Soviet military academies

Soviet military academies

There were/are a number of military academies in the Soviet Union/Russia of different specialties.

Unlike Western military academies such as West Point, Soviet, now Russian, military and police institutions referred to as "academy" (Russian: академия, akademiya) are post-graduate professional military schools for experienced commissioned officers who already have the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree. Upon graduation, these officers receive an equivalent of Master's degree and, if trained in military leadership, get appointed as battalion commanders or higher (from Lt. Colonel and up). Graduates having non-command profile are appointed to various staff positions that are normally equivalent in rank to Major or Lt. Colonel.

Also, military academies prepare commissioned officers on the Kandidat Nauk (Russian: кандидат наук) level, which is an equivalent of Ph.D. degree. This advanced research-oriented degree is required for filling faculty positions in military schools and defense research institutes. Carefully selected experienced researchers in military academies hold limited-term positions as senior scholars leading to the prestigious post-doctoral Doktor Nauk (Russian: доктор наук) degree which has no direct equivalent in the Western countries. This degree is normally a prerequisite for filling full professor positions in the institutions of higher learning.

There also are a number of officer commissioning schools for the various services known variously as Higher Military Schools or Institutes.

As of 2010 a major reorganization of Russian military officer education, spanning the entire range from the General Staff Academy down to the officer commissioning schools, is underway.


Marshal Voroshilov Military Academy of the WPRA General Staff/General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR/General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation

The current General Staff Academy was founded 1936 in Moscow by Leonid Govorov. It has been the senior Soviet and now Russian professional school for officers. The "best and the brightest" senior commissioned officers of all the Soviet Armed Forces were selected to attend this top-standing and most prestigious of all the Soviet military academies. Students were, and probably still are, admitted to the Academy in the ranks of lieutenant colonel, colonel, and Major General (one star). Most are colonels or newly promoted generals. Normally officers are admitted in their late 30s.

Military Academies and Schools of the Russian Army, Space Forces and Air Force

M.V. Frunze Military Academy

Combined Arms Academy entrance

The Frunze Military Academy (Russian: Военная академия им. М. В. Фрунзе) was established in 1918 as the academy of the General Staff. In 1921, it was transformed into the RKKA Military Academy. It is named after Mikhail Frunze who was the USSR Minister of Defence in mid-1920s and is located in Moscow. It is roughly the equivalent of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS or the British Army's Staff College, Camberley. Officers usually enter when they are between late twenties and thirty-two years old with the rank of Captain or Major, depending on whether they pass the competitive entry examinations.

In the 1930s, Higher Academic Courses were added to the Frunze curriculum, as an advanced training program for earlier graduates. Later on, this program became the basis for the Voroshilov Academy. Following the creation of the Voroshilov General Staff Academy, the Frunze Academy refocused upon combined arms ground warfare training at the tactical level.

Scott and Scott (1979) noted that, as of 1979, ..within the Academy are 'chairs of operational-tactical disciplines, Marxism-Leninism, history of the CPSU and Party-political work, history of war and military art, foreign languages, and other subjects and scientific research sections'[1] In the late 1970s the Scotts noted the Frunze library had about two million volumes.

The Frunze Academy and the Malinovsky Academy were amalgamated in September 1998 into the Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (Russian: Общевойсковая академия Вооруженных сил Российской Федерации ), (ru:Общевойсковая академия Вооружённых Сил Российской Федерации) on the site of the former Frunze Academy.[2]

Since the turn of the century the Combined Arms Academy has been the site of a number of Russian-Western joint military activities, including an IISS conference in February 2001, and U.S./Russian exercises.

After graduation from this academy, every graduate officer used to receive a diploma and a silver diamond-shaped badge on his uniform or civil suit which had to be worn on the right side of the chest above all other military or civil decorations or ribbon bars.

The Commandant, as of 2004, was Colonel General Vladimir I. Popov.[3]

Marshal Rodion Malinovsky Military Armored Forces Academy (formerly the WPRA Academy of Mechanized and Motorized Services)

Malinovsky Military Armored Forces Academy(Военная академия бронетанковых войск им. Р. Я. Малиновского) was established in 1932 in Moscow as the J.V. Stalin Academy of the WPRA Mechanization and Motorization Program. It was named after Marshal Rodion Malinovsky in 1967.

