- Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (Russian: Вооружё́нные Си́лы Росси́йской Федера́ции Transliteration: Voruzhonnije Síly Rossíyskoj Federátsii) are the military services of Russia, established after the break-up of the Soviet Union. On 7 May 1992 Boris Yeltsin signed a decree establishing the Russian Ministry of Defence and placing all Soviet Armed Forces troops on the territory of the RSFSR under Russian Federation control. The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces is the President of the Russian Federation. Although the Russian armed forces were formed in 1992, the Russian military dates its roots back to the times of the Kievan Rus'.
As of 2007, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimated that the Russian armed forces numbered about 1,200,000 active troops and about another 754,000 reserves, but a significant military reform is underway which will cut the number of troops. According to an 2010 IISS estimate, Russia's annual defense spending stands at about $86 billion. Russia is one of the few countries in the world that has a fully indigenous defence industry, producing its own military equipment.
As the Soviet Union officially dissolved on December 31, 1991, the Soviet military was left in limbo. For the next year and a half various attempts to keep its unity and transform it into the military of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) failed. Over time, the units stationed in Ukraine and some other breakaway republics swore loyalty to their new national governments, while a series of treaties between the newly independent states divided up the military's assets. On 7 May 1992, Yeltsin appointed himself as the new Russian minister of defence, marking a crucial step in the creation of the new Armed Forces. By December 1993 CIS military structures had become CIS military cooperation structures with all real influence lost.
In the next few years, Russian forces withdrew from central and eastern Europe, as well as from some newly independent post-Soviet republics. While in most places the withdrawal took place without any problems, the Russian Armed Forces remained in some disputed areas such as the Sevastopol naval base in the Crimea as well as in Abkhazia and Transnistria. The Armed Forces have several bases in foreign countries, especially on territory of the former Soviet Republics.
A new military doctrine, promulgated in November 1993, implicitly acknowledged the contraction of the old Soviet military into a regional military power without global imperial ambitions. In keeping with its emphasis on the threat of regional conflicts, the doctrine called for a Russian military that is smaller, lighter, and more mobile, with a higher degree of professionalism and with greater rapid deployment capability. Such change proved extremely difficult to achieve. Under Defence Minister Pavel Grachev, little military reform took place, though there was a plan to create more deployable Mobile Forces. Later Defence Minister Rodionov had good qualifications but did not manage to institute lasting change. Only under Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev did a certain amount of limited reforms begin, though attention was focused upon the Strategic Rocket Forces. Significant reforms were announced in late 2008 under Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov, and major structural reorganisation began in 2009.
Key elements of the reforms announced in October 2008 include reducing the armed forces to a strength of one million by 2012 (planned end-date was 2016 ); reducing the number of officers; centralising officer training from 65 military schools into 10 'systemic' military training centres; reducing the size of the central command; introducing more civilian logistics and auxiliary staff; elimination of cadre-strength formations; reorganising the reserves; reorganising the army into a brigade system; and reorganising air forces into an air base system instead of regiments.
The amount of military units is to be reduced in accordance with the table:
Arms and branches 2008 2012 Reduction Ground Forces 1,890 172 -90 % Air Force 340 180 -48 % Navy 240 123 -49 % Strategic Rocket Forces 12 8 -33 % Space Forces 7 6 -15 % Airborne Troops 6 5 -17 %
An essential part of the military reform is its down-sizing. By the beginning of the reform, there were about 1,200,000 active personnel in the Russian army. Largely, the reductions falls within the officers. Personnel are to be reduced according to the table:
Category of military men September 1, 2008 December 1, 2009 Planned for 2012 Reduction General/Admiral 1,107 780 866 −22 % Colonel/Captain 1st Rank 15,365 3,114 −80 % Lieutenant Colonel/Captain 2nd Rank]] 19,300 7,500 −61 % Major/Captain 3rd Rank 99,550 30,000 −70 % Captain/Captain Lieutenant 90,000 40,000 −56 % First Lieutenant/Senior Lieutenant 30,000 35,000 +17 % Lieutenant/Lieutenant 20,000 26,000 +30 % Officers in total 365,000 150,000 −61 % Praporshchik 90,000 0 0 −100 % Warrant officer 50,000 0 0 −100 %
The Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation serves as the administrative body of the Armed Forces. Since Soviet times, the General Staff has acted as the main commanding and supervising body of the Russian armed forces: U.S. expert William Odom said in 1998, that 'the Soviet General Staff without the MoD is conceivable, but the MoD without the General Staff is not.' However, currently the General Staff's role is being reduced to that of the Ministry's department of strategic planning, the Minister himself, currently Anatoliy Serdyukov may now be gaining further executive authority over the troops. Other departments include the personnel directorate as well as the Rear Services of the Armed Forces of Russia, railroad troops and construction troops. The Chief of the General Staff is currently General of the Army Nikolai Makarov.
