Infantry: February 20, 2002


Regiment- and battalion-size Airborne task forces are undergoing intensive training in preparation for the spring rotation of airborne units in Chechnya. The two regiments and one battalion sized airborne task forces (as well as the 45th separate reconnaissance regiment's composite unit) will be replaced from late March to early April 2002. Ten airborne regiments and over 12,000 paratroopers have served in Chechnya since August 1999. 

Emphasis was placed on individual, combat groups ("triads", three-man fire teams) and airborne assault group training. Based on recent experience, considerable changes has been made to scout, sniper, sapper and medical instructor training programs. The Armed Forces combat training department and the Airborne Staff has conducted a series five-day long training compliance inspections of the various Russian airborne regiments supplying the 2,500 replacements.

Even senior officers are rotated. Russian Airborne Commander Georgy Shpak appointed Colonel Vladimir Plotnikov to be the head of the airborne operations group in Chechnya at the end of December 1999, replacing Colonel Viktor Mikhailov (the Airborne Staff combat training department's senior officer). - Adam Geibel


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