Thursday, July 7, 2022

The Sky-Blue Berets of the Russian VDV

The Russian Airborne Forces (ВДВ, or, VDV) is a military branch of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. It was formed in 1992 from units of the Soviet Airborne Forces that came under Russian control following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Troops of the Russian Airborne Forces have traditionally worn a sky-blue beret and blue-striped telnyashka undershirt and are called desant from the French Descente.

The Russian Airborne Forces utilizes a range of specialist airborne warfare vehicles and are fully mechanized. They traditionally have a larger complement of heavy weaponry than most contemporary airborne forces.

The VDV is not only known as one of Russia’s prime fighting forces, but also for their violence, alcohol abuse and harassment of women, homosexuals, darker skinned people and everyone else not fitting the paratroopers’ image of a true Russian.

The 2nd of August is a good day to stay inside the house, in Russia.

The VDV participated heavily in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the opening hours of the invasion, the VDV attempted to secure key airports and support assaults around Ukraine. These paratroopers were recognizable by the orange-and-black Saint George ribbons decorating their helmets and arms.

In late April, Bellingcat journalist Christo Grozev reported that Russia had lost "almost 90% of its best paratroopers". Many helicopters were shot down by Ukrainian defences and the paratroopers were stranded without armoured vehicles or air support.

In early May, the UK MoD stated that the VDV units and other elite forces had suffered high losses and that it would "probably take years for Russia to reconstitute these forces."

On June 18, ISW reported that Colonel-General Andrey Serdyukov, Commander of the Russian Airborne Forces, was fired due to mass casualties among Russian paratroopers.

These photos are not a celebration of the VDV, but acknowledge the great photographic eye of photographer Aleksander Petrosyan.

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