The Russian military has been paying attention to the United States use of and training of their Special Operations forces. And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Russians are giving the US Special Operations Forces a big compliment.

The Russian are tailoring the use of their Special Operations Forces as well as their equipment after the US model. In many instances, the Russian soldiers are nearly indistinguishable from the US operators.

Like the U.S., the Russian military clearly sees how a small number of these specially-trained and equipped troops can have an outsized influence on the battlefield — particularly against poorly organized, commanded and equipped terrorist forces like ISIS.

On May 10, the Russian military bestowed high honors on 13 members of a special forces unit that reportedly killed 300 ISIS fighters in Syria — that’s an average of 23 EKIA per man.

And by the looks of this video from the Russian Special Operations Forces, Moscow’s commandos have taken a few pages out of Washington’s playbook. From their thumb-over-bore rifle handling, to their Multicam uniforms to their OpsCore helmets and red-dot optics, the Russian special operators have clearly learned the lessons of America’s anti-terrorism experience and applied it to their best trained troops.

“We had a good advantage in terms of armament and equipment, including thermal imaging sights,” one Russian commander said of his troops’ experience in Syria. “All this added to our success.”

The Russian Bear has been paying attention to the US’ involvement in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. They are convinced of the value of smaller, more versatile, Special Operations teams. And they’re becoming very adept at using their Special Operations troops in Syria. Their level of training and professionalism is rapidly improving. As a potential foe in a conflict down the road, they’ll be a very worthy adversary for any enemy.

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Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry