The GROUND FORCES OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION (Russian :
Сухопутные войска Российской
Федерации, tr. Suhoputnye voyska Rossiyskoy Federatsii) are
the land forces of the
Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
Since 1992, the Ground Forces have withdrawn many thousands of troops
from former Soviet garrisons abroad, while remaining extensively
committed to the Chechen Wars , peacekeeping, and other operations in
the Soviet successor states (what is known in
* 1 Mission
* 2 Ranks and insignia
* 2.1 Insignia
* 3 History
* 3.1 Post-Soviet reform plans * 3.2 Internal crisis of 1993
* 3.3 Chechen Wars
* 3.4 Reforms under Sergeyev * 3.5 Reforms under Putin * 3.6 Serdukov reforms
* 4 Structure
* 4.1 Branches of service * 4.2 Dispositions since 2010
* 5 Personnel
* 5.1 Contract soldiers
* 6 Equipment
* 6.1 Equipment summary
* 7 Crime and corruption in the ground forces * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 Bibliography
The primary responsibilities of the Ground Forces are the protection
of the state borders, combat on land, the security of occupied
territories, and the defeat of enemy troops. The Ground Forces must be
able to achieve these goals both in nuclear war and non-nuclear war,
especially without the use of weapons of mass destruction .
Furthermore, they must be capable of protecting the national interests
The Main Command of the Ground Forces is officially tasked with the following objectives:
* The training of troops for combat, on the basis of tasks determined by the Armed Forces\' General Staff . * The improvement of troops' structure and composition, and the optimization of their numbers, including for special troops . * The development of military theory and practice. * The development and introduction of training field manuals, tactics, and methodology. * The improvement of operational and combat training of the Ground Forces.
RANKS AND INSIGNIA
The newly re-emergent
The gallery below shows a selection of insignia, common to the Ground Forces – LF (in the meaning of Army).
* Emblem (great) (from 2001) * Emblem (medium) (from 2001) * Emblem (small) (from 2001) * Sleeve insignia (patch, appliqué) universal
ARMIES OF RUSSIA
NEW ORDER REGIMENTS
IMPERIAL RUSSIAN ARMY 1721–1917
------------------------- White Movement
WHITE GUARD 1917–1921
RED ARMY 1918–1946
SOVIET ARMY 1946–1992
------------------------- Russian Federation
RUSSIAN GROUND FORCES 1992–present
* v * t * e
Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
* Ministry of Defence
INDEPENDENT TROOPS (ROD)
* Rear of the Armed Forces
RANKS OF THE RUSSIAN MILITARY
* Air Force ranks and insignia
HISTORY OF THE RUSSIAN MILITARY
* v * t * e
Further information: Military history of the
Thirty-seven divisions had to be withdrawn from the four groups of
forces and the Baltic States, and four military districts—totalling
57 divisions—were handed over to Belarus and Ukraine. Some idea of
the scale of the withdrawal can be gained from the division list . For
the dissolving Soviet Ground Forces, the withdrawal from the former
POST-SOVIET REFORM PLANS
The Ministry of Defence newspaper
Krasnaya Zvezda published a reform
plan on 21 July 1992. Later one commentator said it was "hastily" put
together by the General Staff "to satisfy the public demand for
radical changes." The General Staff , from that point, became a
bastion of conservatism, causing a build-up of troubles that later
became critical. The reform plan advocated a change from an
Few of the reforms planned in the early 1990s eventuated, for three
reasons: Firstly, there was an absence of firm civilian political
A British military expert, Michael Orr, claims that the hierarchy had great difficulty in fully understanding the changed situation, due to their education. As graduates of Soviet military academies , they received great operational and staff training, but in political terms they had learned an ideology, rather than a wide understanding of international affairs. Thus, the generals—focused on NATO expanding to the east—could not adapt themselves and the Armed Forces to the new opportunities and challenges they faced.
INTERNAL CRISIS OF 1993
See also: 1993 Russian constitutional crisis
The Ground Forces reluctantly became involved in the Russian
constitutional crisis of 1993 after
When the attack was finally mounted, forces from five different
First Chechen War
See also: First Chechen War
The Chechen people had never willingly accepted Russian rule. With
the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Chechens declared
independence in November 1991, under the leadership of a former Air
Forces officer, General
Dzhokar Dudayev . The continuation of Chechen
independence was seen as reducing Moscow's authority; Chechnya became
perceived as a haven for criminals, and a hard-line group within the
Kremlin began advocating war. A Security Council meeting was held 29
November 1994, where Yeltsin ordered the Chechens to disarm, or else
The operation began on 11 December 1994 and, by 31 December, Russian
forces were entering
Dzhokar Dudayev was assassinated in April 1996, and that summer, a Chechen attack retook Grozny. Alexander Lebed , then Secretary of the Security Council, began talks with the Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov in August 1996 and signed an agreement on 22/23 August; by the end of that month, the fighting ended. The formal ceasefire was signed in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt on 31 August 1996, stipulating that a formal agreement on relations between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian federal government need not be signed until late 2001.