This military academy had the mission of training Soviet and Warsaw Pact commanders, staff officers, and engineers for armored and mechanized units. The best-qualified graduates were also selected for the centralized operations division of the General Staff. Students entered as captains and majors (with some lieutenant colonels), indicating it was about on an intermediate level with the Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The program of instruction was three years for commanding and staff officers and four years for engineers.

As noted above, it was merged with the Frunze Academy in 1998 as the Combined Arms Academy.

Felix Dzerzhinsky Military Rocket Forces Academy

Dzerzhinsky Military Academy (Russian: Военная академия им. Ф. Э. Дзержинского) was created in 1932 in Leningrad as F.E. Dzerzhinsky Artillery Academy (Артиллерийская академия имени Ф. Э. Дзержинского) of the Red Army from the Artillery Department and the Powder and Explosives section of the Chemistry Department of the Military Technical Academy that was disbanded at the time. The Military Technical Academy itself was a descendant of Mikhaylovskaya Artillery Academy (Михайловская артиллерийская академия) of Imperial Russia created in 1820 in St. Petersburg.

Dzerzhinsky Academy was moved from Leningrad to Moscow in 1958, the year before the Strategic Rocket Forces was formed. Now named the Dzerzhinsky Missile Force Academy, its main facility was located next to the Rossiya Hotel on the embankment near the Kremlin, in the historical building of the Moscow Orphanage. Officers in command positions in the Strategic Missile Troops would seek admission to this academy. All information about this academy was highly classified. Its two major faculties were "command" and "engineering."

The Academy was renamed after Peter the Great in 1997 (Военная Академия Ракетных Войск Стратегического Назначения имени Петра Великого), and its Commandant is now Colonel General (three star) Yuriy F. Kirillov.[3]

See also:

Marshal Semyon Budyonny Military Signals and Communications Academy

Budyonny Military Academy of Communications (Военная академия связи им. С. М. Буденного) was created in 1932 in Leningrad. It is named after Semyon Budyonny. It trains the Russian Army's future signals and communications experts.

Yuri Gagarin Military Air Academy

The Gagarin Military Air Academy is located at Monino, northeast of Moscow, in an area closed to foreigners, nearby the Central Air Force Museum. Almost all the senior officers in the Soviet Air Force will have attended this academy. It is charged with the preparation of "command cadres of various aviation specialties and is a research center for working out problems of operational art of the Air Force and tactics of branches and types of aviation." Part of the mandate involves developing new techniques in the operational use of the military aircraft.

Marshal Leonid Govorov Air Defense and Radio Engineering Academy

The “Marshal of the Soviet Union L.A. Govorov Air Defense Radio Engineering Academy” (Russian: Военная инженерная радиотехническая академия им. Маршала Советского Союза Говорова Л.А.) was first established in Moscow in 1941 as a subsidiary of the “Frunze Military Academy” and then moved to Kharkiv (Russian: “Kharkov”) in 1946. As any tourist to the Soviet Union could note, the nation appeared blanketed with radars, aerospace defense and surface-to-air missile sites, and command and control and communications facilities. This graduate school was training commissioned officers of the Air Defense Force in these areas. Its gradutaes were granted an equivalent of the Master of Electrical or Systems Engineering degree. Also about 50 officers were annually graduating with a Kandidat Nauk degree (an equivalent of a Ph.D.). Of the total of some 300 faculty members, more than 10 per cent held the prestigious post-doctoral Doktor Nauk degree. Faculty members were highly engaged in applied research; their textbooks and research publications were known throughout the Soviet Union.

This school was re-organized into the “Kharkiv Military University” of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 1992, soon after the collapse of the USSR. According to the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers’ directive #433 (10.09.2003) the Military University and the Air Force Institute combined to become the Kharkiv National University of the Ukrainian Air Force.[4]

Mikhail Kalinin Military Artillery Academy/Military Artillery Academy "Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich"

Mikhailovskaya Artillery Military Academy (Russian: Михайловская военная артиллерийская академия) in Saint Petersburg dates back to 1698. It was given the name Mikhailovskaya in 1849 after Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich of Russia. Merged into the Red Army Military Technical Academy in 1925, it was restored in 1953 as Kalinin Artillery Military Academy (Военная артиллерийская академия им. М. И. Калинина) as a spin-off of the Dzerzhinsky Academy.

