Russian Camo: what camouflage does Russia use?
History of russian camo
Any camouflage is designed to make it difficult for the enemy to recognize the outlines and figure of the fighter on the ground, using visual and optical methods. Currently, camouflages are also designed to protect against various detection techniques.
The color of any camouflage is a combination of several colors or shades, as well as different forms and methods of their application (the pattern). Colours in camouflage are usually two to four. The drawing itself may consist of large or small spots, using both smooth and chopped and geometric shapes. All these parameters of camouflage perfectly help to distort and blur the silhouette of the fighter on the battlefield.
It is also sometimes possible to find monochrome camouflage colors – they are also a good camouflage in areas with a monotonous landscape or large open spaces.
Creating a camouflage is a really difficult thing to do. After all, it is not enough to come up with a drawing and coloring for a particular terrain, it is also necessary to take into account various factors, such as the anatomy of the human eye and the idea of the science of color. Therefore, the logic of creating a camouflage pattern is quite complex and time-consuming.
The first camouflage in the world was khaki coloring during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) which was conducted for the independence of Transvaal from England. The Englishmen, who wore red uniforms, respectively, carried a lot of rubbing. And the drills, on the contrary, skillfully used the area for camouflage. As a result, the British changed into a form of swamp color (khaki).
During the Second World War, Germany had about 30 different colors of camouflage, some of which later migrated to the Soviet army, for example, camouflage “birch”, used and modernized to this day.
Since the Cold War, camouflages has been divided into five large groups:
- Forest: mainly Europe, America…
- Desert: North Africa, Central Asia
- Jungle: Tropical (South East Asia, South America)
- Winter: for regions with snowfall
- Bush: Southern Africa (very few camouflage species due to limited terrain and countries)
It should also be noted that all attempts to create unified solutions for camouflage have ended in complete failure – so camouflage should be used not only for a particular area but even taking into account the season, weather conditions and time of day.
So, let us go directly to the types of camouflage.
1/ The Digital flora camo: officially EMR
The digital Russian Camouflage EMR, also called “digital flora“, is a single camouflage color. In the West, this camouflage is known as the Russian Pattern. In the army, a simple name “Pixel” is used.
This camouflage appeared in 2008 (accepted for supply a year later), after the decision in principle to change the traditional Flora. Initially, it was assumed that, since “Flora” roughly corresponds to the American “Woodland”, which in the U.S. Armed Forces is actively changing to “digital” camouflages, the Russian Armed Forces should not lag behind in this process. See the actual russian regular uniforms! German camouflage “Flektarn” had an active influence on the creation of the EMR, the developers of which managed to “combine the incompatible”: small spots, which perform an imitative function, in this color scheme are combined in such a way that they form groups of large spots, which perform a deforming function. The EMR developers also followed the same path, taking into account the results of researches, which showed the effectiveness of extremely small (“pixel”) spots as components of texture drawing.
Nowadays, the EMR is the main camouflage, consisting of supplying the RF Armed Forces. It is interesting, that it also consists of the supply of the Armed Forces of Belarus, but it is believed that the Belarusian version of the EMR has a slightly different color scheme. Multiple variations of the digital flora exist too, it depends on the manufacturers.
2/ The Flora camo: officially VSR-98
The main Russian general army camouflage has been based on the official designation “Flora” since 1998. Despite its not very attractive appearance, the Flora camouflage works very well in the middle zone of Russia. Because of its characteristic stripe, the nicknamed “watermelon” camouflage appears to talk about that camo. Produced in three variations, there is a color scheme in which the background is not light green, but dark yellow, sand or khaki. That version is also known as mountain Flora. Such color schemes were popular in the SKVO troops, where the grass burns out already in June and, accordingly, keeps yellowish tint all summer. Officially, “Flora” was removed from the supply in 2009, giving way to a more modern color scheme. Today, the EMR is the main camouflage used for the army uniforms, which is used to supply the Russian Armed Forces.
3/ The Russian VSR camo: officially VSR-93
Developed in the early 1990s, adopted for supply in 1993, the VSR-93 replaced the widespread “Afghani” khaki color. During the creation of that camouflage (times of the BMW beginning…), some German camouflages were considered. It is very often unofficially referred as the typical soviet camo “Berezka”, as well as the CPF. It was believed that the semi-official name of VSR-93 camo was “Barvikha”, but this name is not found in official documents. It is also sometimes called “Watermelon” (or “Vertical Watermelon”), but “Watermelon” also applies to VSR-98…
According to the responses of those who wear the form of this color, it is “very good to lie” in it, as longitudinal spots very effectively imitate the grass vegetation. However, according to experts, camouflage has too narrow a “sharpening”, is not universal and is applicable to any area. In addition, there is information that this type of coloring “created an unsightly appearance for soldiers on parades”, so the production of this coloring was taken off the supply in 1998.
4/ The TTsKO camo, also known as Buttan camo
This camouflage was developed in the USSR in the 1980s as the main pattern for field uniforms. Despite the production of a significant number of products from it, it was not particularly widespread in the troops, although it was quite effective. Nowadays, it is found in the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks of the Russian Federation and in the All-Union Armed Forces (in Ukraine it was the main camouflage for a long time), but in both cases it is actively removed from the supply, being replaced by other models. Other names of this camouflage are “Dubok” and “Amoeba”, and “Amoeba” is also called one of the camouflage from the Great Patriotic War (WW2). The very colors may vary, only the pattern remains unchanged: light green background, dark green spots and light brown amoeba-like intersecting ribbons.
