Spetsnaz teaches the Stalinist method
to police and military groups.
CANADA'S SECRET SOVIET SCHOOL
There's a photo on a desk of Schwarzenegger.
How to fight like a man
Vlad the Impaler: Can a Russian secret agent turn you into a killing machine?
by Barrett Hooper, National Post, Jan 26, 2002
Vladimir Vasiliev is the chief instructor at the Russian Martial Art School in Thornhill, north of Toronto.
Russian Martial Art, or Systema, is a "unique, practical and devastating defense from any form of attack based on the training of the Russian Special Forces."
Russian Special Forces - Voiska Spetsialnogo Naznachenia - or simply Spetsnaz, was created in 1974 to act independently of the Red Army and epitomized the menace and power of the Soviet State. It was the USSR's secret weapon during the Cold War. Spetsnaz helped the Soviets overthrow the government of Afghanistan in 1979 by storming the national palace in Kabul and gunning down President Amin and his family. In 1985, when terrorists took over the Soviet embassy in Beirut, a Spetsnaz strike team infiltrated the embassy, abducted four of the terrorists and sent one of their decapitated heads in a bag to the terrorists' leader.
Even today, Spetsnaz is the most exclusive -- and most secretive -- military unit in the world, more elite than the USA's famed Navy Seals or Delta Force. Comprised of snipers, explosives experts and close-quarters combat specialists, Spetsnaz handle counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, sabotage and reconnaissance missions. They operate in Chechnya and the Russian breakaway republics, and there are rumours of Spetsnaz operators in Afghanistan, helping with the hunt for Osama bin Laden. A March, 1999, Time magazine story about Spetsnaz soldiers freelancing as muscle for the Russian Mafia called them "a sinister force" and the "perfect killers."
Vladimir Vasilev is a 10-year Spetsnaz veteran, a "spec-ops warrior" right out of a Tom Clancy novel, a special operative who trained other soldiers.
Vasiliev's gym is next to a dance studio at the rear of an industrial building in Thornhill. A handful of wrought-iron steps lead to the only door, and a sign in the window states: Russian Martial Art -- The System.
The practice area displays large flags of Canada, Russia and Spetsnaz, with its black bat-like symbol on a light blue background.
Systema is a one-of-a-kind hand-to-hand combat style that dates back to AD900 ... When the Communists came to power in 1917, the Bolshevik regime supressed all national martial traditions. But authorities under Stalin recognized the potency of RMA and reserved it for its elite military units.
For decades the training was shrouded in secrecy...until Vasiliev set up shop, becoming the world's first -- and foremost -- practitioner of the Russian Martial Art outside his homeland.
Today, there are 26 schools in countries around the world, certified by Vasiliev to teach the System. Students, both men and women, from a variety of backgrounds, come to Thornhill from as far away as England and France to train with him. ... There are wealthy businessmen wanting bodyguard-type training and a number of people with police and military backgrounds -- US Marines and Army Rangers, members of the French Foreign Legion and British Army, and at least one bodyguard for the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia.
When the class is over, Vasiliev and I move into a cramped office to talk. ...His wife, Valerie, joins us to translate. She's a physiotherapist who immigrated to Canada in the early '80s from Leningrad (now St Petersburg). They married in 1992, and have two young daughters.
Vasiliev doesn't look like a killer. You could sit next to him on a bus and not notice him. That's what made him the perfect choice for Spetsnaz. "They try to pick someone who was average-looking, who could blend in, who would not stand out and could do the missions, someone who didn't look like Arnold," says Vasiliev, pointing to a photo on a desk of Schwarzenegger and Valerie. "You must be able to disappear in the woods, in a crowd, disappear in empty room."
Vasiliev grew up in Tver, an industrial city 200 kilometres northeast of Moscow. His father was a general in the Red Army who died when Vasiliev was a boy. He has a sister and a brother in Russia, although he can't say what his brother does because, like much of Vasiliev's background, it's classified.
Military service was compulsory in the former Soviet Union, so after high school, Vasiliev enlisted. Along with a handful of recruits who showed promise, he was selected for advanced training by Spets veterans acting as informal talent scouts. (Soviet Olympic athletes, particularly those in martial-oriented sports like shooting and wrestling, are also said to have been a recruiting pool for Spetsnaz.)
