Khimkin and banderlogs

Jargon and Russian military tales in Syria

«Banderlog» is word with many meanings which comes from fictional monkey nation in Mowgli, Soviet cartoon basen on the Jungle Book.


Every war gives birth to its own language and its own folklore. They reflect the impressions and attitude to the happening of ordinary soldiers who have been in real military operations.

The text below is based on interviews with contract soldiers who have been on mission in Syria.

Syrian Jargon.

“Afghans”, Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan, called enemies “spirits”, word «dushman» – mojahedis is close to Russian word «dukhi» – spirits, participants in the Chechen wars – “Czechs”. Russian soldiers in Syria call opponents not so poetic – “banderlogs” or “devils”. Afghan “spirits”, however, are also widely used. These terms refer primarily to terrorists from the ISIS, which in the Arabic manner is more often called DAESH.

“Our” Arabs, that is, all those who are fighting on the side of the Assad government, are called the word “Sadyk” (from the Arab “friend”). Pronounced with emphasis on the last syllable. However, Russian servicemen have some complaints about the sadykhs, but more about this later.

The terminology from the field of “technology and armament”, in addition to the well-known «jihad mobile» (any vehicle stuffed with explosives, with a suicide bomber) includes, for example, a ballonet – an artisanal mortar, as a projectile using a gas cylinder filled with explosives .

It is also interesting that the Russian-Arabic expression used by the Syrians is tamam-for *** s (from the Arabic “tamam” – well). It is used, as you might guess, to indicate any positive moments in a person’s life.

A live soldier’s speech added such toponyms to the map of Syria as Saratov (from the Syrian Arab Republic to the Syrian Arab Republic, in the course of the phrase “business trip to Saratov”, and the Russian city has nothing to do with it), Khimki (air base Khmeimim), Palm (Palmira), Tortuga (Port of Tartus), Limpopo (Aleppo). Al these are either Russian cities, simetimes African.

About the Syrian Army.

Russian soldiers respond extremely skeptical about the forces of the “Sadyk” . They say that the Arab army is rather cowardly, they do not like to fight, but at the first opportunity “they collect their stuff and run.”

“They do not know how to shoot. They shoot purely for the sake of noise or to shoot ammunition. Ammunition is over – you can retreat. And they recede loudly – with shouts, with noise and necessarily with panic “, – says our interlocutor, who was on a business trip in” Saratov “.

“There was a case near Aleppo when the banderlogists broke through – a man of 600. They were blocked by roadblocks, each of which had 12 people and one or two jeeps with machine guns. Our would, most likely, reasoned like this: you have more ammunition, machine guns are large-caliber – that means you can fight. And these collect all their property – sleeping bags, tents, teapots. They are loaded into jeeps and depart to the next checkpoint. There they raise a panic: “DAESH is coming!”. 12 people at the second checkpoint repeat the same procedure. And so they left six roadblocks! That is, to the sixth came already almost a company. But beyond the sixth roadblock DAESH did not go – our pilots received coordinates and they were bombed. And then our SS men came and cleaned everything up, as if to say: “Here you are, comrade Sadyk, your roadblocks back,” he says.

Characteristic in this connection is the case that allegedly occurred with the Russian Chevakashniki (the military questioned without a doubt recognize the presence of the latter in Syria).

“In Aleppo there was a case when about 30 CHE-VE-KA (Private military group members) defended the house from the ISIS. In general, these 30 people cleared the area. And then the banderlogs climbed to them from all the cracks. They took up defense in the house and stayed in it for a day. Then they caused a fire on themselves and went away. Ours lost two men.

A bandergroup was imposed by 150 people, and maybe more. At the same time on the way to Aleppo, they were hit by mortar shelling. That is, among those who defended, there were also shell-shocked. So when they got out of there, the Arabs ask them – why, they say, you kept, there were a lot of fighters, you could immediately leave. ”

If not for shooting, in general it would be pretty cool, comment our.