The Grand Duke's name for this academy was restored in 1995.

Khabarovsk Military Commanders Training Academy

Located in Khabarovsk, it serves as the training center for military officers stationed in the Eastern Military District with a study program designed to enhance their experience and command capability.

Sergei Kirov Military Medical Academy

The Kirov Military Medical Academy (Russian: Военно-медицинская академия им. С. М. Кирова) was established in 1798. Located in Saint-Petersburg, it trains senior medical staff for the Armed Forces and conducts research in the medical services area for the military. By contemporary standards, it is a full-scale medical school complete with a network of teaching and research clinics and hospitals affiliated to it. Upon graduation, its students are commissioned as officers with medical doctor credentials. The institution also provides advanced training for mid-career military medical doctors and trains graduate students on the Ph.D. level.

Kuybyshev Military Medical Academy

A Military medical academy in Kuybyshev was established in 1939.

Valerian Kuybyshev Military Engineering Academy

Located in Moscow, this military academy trained medium-rank commissioned officers for the Engineering Troops, a counterpart of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It's now called the Combined Arms Military Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation-Military Engineering Forces Institute after the 1998 merger with the Military Engineering University of St. Petersburg.

Vladimir Lenin Political-Military Academy

Russian: Военно-политическая академия имени В. И. Ленина.

Specialized in training political officers for the entire Soviet Armed Forces.

After a number of reorganization, it was in 1994 merged with the Military Institute of Foreign Languages into the Military University of the Ministry of Defense of Russian Federation (Военный университет Министерства обороны Российской Федерации)[5] and now also includes the Moscow Military Conservatoire and the Military Bandmasters Inistitute, the university's military music arms.

Sergei Makarov Military Academy of Rear Services and Transportation

Military Academy of Rear Services and Transportation (Военная академия тыла и транспорта) was created in 1918 in Leningrad. It trains officers and NCO's for the various Armed Forces rear services and the Army Transportation Force, a part of the rear services.

Field Marshal Alexander Suvorov Moscow Military Music School

A spin-off of the Suvorov Military School, it teaches future Soviet Army and Russian Army military musicians and conductors and is famous for its Corps of Drums, a participant in the Moscow Victory Parade of 1945 and a regular participant in later Revolution Day (until 1990), Victory Day (1965, 1985, 1990, 1995–2008), and, until 1966 May Day military parades. The Corps's instrumentation includes snare drums, fifes, trumpets, glockenspiels and during occasions, bass drums, tenor drums and fanfare bugles. A Turkish crescent from the school was used as its symbol in the Revolution Day and Victory Day parades from 1975 to 1990, later replaced in 1995 by the school's color guard squad carrying the school's Regimental Color. It also has its own nationally and internationally famous training band wing.

A. Mozhaysky Military Space Academy

Also in St. Petersburg, this is the academy responsible for the training of the future officers and NCOs of the Russian Space Forces, the armed forces' youngest branch of service.

Moscow Military Commanders Training School

Established on December 21, 1917 as the Moscow 1st Revolutionary High Composite School, this school trains the future officers of the Russian Army in strategy, tactics and command skills, with a four year study period for which graduates are commissioned Russian Army lieutenants.

The school's cadets are also known as the Kremlin Cadets or the Kremlovtsy, for in December 1919, the Red Army took over the school administration, with headquarters and campus then at the Moscow Kremlin, after just two years of operations. It later became the WPRA 1st Soviet High Military School "All-Russian Central Executive Committee" and from 1925 to 1935, mounted the guard at Lenin's Mausoleum, staying at the Kremlin as its campus until the same year when it moved to Moscow's Lefortovo District to give way to the Kremlin Regiment, nowadays the President of Russia's escort and historical regiment.

In 1937, the school became the "ACEC" Moscow Military School and later as the Moscow Military School of Infantry Training, and received the first of its 3 order medals, that of the Order of the Red Banner, in 1938. In joined the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, and in the Second World War's Eastern Front contributed to the defense of Moscow City and Region from Axis invasion, as well as in other wartime activities. In October 1945, 5 months after the allied victory in Europe, it moved to Kuzminki District, Moscow.

In 1958, it became the Moscow High Command Training School "Supreme Soviet of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic" and received its two other state orders in 1965 and 1978 respectively, the Order of Lenin and the Order of the October Revolution.

