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In 2009, as a part of the comprehensive reform of the Russian Federation's Armed Forces, Special Operations Directorate, subordinate directly to the Chief of the General Staff, was created on the basis of the military unit Senezh in the Moscow region. It was reported that Colonel Oleg Martianov, who later became a member of the board of the Military-Industrial Commission, was one of the founders and first commander of the SOF in 2009−2013.
In 2012, the Special Operations Directorate was reorganized as Special Operations Command, which was followed by plans to upscale the Forces manpower up to 9 special purpose brigades.
On 6 March 2013 the Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov announced the beginning of the Special Operations Forces creation. While speaking to foreign military attaches in Moscow, he said: "After reviewing the practice of the formation, training and the use of special operations forces in the leading countries of the world, Russia's Defense Ministry has also begun to create them... A corresponding command was created, which is engaged in planning work and implements plan of training of the Armed Forces... A set of documents has already been elaborated to determine the direction of development, methods of training and application of these forces".
In March 2013, according to Russian media reports, creation of the Special Operations Center of the Ministry of Defense of Russia for around 500 professional soldiers began in the suburban village of Kubinka-2. Formation of the Center was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. The center was directly subordinated to the Special Operations Forces Command of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
At the end of April 2013, units of Special Operations Forces conducted a special tactics exercise at Elbrus mountains at the height of 4,5 kilometers. The exercise was dedicated to practice transportation of one of the SSO units by military transport aviation and army aviation, as well as air insertion of personnel and cargo into target area.
In May 2013, the General Staff said that SOF would be tasked with security of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and that SOF now comprised air and naval components.