The Russian military is divided into the following branches: the Russian Ground Forces, the Russian Navy, and the Russian Air Force. There are also three independent arms of service : Strategic Missile Troops, Military Space Forces, and the Russian Airborne Troops. The Troops of Air Defence, the former Soviet Air Defence Forces, have been subordinated into the Air Force since 1998. The Armed Forces as a whole seem to be traditionally referred to as the Army (armiya), except in some cases, the Navy.
As of late 2010 the Ground Forces are distributed among into four military districts: Western Military District, Southern Military District, Central Military District, and the Eastern Military District. Previously from 1992 to 2010, the Ground Forces were divided into six military districts: Moscow, Leningrad, North Caucausian, Privolzhsk-Ural, Siberian and Far Eastern. Russia's four fleets and one flotilla were organizations on par with the Ground Forces' Military Districts. These six MDs were merged into the four new MDs, which now incorporated the naval forces, as part of a 2010 reorganisation.
The Navy consists of four fleets and one flotilla:
- Baltic Fleet (HQ at Baltiysk in the exclave of Kaliningrad Oblast).
- Pacific Fleet (HQ at Vladivostok).
- Northern Fleet (HQ at Severomorsk).
- Black Sea Fleet (HQ at Sevastopol, Ukraine. (In 2005, the Ukrainian government agreed that Russia would be allowed to lease several base areas around Sevastopol until 2017.) This lease has been extended by 25 years through 2042 with an option for an additional five years through 2047.
- Caspian Flotilla (HQ at Astrakhan).
There is also the Kaliningrad Special Region, under the command of the Commander Baltic Fleet, which has Ground & Coastal Forces, formerly the 11th Guards Army, with a motor rifle division and a motor rifle brigade, and a fighter aviation regiment of Sukhoi Su-27 'Flanker', as well as other forces.
Similarly, there is the Northeast Group of Troops and Forces, headquartered at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, comprising all Russian Armed Forces components in the Kamchatka Oblast and the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug [district] and subordinate to the Commander Pacific Fleet headquartered in Vladivostok.
In mid 2010 a reorganisation was announced which would consolidate military districts and the navy’s fleets into four Joint Strategic Commands (OSC). Geographically divided, the four commands will be:
- Joint Strategic Command West - Western Military District (HQ in St. Peterburg), includes the Northern and Baltic Fleets;
- Joint Strategic Command South - Southern Military District (HQ in Rostov-on-Don) includes the Black Sea Fleet and Caspian Flotilla;
- Joint Strategic Command Center - Central Military District (HQ in Yekaterinburg);
- Joint Strategic Command East - Eastern Military District (HQ in Khabarovsk), includes the Pacific Fleet.
The plan, was put in place on December 1, 2010, and mirrors a proposed reorganisation by former Chief of the General Staff Army General Yuri Baluyevsky for a Regional Command East which was not in fact implemented. The four commands were set up by a decree of President Medvedev on 14 July 2010. In July 2011, an Operational-Strategic Command of Missile-Space Defence has also been established on the basis of the former Special Purpose Command of the Russian Air Force. It is expected to be operational on December 1, 2011. A decision whether the VKO will be subordinated to the Air Force or the Space Forces has yet to be taken. Commander of the VKO is General-Lieutenant Valery Ivanov. A Presidential decree of January 2011 named commanders for several of the new organisational structures.
Russian military command posts, according to Globalsecurity.org, include Chekhov/Sharapovo about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Moscow, for the General Staff and President, Chaadayevka near Penza, Voronovo in Moscow, and a facility at Lipetsk all for the national leadership, Mount Yamantaw in the Urals, and command posts for the Strategic Rocket Forces at Kuntsevo in Moscow (primary) and Kosvinsky Mountain in the Urals (alternate). It is speculated that many of the Moscow bunkers are linked by the special underground Moscow Metro 2 line.
Russian security bodies not under the control of the Ministry of Defence include the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Border Guard Service of Russia (part of the Federal Security Service), the Kremlin Regiment and the rest of the Federal Protective Service (Russia), the Federal Communications and Information Agency, and the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the country's civil defense service since 1995 and successor to earlier civil defense units.
As of 2008[update], some 480,000 young men are brought into the Army via Conscription in Russia in two call-ups each year. The term of service is 12 months. Eligible age is 18 to 27 years old.
Deferments are provided to undergraduate and graduate students, men solely supporting disabled relatives, parents of at least two children and - upon Presidential proclamation - to some employees of military-oriented enterprises. Men holding Ph.D. as well as sons and brothers of servicemen died or disabled during their military service are released of conscription.
