priyom.org

Message format

Urgency levels

Russian military messages may have one of the following urgency levels, in order from the most to least urgent. The messages with more urgent levels are transmitted first.

Russian English Morse code
Монолит Monolith XXX XXX
Воздух Air WZD
Ракета Rocket RKT
Самолет Airplane SML
Обыкновенная Regular (none)

Radiograms

This format is used to carry encrypted 5-digit or 5-letter group messages. The below description assumes Morse code; in voice, "=" is spoken as "раздел" (tr. razdel, English: section), "FOR" as "для" (tr. dlya, English: for), and "K" as "приём" (tr. priyom, English: reception).

These messages are preceded by a header like the following:

T9WS 459 34 1 0005 459 = ZLOT71 =

  • T9WS: Sender's callsign.
  • 459: Message number, appears twice.
  • 34: Group count, plus three.
  • 1: Preparation date, day of the month only.
  • 0005: Preparation time, in Moscow time (UTC+3).
  • ZLOT71: Recipient's callsign. If the message has an urgency level, it appears here using the format "<urgency level> FOR <callsign>".

The above header is followed by the 5-digit or 5-letter group contents. The last group of the message is the day of the month (first 2 digits), followed by the group count (last 3 digits); this is encoded directly for 5-digit groups. The messages end with a 3-digit group, followed by "K".

"Monolith" messages

These messages utilize the following generic format:

Recipient(s) Code word section 1   Code word section N
МДЖБ 34568 ГАШЕНИЕ 4895 4813 ... ЗИЗИФУС 9836 1935
Callsign Uncertain Instruction
envelope
Coded
message
Instruction
envelope
Coded
message

The format is not described publicly, but monitoring gives some suggestions. The 5-digit group might be connected to the recipient, possibly containing a district number in the first 2 digits, and some numbers from the military unit number in the last 3 digits; Russian military unit numbers are 5 digits long. This theory can be seen, for example, in this Pip message addressed to four recipients:

ДЛЯ 5Ф7Щ 49ФГ ТУЗР 5Й7Щ 66431 56298 43202 66185 ОТЦЕПЩИК 9869 2167

As you can see, there are 4 recipient callsigns, followed by four 5-digit groups, followed by the message itself.

The callsign at the beginning of the Monolith message normally designates the recipient of the message; contrary to popular belief, this is not the name of the calling station. Furthermore, it can often be a circular callsign, meaning for example that the message is addressed to all the stations listening on the network. The calling station sometimes specify its own callsign after the recipient: for example, the following message is addressed to Трос-28, from Барон-78 (я Барон-78 "I'm Baron-78").

Трос-28, я Барон-78, 94225 ЛАРГА 4546 0441

The message content has been discussed in Russian forums. It is known that message code word usually addresses some envelope with instructions, with the two 4-digit groups being the message itself that can be decoded using the given envelope.

There are also so called zone-covering (Russian: "Зонально-Маскировочные сообщения" or "Зоны") messages. They are Monolith format messages, but they have no actual meaning.

Here is a page from an old transmission log from The Buzzer, showing both "Monolith" (сигнализация Монолит) and zone-covering (зона) messages.

"Uzor" messages

These are similar to "Monolith" messages, except they have no options in front:

Recipient(s) Code word section
МДЖБ ГЕОЛОГИЯ 7032
Callsign Code word  

Command messages

These take form of the word "Komanda" followed by a number. By this command, all personnel should arrive into assigned positions. The prefix "1" indicates a training alert, rather than a real alert.

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