Russian security forces believe they have hit on a novel, highly effective way of improving the performance of their crack police units.
Something stands out about the riot squad recruits being trained in Roston-on-Don, a town 1,000 kilometres south of Moscow on the Sea of Azov.
Behind the riot shields and underneath the helmets, some of the fresh young faces are carbon copies of each other.
All the team’s members are identical twins.
The theory is each will do better with the other at his side.
“Obviously, a brother is a brother. He is my dear brother whose presence I constantly feel even when he is not with me,” said Nikolai Matsina, his brother Alexander alongside him.
Pavel Sevryukov described similar feelings as he stood with his twin brother.
“Yes, it all has a big influence in many ways. This is my brother, I fully trust him, I know that he will always support and protect me, I have no doubts about him,” he said.
The police twins may have to intervene in demonstrations or hostage dramas. Dangerous, unpredictable situations which demand lucidity and trust of those around them.
“There is no sixth sense between us, there are just human qualities. I know him just as well as he knows me. This is the only thing that helps us. Other people can work just as well together, so there is no sixth feeling between us,” said recruit Pavel Pokidov.
“We just grew up together, spent all our time together and that is why I know him well. He knows me well,” added his twin brother Alexander.
Russian special forces have been accused of human rights abuses in the past – especially over the two Chechen wars.
The new identical faces may perhaps help to improve their image.