Writing some years later, Dmitri Trenin and Aleksei Malashenko described the Russian military's performance in Chechniya as "grossly deficient at all levels, from commander-in-chief to the drafted private." The Ground Forces' performance in the First Chechen War has been assessed by a British academic as "appallingly bad". Writing six years later, Michael Orr said "one of the root causes of the Russian failure in 1994–96 was their inability to raise and deploy a properly trained military force."
Second Chechen War
See also: Second Chechen War
Second Chechen War began in August 1999 after Chechen militias
In the first Chechen war, the Russians primarily laid waste to an
area with artillery and airstrikes before advancing the land forces.
Improvements were made in the Ground Forces between 1996 and 1999;
Second Chechen War started, instead of hastily assembled
"composite regiments" dispatched with little or no training, whose
members had never seen service together, formations were brought up to
strength with replacements, put through preparatory training, and then
Most of the prominent past Chechen separatist leaders had died or been killed, including former president Aslan Maskhadov and leading warlord and terrorist attack mastermind Shamil Basayev . However, small-scale conflict continued to drag on; as of November 2007, it had spread across other parts of the Russian Caucasus . It was a divisive struggle, with at least one senior military officer dismissed for being unresponsive to government commands: General Colonel Gennady Troshev was dismissed in 2002 for refusing to move from command of the North Caucasus Military District to command of the less important Siberian Military District.
The Second Chechen War was officially declared ended on 16 April 2009.
REFORMS UNDER SERGEYEV
When Igor Sergeyev arrived as Minister of Defence in 1997, he initiated what were seen as real reforms under very difficult conditions. The number of military educational establishments, virtually unchanged since 1991, was reduced, and the amalgamation of the Siberian and Trans-Baikal Military Districts was ordered. A larger number of army divisions were given "constant readiness" status, which was supposed to bring them up to 80 percent manning and 100 percent equipment holdings. Sergeyev announced in August 1998 that there would be six divisions and four brigades on 24-hour alert by the end of that year. Three levels of forces were announced; constant readiness, low-level, and strategic reserves.
However, personnel quality—even in these favored units—continued to be a problem. Lack of fuel for training and a shortage of well-trained junior officers hampered combat effectiveness. However, concentrating on the interests of his old service, the Strategic Rocket Forces , Sergeyev directed the disbanding of the Ground Forces headquarters itself in December 1997. The disbandment was a "military nonsense", in Orr's words, "justifiable only in terms of internal politics within the Ministry of Defence". The Ground Forces' prestige declined as a result, as the headquarters disbandment implied—at least in theory—that the Ground Forces no longer ranked equally with the Air Force and Navy.
REFORMS UNDER PUTIN
Funding increases began in 1999; after some recovery in the Russian economy and the associated rise in income, especially from oil, "Russia's officially reported defence spending in nominal terms at least, for the first time since the formation of the Russian Federation". The budget rose from 141 billion rubles in 2000 to 219 billion rubles in 2001. Much of this funding has been spent on personnel—there have been several pay rises, starting with a 20-percent rise authorised in 2001; the current professionalisation programme, including 26,000 extra sergeants , was expected to cost at least 31 billion roubles ($1.1 billion USD). Increased funding has been spread across the whole budget, with personnel spending being matched by greater procurement and research and development funding.
However, in 2004, Alexander Goltz said that, given the insistence of the hierarchy on trying to force contract soldiers into the old conscript pattern, there is little hope of a fundamental strengthening of the Ground Forces. He further elaborated that they are expected to remain, to some extent, a military liability and "Russia's most urgent social problem" for some time to come. Goltz summed up by saying: "All of this means that the Russian armed forces are not ready to defend the country and that, at the same time, they are also dangerous for Russia. Top military personnel demonstrate neither the will nor the ability to effect fundamental changes."