It is not surprising that against this background there are stories about “detachments”:

“They have the Fifth Volunteer Corps. It mainly military advisers from Russia. They teach them tactics of combat, technology and everything else. They say that they introduced a “system of detachments”. One officer who contacted them said as follows: the volunteers took the village, but quickly handed it over. The commanders ask them why they gave it. Those respond – “DAESH came”.

We sent intelligence. It turned out, yes, DAESH and the truth is – 30-40 people on three or four jeeps with machine guns. Volunteers are told – we have to fight off. Those abut. There DAESH, how they will fight with them, will they? Then they fired from the first platoon of every fifth, after that they went into battle.

And it’s not just that they were afraid to die. It’s just that they have: if a soldier is killed in battle, then his portrait hangs on the street and is periodically updated. And his family, if I’m not mistaken, pays 100 million lira (500 Syrian lira = 1 dollar) during the year as compensation.

“Sadyk are ready to buy armored vests from Russian soldiers. For a bulletproof vest from the kit “Ratnik” pay 2 thousand dollars, 10 sheep and six wives. Namely, our bulletproof vests are needed because their thoracic and dorsal plates have some composition that a shot from the VDF can withstand 100 meters. “About the black humor”.

One of the pilots told us: flew to the bombing, dropped the firing bomb on the devil, and they poured out there from all the cracks, like cockroaches. The remaining bombs were thrown in the same place, and they also worked with missiles. In general, not bad circled. Flew to the base, the pilot says to the technicians: “Bring the navigator my bucket of water. See, his arms are blood-stained up to elbows, it is necessary to wash. Though he is young, but bloodthirsty “.

About enemy.

Devils have learned to shoot well from mortars. Manages so to shoot at the “Capsule”, that is, armored KamAZ, the mine is put either in the hatch of the machine gunner, or on the gearbox of the machine to immobilize it, and then shoot it. It is immediately evident that they are not prepared by amateurs. Do you remember that incident with the bombardment of a medical tent in Aleppo? It came from the second time. And they got directly into the center of the tent.

There are really many Russian-speaking people in ISIS. Russian is the second language. But mostly these are people from the republics of Central Asia. Affects the poverty of people. And they are promised a lot in ISIS. Naturally, they promise a lot of money. But, the truth, if they are not paid, then our common mentality works: “If I do not get paid, then I will not do anything”. With the war as well – if they are not paid, they pretend that they are fighting. As soon as they have been paid, they really fight.

About the technique. Soldiers say, that there are a lot of homemade weapons. Even howitzers are homemade. They just take an ordinary drainpipe, somehow it is milled, and a cannon is produced.  Syrians are very fond of using pickups. They literally shove on them. Fitted – well, not fit – then we’ll put it. The biggest thing that I saw was the D-30 howitzer, which was shoved onto the pickup truck. They cut off the gun carriage and in general everything is superfluous. But most often put a machine gun DShK.

Russians do not trust them something more complex, such as “Kord” or NSV “Utyos” machine guns, they will necessary brake it.

The most of the Syrian machines are either broken or crumpled. It feels like if they buy a car in the cabin, the first thing is to drive it back into the wall to crumple, because it’s so steeper. If the car is shot through, it’s also in the order of things. For their work they receive 1000 lire ($ 2) per day. Child labor there is generally in the order of things.

About civilians,

The missions to Syria have added an interesting domestic experience to the Russian soldiers. Here is another series of notes from our respondents: “In the month of Ramadan, Muslims are not allowed during the day. And next to the Sunni quarter was a Christian one – literally across the road. And Christians walk and thump. And most importantly, they roast meat, trying to make smoke which goes to Muslims. But, as they say, Muslims do the same in the Christian fast. And for Christians it will be even worse. Because Muslims can eat meat at least at night, and Christians can not be fasted all the time.

Once the soldier went into the store, followed by a soldier of a muharabat – the Syrian army. He whispered to the seller, and he handed him a bottle of vodka. He hid it in Russian manner and went off. I ask the seller: “Is it possible for him?”. And he says: “This is a Christian, he can.” “We had one local worker. A unique character of its kind. It turned out that he was a former ISIS member. F He was thrown out … for drinking. And he was lucky, and those who drank with were shot, because they were caught not for the first time. “