In the 1990s, in many parts of the Russian Armed Forces, there was a situation where officers wore TTsKO camo, and private and non-commissioned officers wore the VSR-93, so in the 1990s, this camouflage was sometimes called “officer”. This coloring exists in two variants while maintaining the same texture scheme: in one variant small spots have a grey-silver color, in the other (it was on the supply in the Borderlands) – sand or khaki. The background color of both variants is olive, sometimes there are instances of marsh color. In any case, the background in this color scheme is always darker than spots. The spots themselves have an “angular” structure, consisting of many squares.
It is necessary to notice that the given color scheme, though it is considered by some experts “morally out-of-date”, well enough carries out both functions: deforming and imitating.
5/ The Berezka camo, also known as “Color 57” and KZS
Historically, the first modern camouflage can be called a color with several names, the most common of which is Berezka camo. It should be noted that the KZS stands for “costume protective mesh” and is not the name of the color, but the name of the product painted in this color. It is believed that the official name of the camouflage is “color of the 1957 model”, but this name is used quite rarely. Sometimes this color is unofficially called Berezka, but this name can not serve as a unique name, because Berezka is also unofficially called another camouflage: the VSR-93. Also, this color is sometimes called Pogranichnik because for a long time it was exclusively supplied to the Border Troops of the KGB of the USSR.
This color exists in two variants with the same texture scheme: in one of the variants, small spots have gray-silver color (berezka grey and berezka gold), in the other (it was on the supply in the frontier troops) – sand or khaki. The background color of both variants is olive, sometimes there are instances of marsh color. In any case, the background in this color scheme is always darker than spots. The spots themselves have an “angular” structure, consisting of many squares.
It is necessary to notice that the given color scheme, though it is considered by some experts “morally out-of-date”, well enough carries out both functions on a green land such as woods.
6/ The Kamysh camo: the Russian tiger stripe
Strictly speaking, this camouflage, although produced in Russia on an industrial scale by various companies and, moreover, is widely used in various power structures, is not a Russian development – it is rather an “adaptation” of the existing foreign camouflage (originally Malaysian commercial Tiger Stripe) to Russian conditions.
The color scheme, traditionally for Russian camouflage, can be changed by turning a light green base into sand or khaki.
While the Tiger Stripe was the result of a conscious redesign of the existing foreign analog, Kamysh appeared due to an accident, when the manufacturer mistakenly sewed the shape so that the stripes of the Tiger Stripe were vertically positioned. Nevertheless, the classic “Tiger” is often called “Kamysh”.
Officially it has never been on supply, unofficially it is used by all law enforcement agencies, although its popularity is now declining due to the emergence of more effective colors. Discover how the camouflage kamysh looks like on a russian army uniform.
7/ The Partizan camo, also known as SS Leto/Autumn
The Partizan camo is a commercial camouflage that’s not officially in the supply chain. Unofficially it is very popular, especially in the SKVO, where its yellow-brown warping stripes are very relevant against the background of scorched most of the warm season grass. It was created under the influence of German camouflages from the BMW times (it almost exactly copies one of them), that’s why it’s called “Partisan” – for, as far as we know, its creators originally planned to call it “camouflage SS” without “bothering” with making up a name.
In the European part of Russia this camouflage is very effective in August-September. At other times it has an excellent deforming but controversial imitation function. That’s why multiple partizan special suits has been declined in an autumn version.
8/ The Izlom camo, also know as SKOL camo
“Izlom” or “Skol” is another commercial camouflage, but very actively used in various security agencies. It is known that a number of units of the special forces prefer the form of this very color.
The experience of Flektarn, as in the case of the EMR, was used in creating the “Fault”. Interestingly, the “Fracture” has such a specific location and color combination of spots that create the illusion of three-dimensional smooth fabric, and, accordingly, has a very good deformation effect. Unlike most Russian camouflages, the Izlom camo does not allow the use of other colors than the original ones. As in the case of Partizan, this camouflage is believed to be effective mainly in August and September. Izlom camo uniforms are used by Spetsnaz units.
9/ The russian Surpat camo
The Surpat camo was developed by the Russian company “Survival Corps” on the order of the employees of the SVN units. It is an adaptation of the American Marpat pattern to Russian conditions.
Unlike the original (American marpat camouflage), Surpat uses light grey as a base; the location of spots has been changed; brown and green colors are as close as possible to the color scheme typical for the Russian landscape. Despite this, it is very versatile in terms of terrain: the tests conducted by Survival Corps itself showed that Surpat is capable of working in almost any natural area.
There is no official information about the use of Surpat in any units of the Armed Forces and Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, but sometimes it is possible to see soldiers in this camouflage on documentary materials.
10/ The spectre camo: officially SKWO
“Spectre SKWO” is another adaptation of “patterns” to Russian conditions. It has somewhat less versatility in comparison with Surpat, but, in comparison with the same, a slightly better imitation action in the forest landscape conditions.
There is also a variant of Specter SKWO camo, where the color scheme is corrected towards “yellow”. In contrast to Surpat, it is widely produced by several producers. Interestingly, it was Spectre that was personally used by I. Strelkov and his division.
11/ The Sumrak camo
The Sumrak camo was originally created for hunting, is an exclusive commercial camouflage. Like most hunting camouflages, it was designed for very narrow conditions: stony surface with moss, morning and evening. Suddenly, however, it turned out that this camouflage showed itself quite well in a much wider range of conditions than those under which it was created, which is why it became very widespread.
It is not officially used on the supply side but is used informally by some units and individual staff.