More money is arriving both for personnel and equipment; Russian
Main article: Russian military reform (2008)
A major reorganisation of the force began in 2007 by the Minister for Defence Anatoliy Serdukov, with the aim of converting all divisions into brigades, and cutting surplus officers and establishments. However, this affected units of continuous readiness (Russian : ЧПГ - части постоянной готовности) only. It is intended to create 39 to 40 such brigades by 1 January 2016, including 39 all-arms brigades, 21 artillery and MRL brigades, seven brigades of army air defence forces, 12 communication brigades, and two electronic warfare brigades. In addition, the 18th Machine Gun Artillery Division stationed in the Far East remained, and there will be an additional 17 separate regiments. The reform has been called "unprecedented".
In the course of the reorganization, the 4-chain command structure (military district - field army - division - regiment ) that was used until then was replaced with a 3-chain structure: strategic command - operational command - brigade. Brigades are supposed to be used as mobile permanent-readiness units capable of fighting independently with the support of highly mobile task forces or together with other brigades under joint command.
In a statement on 4 September 2009, RGF Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Boldyrev said that half of the Russian land forces were reformed by 1 June and that 85 brigades of constant combat preparedness had already been created. Among them are the combined-arms brigade, missile brigades, assault brigades and electronic warfare brigades.
Ground Forces Headquarters on Frunsenskaya embankment 20-22 in
As of January 2014, the acting commander of the Russian Ground Forces
is Lieutenant General Sergei Istrakov, who was appointed by Russian
The Main Command of the Ground Forces consists of the Main Staff of the Ground Troops, and departments for Peacekeeping Forces, Armaments of the Ground Troops, Rear Services of the Ground Troops, Cadres of the Ground Troops (personnel), Indoctrination Work, and Military Education. There were also a number of directorates which used to be commanded by the Ground Forces Commander-in-Chief in his capacity as a deputy defence minister. They included Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defence Troops of the Armed Forces, Engineer Troops of the Armed Forces, and Troop Air Defence, as well as several others. Their exact command status is now unknown.
BRANCHES OF SERVICE
Russian Ground Forces
The branches of service include motorized rifles, tanks, artillery and rocket forces, troop air defense, special corps (reconnaissance, signals , radioelectronic warfare, engineering, radiation, chemical and biological protection, technical support, automobile, and the protection of the rear), military units, and logistical establishments.
The Motorised Rifle Troops, the most numerous branch of service,
constitutes the nucleus of Ground Forces' battle formations. They are
equipped with powerful armament for destruction of ground-based and
aerial targets, missile complexes, tanks, artillery and mortars,
anti-tank guided missiles, anti-aircraft missile systems and
installations, and means of reconnaissance and control. It is
estimated that there are currently 19 motor rifle divisions, and the
Navy now has several motor rifle formations under its command in the
Ground and Coastal Defence Forces of the
The Tank Troops are the main impact force of the Ground Forces and a
powerful means of armed struggle, intended for the accomplishment of
the most important combat tasks. As of 2007, there were three tank
divisions in the force: the 4th and 10th within the
The Artillery and Rocket Forces provide the Ground Forces' main
firepower. The Ground Forces currently include five or six static
defence machine-gun/artillery divisions and seemingly now one division
of field artillery—the 34th Guards in the
The Air Defense Troops (PVO) are one of the basic weapons for the destruction of enemy air forces. They consist of surface-to-air missiles , anti-aircraft artillery and radio-technical units and subdivisions.
DISPOSITIONS SINCE 2010
As a result of the 2008 Russian military reforms , the ground forces now consist of armies subordinate to the four new military districts: (Western , Southern , Central , and Eastern Military Districts). The new districts have the role of 'operational strategic commands,' which command the Ground Forces as well as the Naval Forces and part of the Air and Air Defence Forces within their areas of responsibility.
Each major formation is bolded, and directs the non-bolded major subordinate formations. It is not entirely clear to which superior(s) the four operational-strategic commands will report from 1 December 2010, as they command formations from multiple services (Air Force , Ground Forces "> Western Military District Southern Military District Central Military District Eastern Military District
FORMATION HEADQUARTERS LOCATION
A Russian soldier at a checkpoint in
In 2006, the Ground Forces included an estimated total of 395,000
persons, including an approximately 190,000 conscripts and 35,000
personnel of the Airborne Forces (VDV) . This can be compared to an
estimated 670,000, with 210,000 conscripts, in 1995–96. These
numbers should be treated with caution, however, due to the difficulty
for those outside
The Ground Forces began their existence in 1992, inheriting the Soviet military manpower system practically unchanged, though it was in a state of rapid decay. The Soviet Ground Forces were traditionally manned through terms of conscription, which had been reduced in 1967 from three to two years. This system was administered through the thousands of military commissariats (Russian : военный комиссариат, военкомат ) located throughout the Soviet Union. Between January and May of each year, every young Soviet male citizen was required to report to the local voyenkomat for assessment for military service, following a summons based on lists from every school and employer in the area.
