The history of Russia has shown more than once that this huge country does not take into account losses in people, and the war with Ukraine confirms the old saying in Russia that “the good of the individual cannot oppose what is good for the general public.”

 “One death is a tragedy, a million – is a statistic.” – Joseph Stalin. 

These words spoken by Stalin, for me, clearly show what was in the very soul of Russia in the past and now is still.

Why am I writing about it?

When in February 2014, I commented on the events taking place in the Ukrainian Donbas and Crimea, with my colleagues from my GROM unit, we watched with interest and commented on the appearance of the so-called “Green Men”. Maybe their appearance meant nothing to a layman, but to us special forces soldiers it meant a lot. The appearance of an “ordinary” private soldier can tell a lot about the condition of any army, but it also differs a lot from the equipment of a special unit soldier all over the world. Here, in Central and Eastern Europe during the times of the former Eastern Bloc of the Warsaw Pact, a rank-and-file soldier was never taken care of. The basic equipment was the AK 47 rifle: Kalashnikov, a pouch with four magazines, a tin helmet, a gas mask, a shovel (an infantry shovel), a container with a blanket, a raincoat, and a set of underwear. Tactical vests, additional pouches, a bulletproof vest, and other protectors were unavailable even in the present years.

The appearance on the Russian side of “Green Men” who looked like well-armed and well-equipped soldiers, dressed in green uniforms without any rank markings, who acted thoughtfully, there was no chaos in their behavior, effectively selecting new targets in Ukraine, it gave us a professional image of the Russian Army, and the Russian soldier. You had to fear such an opponent. Everything indicated that the Russian Army underwent a mental, technological and tactical change. Technological, because they began to pay attention to the soldier’s personal equipment, they used knee and elbow pads, ballistic goggles to protect eyesight, and practically all of them had a tactical vest with ballistics and kevlar helmets.

Mentally, because their appearance and the above equipment indicated that they began to care for each soldier separately rather than seeing them as a mob of armed men, and this is important when you want to have devoted and brave soldiers.

And the tactical change, they acted carefully, having a plan, occupying large areas of Ukraine with virtually no firing. Today we know that these “green men” are former soldiers of special forces, airborne troops, and marines of the Russian Federation, but this does not change the fact that they looked and acted professionally and effectively.