The Alpha Group is a highly secretive and combat-capable special forces unit under Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). With origins in the Soviet Union’s KGB, the unit plays a vital role in operations crucial to the Russian state. It is known for its unique mottos, emblems, and patches, which include a range of symbols to indicate its combat readiness and allegiance to Russia.
- Origins and Evolution: Alpha Group originated as KGB Alpha in 1974 with a primary focus on counter-terrorism activities, including aircraft hijacking prevention. Over the years, the unit expanded its functions and grew in size, ultimately becoming part of the FSB after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- Mottos and Emblems: The unit has distinct mottos, such as ‘To win and return,’ and a unique emblem featuring a shield and a sword to signify its combat capability. The emblem also incorporates elements like a golden “A” and a double-headed eagle to symbolize the unit’s affiliation with the Russian state.
- Variety of Patches: FSB Alpha personnel are identifiable by a range of patches, including special ‘AntiTerror’ patches and back patches with Slavic runic lettering. The patches come in both tactical and non-tactical variants, with designs often inspired by the unit’s emblem.
- Notable Operations: The unit has been involved in several high-profile operations, including the capture of Afghan leader Hafizullah Amin’s palace in 1979, and the failed 1991 coup against Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.
- Training and Expertise: Alpha Group is well-funded and highly trained, with a focus on a broad range of skills including site security, skydiving, and mine-clearing. Its personnel have trained in locations beyond Russia, including the Baltics and Cuba.