Key chapter alert here as story lines start to come together. Ian promises to talk to Dima about their missing physical relationship, the Russian men hanging outside the apartment are getting scarier, and we find Borin at Checkpoint Charlie startling everyone with an unannounced trip to the West. Oh, and that letter from Dima to his dad? Wanna read it?
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Readers may wonder how a Soviet Air Force general like Borin commands armed soldiers. I could explain it away by telling you he had access to a few specialist security troops equivalent to military police, and that would be true enough. It’s not the whole story, though, and it wouldn’t fully explain Peltsin’s and Makharov’s fear. In reality, while the Soviet Union had distinct uniformed services like the Army, Navy, Air, and Air Defense Forces, they were very unlike American branches of service.
Borin commands a Numbered Army that happens to have a primary air mission. But he doesn’t command only air assets. Under his command are elements of the ground forces, air forces, air defense forces, and even the border patrol, which was a distinct uniformed service during the Soviet era. See the photo below for an example of uniformed border patrol soldiers.
Borin commands infantry units and even tanks, needing them to defend his airfields and to accompany maneuvers. Soviet air forces were expected to be operationally mobile, and they contained all the elements necessary to operate independently. In short, Peltsin has very good reason to fear Born militarily. He commands huge numbers of armed soldiers, not just flyboys.
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