Behind The Iron Curtain: Rules for the Soviet Military Contingent In Afghanistan

This rule book was issued in 1987 for the Soviet Military Contingent in Afghanistan. The Soviets still had two bloody years left before the last troops made it home. Not getting drafted to serve in Afghanistan was probably the only benefit of being Jewish that ever materialized in all off my life in the USSR. Thousands of others weren’t so lucky and over 15,000 didn’t come home.

Materials for Counter-Propaganda Work. January 1987

Carry the title of the Soviet Citizen with honor and dignity. Follow the Soviet Laws, Military Oath, Military Law, orders of the superiors; fulfill patriotic and international duty in good faith.

Unapproved connections and meetings are banned. (Notice a backstabbing local)

Visiting local markets and stores to buy goods, food, alcohol and drugs is banned.

Undressing and sunbathing may offend local and religious traditions and is not recommended.

Walking into yards and dwellings of locals, peeking into doors and windows as well as staring at women's faces and starting conversations with them is banned.

Receiving presents and bribes from the government and individuals, as well as receiving free services is banned.

Constantly be on guard, maintain secrecy, do not discuss military and other subjects when locals are present

Not much changed since then and now the American troops who are stationed on the old Soviet base in Bagram may find these tips useful as ever.

  • Grady

    So, Jews did not serve the Officially Atheistic Commie State?

    Why not?

    • Jews, served (I served and so did all my Jewish friends) but not abroad – not trustworthy. The state assumed that the Jews would just defect to the West.

  • Frank Laurenzana

    It is my understanding that labor battalions, and other internal units were the only military units that had Jews… Indigineous people, , mongolians, satellite provinces that were not predominantly Russian , were not allowed in combat units, PVO STRANY (frontal aviation) border guard units, or GRU . because of the fear of unreliability. any comments, please?

    • there were plenty of Jews in all branches, they may not have advanced in rank as fast as their non-Jewish counterparts, but nevertheless. The rumor was that they didn’t allow them to serve overseas, I am sure one could find an example that it wasn’t true. None of my Jewish friends got to serve outside the country.