Russian Spetsnaz soldiers kill dogs with a shovel in training

President Vladimir Putin may be having a tough time in his invasion of Ukraine, but could still call on some of the world’s most fearsome shock troops to turn the tide in his favor – the elite and bloodthirsty units Spetsnaz of Russia.

The Spetsnaz are Russia’s special forces and currently number around 15,000 split between army and naval units.

The soldiers are as elite as they come and have all gone through a medieval training program with a 90% attrition rate to get where they are.

Spetsnaz training is widely considered the toughest in the world and is designed to make recruits suffer more than they ever have before.

Spetsnaz units are feared around the world

Russian Spetsnaz Forces Are Putin’s Most Powerful Weapon

In order to qualify for the Spetsnaz, recruits must be trained in a variety of modern (and less modern) warfare skills.

These include explosives training, marksmanship, counter-terrorism, brutal hand-to-hand combat, and even underwater combat.

But unlike the Special Forces training followed by members of the British Army, Spetsnaz training is incredibly volatile and often dangerous.

The formation is positively medieval

Recruits are forced to undergo grueling assault courses while instructors shoot them with live ammunition.

Meanwhile, in martial arts classes, Russian forces practice maneuvers with real knives to achieve perfect military composure.

While recruits are in the training program, they are conditioned to endure as much pain as possible, with some reports suggesting recruits are even made to fight wild dogs.

Spetsnaz are trained to feel more pain than humanly possible

A former Soviet officer claimed that even when recruits weren’t training, they were beaten with belts and forced to sleep outside or in the toilet.

But most infamously, a key requirement of the training program has long been rumored to be the war in spades.

This is basically what it sounds like, to join the Russian Spetnaz you should be able to demonstrate your ability to kill someone with just a shovel.

View of members of the Russian and American special forces

According to Infographic’s Show, a notorious part of the training sees a recruit locked in a room with a rabid dog armed only with his shovel.

As they say in the Spetsnaz: “You make a man a weapon”.

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Kristen T. Prall