The Spetsnaz GRU, or Russian army special forces, are the original Spetsnaz and are generally considered the best trained units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, as evidenced by both its seniority among the Special Forces (Spetsnaz GRU are much older than their KGB (formerly Tcheka) Osnaz counterparts and their colleagues from the MVD) and their reputation within the Union (Cf. V.Suvorov). They are a special unit under the control of GRU (Glavnoye Razvedyvatel’noye Upravleniye is the acronym for the foreign military intelligence directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation).
During World War II reconnaissance and diversionary forces were formed under the supervision of the Second Department of the General Staff. These forces were subordinate to the commanders of Fronts. The situation was reviewed after the war ended, and between 1947 and 1950 the whole of the GRU was reorganised. The first ‘independent reconnaissance companies of special purpose’ were formed in 1949, to work for tank and combined-arms armies. In 1957, the first Spetsnaz battalions were formed, five to eliminate enemy nuclear weapons systems such as MGR-3 Little John and MGM-1 Matador.The first brigades were formed in 1962, reportedly to reach up to 750 kilometres in the rear to destroy U.S. weapons systems such as the MGM-52 Lance, MGM-29 Sergeant, and MGM-31 Pershing. Two ‘study regiments’ were established in the 1960s to train specialists and NCOs, the first in 1968 at Pechora near Pskov, and the second in 1970 at Chirchik near Tashkent.Later operations included Operation Storm-333.