The voyenkomat worked to quotas sent out by a department of the General Staff, listing how many young men were required by each service and branch of the Armed Forces. (Since the fall of the Soviet Union, draft evasion has skyrocketed; officials regularly bemoan the ten or so percent that actually appear when summoned.) The new conscripts were then picked up by an officer from their future unit and usually sent by train across the country. On arrival, they would begin the Young Soldiers' course, and become part of the system of senior rule, known as dedovshchina , literally "rule by the grandfathers." There were only a very small number of professional non-commissioned officers (NCOs), as most NCOs were conscripts sent on short courses to prepare them for section commanders' and platoon sergeants' positions. These conscript NCOs were supplemented by praporshchik warrant officers, positions created in the 1960s to support the increased variety of skills required for modern weapons.
The Soviet Army's officer-to-soldier ratio was extremely top-heavy,
partially in order to compensate for the relatively low education
level of the military manpower base and the absence of professional
NCOs. Following World War II and the great expansion of officer
education, officers became the product of four-to-five-year higher
military colleges. As in most armies, newly commissioned officers
usually become platoon leaders, having to accept responsibility for
the soldiers' welfare and training (with the exceptions noted above).
Young officers in Soviet
In the early 2000s, many junior officers did not wish to serve—in
2002, more than half the officers who left the forces did so early.
Their morale was low, among other reasons because their postings were
entirely in the hands of their immediate superiors and the personnel
department. "Without having to account for their actions, they can
choose to promote or not promote him, to send him to
There is little available information on the current status of women
, who are not conscripted, in the Ground Forces. According to the BBC
, there were 90,000 women in the Russian
From small beginnings in the early 1990s, employment of contract soldiers (kontraktniki) has grown greatly within the Ground Forces, though many have been of poor quality (wives of officers with no other prospective employment, for example). In December 2005, Sergei Ivanov , then Minister of Defence , proposed that—in addition to the numerous enlisted contract soldiers—all sergeants should become professional, which would raise the number of professional soldiers and non-commissioned officers in the Armed Forces overall to approximately 140,000 in 2008. The current programme allows for an extra 26,000 posts for fully professional sergeants.
The CIA reported in the World Factbook that 30 percent of Russian
army personnel were contract servicemen at the end of 2005, and that,
as of May 2006, 178,000 contract servicemen were serving in the Ground
Forces and the Navy. Planning calls for volunteer servicemen to
compose 70 percent of armed forces by 2010, with the remaining
servicemen consisting of conscripts. At the end of 2005, the Ground
Forces had 40 all-volunteer constant readiness units, with another 20
constant readiness units to be formed in 2006. These CIA figures can
be set against
IISS data, which reports that at the end of 2004, the
number of contracts being signed in the
Whatever the number of contract soldiers, commentators such as Alexander Goltz are pessimistic that many more combat ready units will result, as senior officers "see no difference between professional NCOs, ... versus conscripts who have been drilled in training schools for less than six months. Such sergeants will have neither the knowledge nor the experience that can help them win authority the barracks." Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov underlined the in-barracks discipline situation, even after years of attempted professionalisation, when releasing the official injury figures for 2002. 531 men had died on duty as a result of accidents and crimes, and 20,000 had been wounded (the numbers apparently not including suicides). According to Ivanov, "the accident rate is not falling". Two of every seven conscripts will become addicted to drugs and alcohol while serving their terms, and a further one in twenty will suffer homosexual rape, according to 2005 reports.
Part of the reason is the feeling between contract servicemen, conscripts, and officers.
There is no relationship of mutual respect between leaders and led and it is difficult to see how a professional army can be created without one...at the moment officers often despise contract servicemen even more than conscripts. Contract soldiers serving in Chechnya and other "hot spots" are often called mercenaries and marauders by senior officers. — Michael Orr
Main article: List of equipment of the Russian Ground Forces
The Ground Forces retain a very large quantity of vehicles and
equipment. There is also likely to be a great deal of older equipment
in state military storage, a practice continued from the Soviet Union.
However, following the collapse of the USSR, the newly independent
republics became host to most of the formations with modern equipment,
New equipment, like the Armata Universal
The following figures are sourced from http://warfare.be. Figures listed as "Active" only include equipment that is deemed serviceable and circulated in active service.
TYPE ACTIVE RESERVE
Main battle tanks 2,562 ~12,500
Infantry fighting vehicles 3,229 ~16,500
Armoured personnel carriers 2,876 ~ 5,000
Towed artillery 1,781
Rocket artillery 1,352
SAM systems 1,531
CRIME AND CORRUPTION IN THE GROUND FORCES
Russian Ground Forces
Generals directing the withdrawals from Eastern Europe diverted arms,
equipment, and foreign monies intended to build housing in
A 1995 study by the U.S.
