The Russian special forces
, or Spetsnaz (lit. "troops of special purpose
"), were a force that first came to the attention of the West during the height of the Cold War
, in the early-1970s. There were thought to be some 30,000 Spetsnaz soldiers, specialised in demolitions
and midget submarine
The Spetsnaz were a closesly-guarded secret within the Warsaw Pact nations, and did not reveal their identity to even their own forces - they would wear normal army or navy uniforms to conceal themselves.
Joining the Spetsnaz was possible with no previous military training - a man off the street could go right for it. Of course, they first had to go through standard Soviet military training (discipline, marching, basic weapons use) and then they'd move on to the more specialised Spetsnaz skills such as handling special weapons, marksmanship, foreign languages, hand to hand combat, parachute insertion, vehicle handling, explosives, assassination, knife combat and extreme physical fitness based on endurance and strength.
The Spetsnaz's role is most likely to be in the build-up to a war: they are capable of carrying out deep reconnaisance into enemy territory and marking important targets, and dealing with these targets if necessary. Infrastructure such as railroads, factories and bridges would be high on the priority list.