill goats with their minds.
Like Russia’s claims of super soldiers, however, the endeavor failed to provide any conclusive evidence that these paranormal claims were indeed a means of conducting intelligence gathering or combat operations. For those who believe, Russia’s new report and its subsequent removal seems like proof positive that these efforts remain ongoing and are potentially even real.
But for those skeptical of such things, this seems a lot like just another George Clooney movie in the making, and nothing more.