In 1998, it became the Moscow Military School and was transformed into its present name in 2003.

Marshal Semyon Timoshenko Military Academy of Chemical Defense and Control

Timoshenko Military Academy of Chemical Defense (Военная академия химической защиты им. С. К. Тимошенко) was established in 1932 in Moscow. It is named after Semyon Timoshenko. Its duties are for the training of officers and NCOs in chemical warfare and defense.

Marshal A. Vasilevsky Military Academy of the Army Air Defense Corps

The Vasilevsky Military Academy of the Army Air Defense (Военная академия войсковой противовоздушной обороны им. А. М. Василевского) was created in 1977 in Kiev as a spin-off of the Kalinin Artillery Military Academy.[6] It was named after Aleksandr Vasilevsky. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, this institution evolved into the General Staff Academy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Marshal Georgy Zhukov Command Academy of the Air Defense Forces

The Zhukov Military Command Academy of Air Defense is located on the banks of the Volga River in Kalinin (now Tver), a city between Moscow and St. Petersburg. In addition to its educational and training mandate, this academy is a research center for studying problems of operational art and tactics, as well as command, communications, and control (C3) on air defense matters.

Nikolai Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy

The Zhukovskyi Air Force Engineering Academy (Военно-воздушная инженерная академия имени профессора Н. Е. Жуковского) named after Nikolai Yegorovich Zhukovsky was founded in Moscow in 1920 to train engineers for the Soviet Air Force as well as lecturers and scientists for military colleges and research institutions. The main facility of this academy is located on the Leningrad Prospekt immediately across from the Moscow Central Airfield. Course of instruction length is five years. In addition to being an institution of higher learning, it also is a scientific center for working out problems in the areas of aviation technology, its maintenance, and combat utilization. Since 2008, the Gagarin Air Academy is a part of the school apparatus, and both have become the Gagarin-Zhukovsky Military Combined Air Force Academy, with its Moscow main campus retained.

Yekaterinburg Force Command School of Artillery

Located in Yekaterinburg, it serves as the officer command traning center of the Russian Ground Forces Artillery and Rocket Forces.

Military Air Combat Training Centers

Russian: ЦБПиПЛС - Центры боевого применения и переучивания личного состава // Tsentry boyevogo primenyeniya i pereuchivaniya lichnogo sostava

These centers do a great deal of scientific and technical work in mastering new aircraft, equipment, and air combat tactics for the Russian Air Forces.

St. Peterburg Military Engineering-Technical University (In Soviet times Leningrad Nikolaevsky Military Engineering Technical Institute of the Armed Forces of the USSR)

Nikolaevsky Military Engineering-Technical Institute of the Armed Forces(Now the Military Engineering-Technical University) (Russian: Военный инженерно-технический университет) is in Saint Petersburg located in its own historical sites near to Engineers Castle, Summer Garden, the Suvorov Museum, Tauride Palace and Smolny Convent. This is one of Saint Petersburg's oldest Military Engineering schools, its history (as a Higher learning institution) began in 1810, training officers for service in the Navy, Russian Engineering Troops and other arms and services. This Engineering school trained and graduated Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Naval Educational Institutions

As part of the ongoing military reform, the Defense Ministry has undertaken to create large consolidated educational entities within the Armed Forces. In the naval sphere the leading institution is the Military Educational and Scientific Center (Russ. ВУНЦ)- Fleet Admiral Of the Soviet Union N.G. Kuznetsov Naval Academy. This organization is responsible for the direct oversight of all naval training and educational institutions spanning students from grade school age through post-command senior officers destined to hold the highest positions in the Russian military.

Naval Post-graduate Institutions

  • Fleet Admiral of the Soviet Union N.G. Kuznetsov Naval Academy (formerly - Marshal Andrey Grechko Naval Academy)

The Kuznetsov Naval Academy located in St. Petersburg is the Soviet Navy's only senior service school. Its faculty included many more admirals than did the Frunze. The students are lieutenants commander, commanders, and some captains, with ages 30–35 years. All naval officers (including naval aviation) holding command positions above the regiment (wing) level are graduates of this school. Some Soviet air force officers are appointed as faculty members, but no air force officers are permitted in the student body.

