Watch Russian troops jump through flaming croquet wickets

Russian Ministry of Defense/YouTube

  • A new video shows Russian special forces troops walking an obstacle course.
  • One of the obstacles is a tunnel – formed by giant U-shaped poles – that is on fire.
  • Forcing soldiers to jump through flaming hoops is a remarkably common phenomenon in authoritarian countries.

Troops of the Russian special forces traveling to Uzbekistan probably got more than they expected when they showed up for their military exercises.

Example: The Spetsnaz troops had to complete an obstacle course with their Uzbek colleagues, including a section that doing well. Flaming hoops (burning rings of fire, if you will) and other obstacles are notoriously common training tasks in authoritarian countries.

The Russian Ministry of Defense posted the minute-long video on its YouTube channel:

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The video description reads:

Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Uzbekistan have begun combat coordination to perform combat training duties in the Termez Mountains of the Surkhandarya region.

The special forces units of the two countries marched 15 kilometers, breaking through an anti-personnel barrier, a moat filled with water, a destroyed wall and a tunnel.

Russia has approximately 17,000 Spetsnaz, or “Special Designation”, troops divided into 14 ground troops and naval brigades. The majority of Spetsnaz troops are highly trained light infantry along the lines of the US Army Rangers (although 346th Brigade troops are said to be similar in training to Delta Force or Seal Team Six). The troops in this exercise may have come from one of the three Spetsnaz Brigades in the nearby Caucasus, or the 3rd Guards Spetsnaz Brigade in Tolyatti.

[pullquote align=’center’]”The more authoritarian the nation or group, the more likely fire is involved in their training.”[/pullquote]

The Russian ground forces usually do not practice with burning obstacles, although other countries and transnational groups do. Western countries certainly not. The more authoritarian the nation or group, the more likely fire is involved in their training. The practice is especially common in the Middle East and Central Asia.

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In 2014, People’s Liberation Army troops in Heilongjiang province propelled themselves through burning hoops, in one case with a suppressed assault rifle. A similar video appeared in 2016.

Here’s a photo of recruits from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a terrorist group in the West Bank, jumping through burning hoops:

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And here’s a video of a Pakistani counter-terrorism team jumping through burning hoops:

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It’s really not clear why countries insist on letting their soldiers and police jump through the fire. Flaming hoops are rarely, if ever, seen on the battlefield. The act of jumping through a flaming hoop, or navigating a flaming tunnel, seems more like a demonstration of personal bravery, or an act of dedication to a cause, leader, or regime.

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Last but not least is this 2020 video of Egyptian Police Cadets during their graduation exercise. This one outshines all the others by not including one, only four flaming hoops, as well as a hoop made of army rifle bayonets and lined with asterisks.

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Please don’t try any of these at home.

🎥 Now watch this:

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