Foreign Military Studies Office went as
far as to say that the Armed Forces were "an institution increasingly
defined by the high levels of military criminality and corruption
embedded within it at every level." The FMSO noted that crime levels
had always grown with social turbulence, such as the trauma
Beyond the Russian frontier, drugs were smuggled across the Tajik border—supposedly being patrolled by Russian guards—by military aircraft, and a Russian senior officer, General Major Alexander Perelyakin, had been dismissed from his post with the United Nations peacekeeping force in Bosnia-Hercegovina ( UNPROFOR ), following continued complaints of smuggling, profiteering, and corruption. In terms of contract killings, beyond the Kholodov case, there have been widespread rumours that GRU Spetsnaz personnel have been moonlighting as mafiya hitmen.
Reports such as these continue. Some of the more egregious examples
have included a constant-readiness motor rifle regiment's tanks
running out of fuel on the firing ranges, due to the diversion of
their fuel supplies to local businesses. Visiting the 20th
Some degree of change is under way. Abuse of personnel, sending
soldiers to work outside units—a long-standing tradition which could
see conscripts doing things ranging from being large scale manpower
supply for commercial businesses to being officers' families'
servants—is now banned by Sergei Ivanov's Order 428 of October 2005.
What is more, the order is being enforced, with several prosecutions
The spectrum of dishonest activity has included, in the past, exporting aircraft as scrap metal; but the point at which officers are prosecuted has shifted, and investigations over trading in travel warrants and junior officers' routine thieving of soldiers' meals are beginning to be reported. However, British military analysts comment that "there should be little doubt that the overall impact of theft and fraud is much greater than that which is actually detected". Chief Military Prosecutor Sergey Fridinskiy said in March 2007 that there was "no systematic work in the Armed Forces to prevent embezzlement".
In March 2011, Military Prosecutor General Sergei Fridinsky reported that crimes had been increasing steadily in the Russian ground forces for the past 18 months, with 500 crimes reported in the period of January to March 2011 alone. Twenty servicemen were crippled and two killed in the same period as a result. Crime in the ground forces was up 16% in 2010 as compared to 2009, with crimes against other servicemen constituting one in every four cases reported. Compounding this problem was also a rise in "extremist" crimes in the ground forces, with "servicemen from different ethnic groups or regions trying to enforce their own rules and order in their units", according to the Prosecutor General. Fridinsky also lambasted the military investigations department for their alleged lack of efficiency in investigative matters, with only one in six criminal cases being revealed. Military commanders were also accused of concealing crimes committed against servicemen from military officials.
A major corruption scandal also occurred at the elite Lipetsk pilot training center , where the deputy commander, the chief of staff and other officers allegedly extorted 3 million roubles of premium pay from other officers since the beginning of 2010. The Tambov military garrison prosecutor confirmed that charges have been lodged against those involved. The affair came to light after a junior officer wrote about the extortion in his personal blog. Sergey Fridinskiy, the Main Military Prosecutor acknowledged that extortion in the distribution of supplementary pay in army units is common, and that "criminal cases on the facts of extortion are being investigated in practically every district and fleet.”
In August 2012, Prosecutor General Fridinsky again reported a rise in
crime, with murders rising more than half, bribery cases doubling, and
drug trafficking rising by 25% in the first six months of 2012 as
compared to the same period in the previous year. Following the
release of these statistics, the Union of the Committees of Soldiers\'
In July 2013, the Prosecutor General's office revealed that corruption in the same year soared 450% as compared to the previous year, costing the Russian government 4.4 billion rubles (US$130 million), with one in three corruption-related crimes committed by civil servants or civilian personnel in the military forces. It was also revealed that total number of registered crimes in the Russian armed forces had declined in the same period, although one in five crimes registered were corruption-related.
* ^ Главнокомандующий Сухопутными
войсками Олег Салюков. Биография (IN
ITAR TASS . RETRIEVED 6 MAY 2014.
* ^ "Official website .".
Russian Ministry of Defence
Wikimedia Commons has media related to RUSSIAN GROUND FORCES .
* Arbatov, Alexei (1998). "Military Reform in Russia: Dilemmas,
Obstacles, and Prospects". International Security. The MIT Press. 22
JSTOR 2539241 . doi :10.2307/2539241 .
* Austin, Greg & Muraviev, Alexey D. (2001). The Armed Forces of
Central Intelligence Agency
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