"The saying used to be that you either went into the Spetsnaz or into prison," a former Spetsnaz officer is quoted as saying in Time. Vasiliev often got into fights. "In Russia, street fights are common," he says. "People are always ready to go. It is normal for our culture. Fights happen in restaurants, bars, everywhere."
"When I fought, it would happen so quickly, people would be lying on the ground and I couldn't remember what I had done."
At Spetsnaz, Vasiliev was groomed for one of the Special Operations Units (SOU), an elite group so secretive most members didn't know they belonged to it until months or years later. Only the highest-ranking military officers were aware of its existence.
The SOU were used in the highest-risk missions for the KGB and other government bodies. In the parlance of the intelligence community, they handled "wet works," assignments where things often got messy, such as kidnappings and assissinations.
Vasiliev had studied karate and boxing, and trained with a mysterious 70-year-old fighter he calls Uncle Peter, whose style "developed out of dealing with samurai warriors. It had to be instant reaction and you only let your opponent do one move." But the Spetsnaz training was beyond rigorous. His instructors beat him every day and gave him electric shocks to toughen him. He had his arms bent behind him "until you started screaming because you couldn't take the pain any more," and then he would be jabbed with a knife. "They wanted to see to what extreme you could go before breaking. They also used this exercise to teach you how to relax under pain and open up new personal potentials for endurance." There were cold-weather swims -- there's an SOU saying that "the water is too cold for swimming only if it's ice" -- and he was forced to fall on to huge anthills and let thousands of insects bite him. He was taken to morgues and serious car crashes and forced to carry dead bodies to make him less sensitive to the "gore and pain." The aim, he says, was to create a soldier "immune to the psychological torment of battle. They wanted their elite special operations units not to fear death."
Vasiliev eventually became an instructor, teaching the System to Spetsnaz soldiers, KGB agents, government bodyguards and police officers. But after more than 10 years in the military, Vasiliev was ready "to see the world without machine guns." He left the force in the mid-'80s and moved to Toronto in 1990, where he worked several odd jobs and eventually met Valerie.
When I ask Vasiliev what his Spetsnaz missions involved, he answers in Russian, "Counter-espionage," Valerie says, "to remove something, to steal a piece of information or an object. Or to kidnap a person or to kill."
"Were you ever involved in kidnapping or assassination?"
Valerie looks to her husband and Vasiliev gives a slight pause before answering in English. "You can say I know about that," he says. "I was very close to that."
In Toronto, Vasiliev stumbled into his current occupation by chance. While exercising at a local community centre, he demonstrated a few System moves to a friend, attracting an audience and eventually a few students, who he taught in the basement of his home. In 1993, he opened the first school of Russian Martial Art in North America. Within six months, he had more than 100 students and had recouped the initial $10,000 investment.
Vasiliev has produced 13 videos ... sold through martial arts supply stores and magazines and on his Web site, along with other Russian Martial Art merchandise.
Vasiliev now travels several times a year to give seminars across North America and in Europe. He has just returned from a weekend instructional camp in New Jersey. "Commando training -- strangulation, how to creep through woods, sneak attacks, stuff like that," he says.
He also sponsors annual training sessions in Toronto with Mikhail Ryabko, his own instructor at the Spetsinstitute, the top-secret training facility in Moscow. Trained in the System since the age of five by one of Stalin's personal bodyguards, Ryabko was recruited by Spetsnaz at 15; he is currently the tactical commander of hostage-rescue teams and counterterrorist operations for the SOU. It's through him and other contacts within the Russian military that Vasiliev receives authorization from the Russian Interior Ministry to bring as many as 30 students -- those who can afford th (US)$3,000 cost -- to Moscow every spring to train with members of the counterterrorist and hostage rescue units of Spetsnaz.
