October 12, 2011
In recent years, the Russian armed forces started to deploy two types of snipers: infantry snipers and snipers-specialists (recon snipers). The infantry snipers operate within a unit; they are selected among conscripts for their marksmanship and armed exclusively with SVD rifles.
Their preparation, though rigorous, does not require large investments in gear and equipment. The recon snipers, on the other hand, are considered to be elite shooters and are recruited from the ranks of experienced soldiers. They employ so-called "western" sniper tactics and operate by themselves or in pairs.
Using a great deal of concealment, they advance and remain unseen to deliver precision fire. These operatives are utilized mainly by special purpose units and are equipped either with bolt-action foreign or domestic-built rifles or the SVD. This type of snipers most likely will be the main element within the newly created independent sniper detachments.
As for rifles, I seriously doubt that Russians will start purchasing considerable numbers of British rifles apart from Spetsnaz units especially when they have a precision instrument of their own, the famed bolt-action SV-98 that is a very capable weapon whose performance I've witnessed first-hand.
If the Accuracy International AWM-F is found preferable, the Russians will press for a licensing agreement to produce them locally. I don't think Brits will go for it. So, the Russian-built bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles will continue to serve "newly" created independent sniper units just like they've done before.
The Russian built semi-automatic SVD Dragunov sniper rifle continues to be the main weapon of the infantry snipers.
The Spetsnaz snipers are equipped with highly accurate western bolt-action rifles, reflecting the types of missions these professionals are tasked with.
The Recon snipers will continue to use both types of rifles in the foreseeable future, depending on the tactical situation that they may be facing.
Both types of sniper rifles are present on the firing line of the Spetsnaz Sniper Training Center. These elite soldiers need training on both styles.