From the Netherlands and a little bit older, 50 years...... My military experience is air defense (Hawk missile) and after my conscription period I was contract soldier for 8 years on the Leopard 2A4 MBT.
In the late eighties, begin nineties went to East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland to see the, then, Warsaw Pact equipment up close.
Especially the nineties were interesting because of the withdrawal of the Russian army from East Germany. I and some friends travelled regularly to the DDR to see T-64s, BMP, MiG-27, up close. Most of the time the soldiers of the Russian army didn't mind that we were taking photos. Sometimes chatting a little, share a vodka or sigarette and sometimes buying ''fireworks'' from them (signal flares for 10 german mark a box).
So there is my interest in the Russian army.
P.S. 11E is my old radiocallsign on the Leopard 2