Advanced Officer Education

  • Advanced Special Officers' Courses

Located in St. Petersburg, this institution provides advanced education for prospective Executive and Commanding Officers as well as for officers going on to be "flag specialists" on the staffs of large naval formations and fleets

Naval Officer Commissioning Institutions

  • Peter the Great Naval Corps - St. Petersburg Naval Institute

This is Russia's oldest naval officer commissioning school and institution of higher learning. Originally established as the School of Mathematics and Navigational Sciences in Moscow by Peter the Great the school was later moved to St. Petersburg. It is located on the embankment of the Neva River opposite the Admiralty Shipyard. In Soviet times it was known as the M.V. Frunze Higher Naval School. The great majority of Imperial Russia's and the Soviet Union's most outstanding naval officers and admiralty leadership are graduates of this school. Recently, the Leninskiy Komsomol Submarine Navigation High Naval School in St. Petersburg was absorbed by this institution.

  • Alexander S. Popov Naval Radioelectronics Institute

This is the Russian Navy's officer commissioning school for specialists in naval electronics and computer technologies. It is located near the imperial summer palace in Peterhof, St. Petersburg.

  • Naval Engineering Institute

This naval school commissions engineering officers, specializing in both conventional and nuclear propulsion and associated systems. This institute is located in Pushkin, St. Petersburg and now combines the Felix Derzhinskiy Higher Naval Engineering School formerly located in the Admiralty building and the Higher Naval Engineering School which had been located in Pushkin near the lake of the imperial Catherine Palace.

  • F.F. Ushakov Baltic Naval Institute

Located in Kaliningrad, this naval officer commissioning school educates general profile officers as well as specialists in communications and intelligence.

  • S.O. Makarov Pacific Naval Institute

Located in Vladivostok, this naval officer commissioning school educates general profile officers for service in the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet.

Pre-commissioning Schools

Founded in 1944 and located in St. Petersburg in an impressive baroque building adjacent to the AURORA, the Navy's oldest commissioned warship and the ship that has been credited with signaling the beginning of the October Revolution, this institution can be considered a naval preparatory school. Successful graduates from its program can directly enter the officer commissioning schools without sitting for the competitive entrance examinations. Originally, the Nakhimov Schools and their army equivalents, the Suvorov Schools, were established to provide education for the sons of officers who perished during the war. There were three Nakhimov Schools (Leningrad-1944, Tbilisi-1944, and Riga-1945) but the Tbilisi and Riga schools were closed in 1955 and 1952, respectively. Only the school in St. Petersburg continues to function today.

  • Kronshtadt Naval Cadet Corps

Located in Kronshtadt on Kotlin Island this school is for upper grade school aged youths interested in eventually attending the Nakhimov Naval School, in effect becoming a preparatory middle school for youths considering entering the NNS, a preparatory school for the officers' commissioning institutions.

Military academies of Non-MOD armed forces: MVD, EMERCOM and the FSS

Ministry of the Interior of Russia High Command Academy

This academy trains future officers of the Ministry of the Interior's Internal Troops Command. It was founded in 1932 as a training venue for the NKVD's future officers.

St. Petersburg MVD Internal Troops Military Institute

Located in St. Petersburg, the ITMI serves as the training facility for personnel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Internal Troops Service, both officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers.

St. Petersburg University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia

As one of the premier post-graduate schools of Russia's Internal Affairs Ministry its purpose is for the enhancement and continued training for officers and NCOs of the Ministy's various arms, including the Internal Troops and the Tax Police.

Ministry of Emergency Situations Civil Defense Academy

As part of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia, this academy trains troops for the service of the country's civil defense capabilities and disaster response services.

Moscow Military Institute of the Russian FSS

It trains the future officers and NCO's of the various services of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation


  1. ^ A.I. Radziyevskiy, 'The Military Academy named after M.V. Frunze', Soviet Military Encyclopaedia, Vol. 2, p.175, Moscow, Voyenizdat, 1976, cited in Scott and Scott, Armed Forces of the USSR, ibid.
  2. ^ Scott and Scott, Russian Military Directory 2002, p.205
  3. ^ a b Scott and Scott, Russian Military Directory 2004, p.195
  4. ^
  5. ^ Military University - unofficial site
  6. ^ Scott and Scott, The Armed Forces of the USSR, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1979, p.367

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