Whether in their blue urban camouflage or pitch-black uniforms, their faces masked or unmasked beneath large black helmets, their presence can be intimidating.
The rubber truncheons hanging at their sides or carried in their hands as their heavyboots stomp in sync only adds to the fear factor.
“They are a ‘chip-on-your-shoulder’ class of people, certainly begrudging toward latte drinking, smartphone using… young intelligent types. They are the best and fiercest of those who made it through military training,” said Mark Galeotti, a New York University professor and post-Soviet security affairs expert who has researched security forces in Russia and Ukraine.
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(Photo: Henry Ridgwell/VOA)