This was back before the USSR gave way to the Russian Federation. Every year, the Soviets had a massive military parade past Red Square. The Politburo stood and watched as tanks, armored cars, armored personnel carriers, soldiers, missile platforms, and so on rolled past, displaying Soviet might.
One year, an important US public figure was visiting Moscow at that time. It was normal and customary for the Soviets to honor him by inviting him to stand with the Politburo and watch the parade. Of course, he was assigned a KGB colonel fluent in English as a handler and escort. They got along quite well.
So on the appointed day, the American stood with his Soviet hosts to watch the armaments flow by. T-80 main battle tanks, BMP-2 armored personnel carriers. Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers. ZSU mobile flak guns, and surface-to-air missiles on trucks. SCUDs on bigger vehicles. Paratroopers in blue berets; marines in striped shirts. At the tail end of the parade, oddly, were a few thousand civilians in nondescript Eastern bloc business dress, if one may call it that. They didn’t march in formation, but sort of milled along. A good percentage were female.
The American turned to his handler. “Bogdan Ivanovich, I understand the function of the tanks. I understand the tracks, the artillery, the missiles. I understand the paratroopers and the marines. But please tell me, if isn’t a state secret: who are those people at the end, and what is their role in the military?”
The colonel drew himself up with that pride and dignity only a Russian can display when speaking of Russia. “Those?” he replied, a bit intimidatingly. “Those are middle managers of Soviet economy. You have no idea damage they could cause you!”