Meet The Sniper Rifle That Protects Vladimir Putin

Being a world leader, particularly one as controversial as Russia’s current president, doesn’t come without its risks. With troops in Ukraine and Syria, encroachment on the border with Georgia, and a simmering insurgency in the North Caucuses, Russia isn’t exactly shying away from conflict. So who keeps President Putin safe from his enemies? The agents of the Federal Protective Service (FSO). In order to defend against long-range rifle threats, the FSO’s counter-snipers use a state of the art weapon of their own: the ORSIS T-5000.

A sniper of the Russian Federal Protective Service, also known as FSO, is seen on the wall of the Kremlin in Central Moscow, Russia, November,4,2017. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

The FSO, the Russian counterpart to the United States Secret Service, that was once part of the KGB, known then as the 9th Directorate. As a protective service, the FSO must anticipate a variety of threats including the possibility of a sniper targeting their principal. Like the Secret Service, the FSO employs sharpshooters or counter-snipers to provide surveillance and protection from such attacks. Russia has done a better job than most nations in integrating snipers into its conventional forces, even though they didn’t always have the finest equipment.

Russia was an early adopter of snipers on the battlefield, going back to World War I. The nation’s snipers played a significant role in World War II, when men and women armed with scoped M1891 Mosin-Nagant bolt action and SVT-40 semi-automatic rifles took a serious toll on German troops. Legendary sniper Vasily Zaytsev, glamorized in the film Enemy At The Gates, reportedly killed more than 250 Germans with his crude but effective 7.62x54R bolt-action sniper rifle, mostly during the fierce urban warfare in and around Stalingrad. Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the deadliest female sniper in history, killed an estimated 309 enemy troops with her SVT-40.


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