The week-long event, a kind of tourist boot camp, offers "authentic military training" on a secure Special Forces base. Students are given an official Spetsnaz uniform and put through a series of drills: hand-to-hand combat training, live-fire exercises, tactical field combat techniques and a ride on an armored personnel carrier. The fee includes sightseeing excursions around Moscow and visits to Red Square, the Kremlin and the Bolshoi Ballet. ~ National Post, Jan 26, 2002
Obama says he was actually born on Krypton (sent here by father Jor-El to save planet Earth). YouTube, Oct 27, 2008. Go to 27.Goodthink (this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy). Go to CLARK KENT SUPERMAN SOVIET COMMIE
Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen (born in Kenya, citizen of Indonesia; can't produce USA birth certificate; goes against Constitution to be President; illegal aliens can't even be Senators; may have loyalty to another nation). YouTube, Oct 27, 2008. Go to 17.Falsification of Past & 22.Doublethink (claiming blackwhite in contradiction of facts)
Russia's giant. LA Times, Jan 27, 2006 Stalin's half-man, half-ape. Pittsburg Tribune, Dec 28, 2005 Cops' message to people of Canada ('Do as you're told & you won't get hurt'). Province, Jul 1, 2003. Go to 37.We Are The Dead & ANIMAL FARM DOGS & CANADA COPS UNLEASHED NEW SUPERMAN A SOVIET (Clark Kent a Commie created by Russian Jews). National Post, May 12, 2003. Go to WORLD DOMINATION IN 1984 Atomic scientist was known Communist (worked with allies on bomb & reported to Soviet handler). National Post, Jan 24, 2003. Go to 35.The Brotherhood & 13.Weapons Case against Jane Fonda (she aided & abetted enemy). FrontPageMag, Sep 24, 2002. Go to VIETNAM USA 'A-Bomb' chief a Communist (wrote literature for secret cell). New York Times, Sep 8, 2002 Pearson's gay ambassador to Moscow compromised Canadian security?. National Post, Nov 28, 2001 Legendary spy carries secrets to his grave ('super-mole' headed Canada's spy agency?). National Post, Nov 27, 2001. Go to COMMUNISM BY ANY OTHER NAME... Jackie Jura email: email@example.com
In the rest of the world, Valuev, 32, is known as the "Beast from the East". Promoter Don King wants to call him "King Kong" when he defends his title in the U.S....Valuev himself strode into the gym recently during his triumphant return to Russia after the title bout, in which he defeated American John Ruiz on a controversial decision in Berlin to become the tallest (7 feet) and heaviest (323 pounds) world champion in history. He's so big he usually steps into the ring over the top rope … so big that the adolescent pugilists at the Stepashkin Club would have barely been able to land a hook as high as his belly, if they had the nerve to try.
Stalin reportedly ordered Ilya Ivanov, the USSR's top animal breeding scientist, to produce a new invincible human being with immense strength who was insensitive to pain and indifferent to the quality of the food he ate -- and with an underdeveloped brain...The inability to reason is the inability for treason. Humans, little more than two-legged mules that must withstand every misery produced by failed attempts at five-year plans and hegemony -- and who dare not complain about food -- exist only to serve the collective.
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~
Russia's giant. LA Times, Jan 27, 2006
Stalin's half-man, half-ape. Pittsburg Tribune, Dec 28, 2005
Cops' message to people of Canada ('Do as you're told & you won't get hurt'). Province, Jul 1, 2003. Go to 37.We Are The Dead & ANIMAL FARM DOGS & CANADA COPS UNLEASHED
NEW SUPERMAN A SOVIET (Clark Kent a Commie created by Russian Jews). National Post, May 12, 2003. Go to WORLD DOMINATION IN 1984
Atomic scientist was known Communist (worked with allies on bomb & reported to Soviet handler). National Post, Jan 24, 2003. Go to 35.The Brotherhood & 13.Weapons
Case against Jane Fonda (she aided & abetted enemy). FrontPageMag, Sep 24, 2002. Go to VIETNAM
USA 'A-Bomb' chief a Communist (wrote literature for secret cell). New York Times, Sep 8, 2002
Pearson's gay ambassador to Moscow compromised Canadian security?. National Post, Nov 28, 2001
Legendary spy carries secrets to his grave ('super-mole' headed Canada's spy agency?). National Post, Nov 27, 2001. Go to COMMUNISM BY ANY OTHER NAME...