Russian soldiers have been captured slugging it out in a gruesome boxing fight as part of their qualifications for a special forces beret in a spectacular set of photos.
Volga Federal District’s National Guard special forces servicemen took part in the gruelling test to earn a crimson beret today.
Striking pictures show the men battering each other’s faces bloody at the Bars training ground in the Republic of Tatarstan, southwest Russia.
The soldiers also performed a series of other qualifications tests, including weapons and ammunition drills, kickboxing and obstacle courses.
They hope to earn a crimson beret, worn by elite members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) Spetsnaz units. It is referred to as ‘krapoviy’.
The special annual exam to earn the honour of wearing the beret was devised by Sergei Lysyuk, a former commander of the elite Vityaz special forces unit of the MVD.
He told Russia Beyond:-
‘It all started when I read the book “Alpha Team” by Miklós Szabó, a former US special forces soldier.
‘There, the right to wear the green beret was earned by a gruelling test, with blood and sweat.
‘The book made a very strong impression on me and led me to think of establishing a test for my division, for the right to wear a crimson beret that was not simply a hat, but became a symbol of a highly qualified Spetsnaz commando.’