There are widespread problems with hazing in the Army, known as dedovshchina, where first-year draftees are bullied by second-year draftees, a practice that appeared in its current form after the change to a two-year service term in 1967. To combat this problem, a new decree was signed in March 2007, which cut the conscription service term from 24 to 18 months. The term was cut further to one year on January 1, 2008.
Thirty percent of Russian Armed Forces' personnel were contract servicemen at the end of 2005. For the foreseeable future, the Armed Forces will be a mixed contract/conscript force. The Russian Armed Forces need to maintain a mobilization reserve to have manning resources capable of reinforcing the permanent readiness forces if the permanent readiness forces cannot deter or suppress an armed conflict on their own.
The ranks of the Russian military are also open to non-Russian citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States, of which Russia is the largest member. By December 2003, the Russian parliament had approved a law in principle to permit the Armed Forces to employ foreign nationals on contract by offering them Russian citizenship after several years service. Yet up to 2010, foreigners could only serve in Russia’s armed forces after getting a Russian passport. Under a 2010 Defence Ministry plan, foreigners without dual citizenship would able to sign up for five-year contracts and will be eligible for Russian citizenship after serving three years. The change could open the way for CIS citizens to get fast-track Russian citizenship, and counter the effects of Russia’s demographic crisis on its army recruitment.
Awards and decorations of the Armed Forces are covered at Awards and Emblems of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.
In 1988 military spending was a single line item in the Soviet state budget, totaling 21 billion rubles (about US$33 billion). Given the size of the military establishment, however, the actual figure was considered to be far higher. However, between 1991 and 1997 newly independent Russia's defence spending fell by a factor of eight in real prices. Between 1988 and 1993 weapons production in Russia fell by at least 50% for virtually every major weapons system.
In 1998, when Russia experienced a severe financial crisis, its military expenditure in real terms reached its lowest point— barely one-quarter of the USSR’s in 1991, and two-fifths of the level of 1992, the first year of Russia’s independent existence.
Defence spending is consistently increasing by at least a minimum of one-third year-on-year, leading to overall defence expenditure almost quadrupling over the past six years, and according to Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, this rate is to be sustained through 2010. Official government military spending for 2005 was US $32.4 billion, though various sources, have estimated Russia’s military expenditures to be considerably higher than the reported amount. Estimating Russian military expenditure is beset with difficulty; the annual IISS Military Balance has underscored the problem numerous times within its section on Russia. The IISS Military Balance comments - 'By simple observation..[the military budget] would appear to be lower than is suggested by the size of the armed forces or the structure of the military-industrial complex, and thus neither of the figures is particularly useful for comparative analysis'. By some estimates, overall Russian defence expenditure is now at the second highest in the world after the USA. According to Alexander Kanshin, Chairman of the Public Chamber of Russia on affairs of veterans, military personnel, and their families, the Russian military is losing up to US$13 billion to corruption every year.
On 16 February 2009 Russia's deputy defence minister said state defence contracts would not be subject to cuts this year despite the ongoing financial crisis, and that there would be no decrease in 2009. The budget would still be 1,376 billion roubles and in the current exchange rates this would amount to $41.5 billion.
However, later that month, due to the world financial crisis, the Russian Parliament's Defence Committee stated that the Russian defence budget would instead be slashed by 15 percent, from $40 billion to $34 billion, with further cuts to come. On 5 May 2009, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said that the defence budget for 2009 will be 1.3 trillion rubles (US$39.4 billion). 322 billion rubles are allocated to purchase weapons, and the rest of the fund will be spent on construction, fuel storage and food supply.
About 70% of the former Soviet Union's defence industries are located in the Russian Federation. Many defence firms have been privatized; some have developed significant partnerships with firms in other countries.
The structure of the state defence order under President Putin changed. Priority was given to the acquisition of sophisticated modern weapons, in light of the events in Chechnya. Previously, financing of strategic nuclear deterrence forces had been a priority, and up to 80% of assignments for the state defence order were spent on their needs. It was planned that beginning from 2000 the state defence order would comprise two priority directions: assignments for the nuclear deterrence forces, and assignments for purchase of conventional arms including the precision guided weapons.
The recent steps towards modernisation of the Armed Forces have been made possible by Russia's economic resurgence based on oil and gas revenues as well a strengthening of its own domestic market. Currently, the military is in the middle of a major equipment upgrade, with the government in the process of spending about $200 billion (what equals to about $400 billion in PPP dollars) on development and production of military equipment between 2006-2015 under the State Armament Programme for 2007-2015 (GPV - госпрограмма вооружения). Mainly as a result of lessons learned during the August War, the State Armament Programme for 2011-2020 was launched in December 2010. Prime Minister Putin announced that 20-21.5 trillion roubles (over $650 billion) will be allocated to purchase new hardware in the next 10 years. The aim is to have a growth of 30% of modern equipment in the army, navy and air force by 2015, and of 70% by 2020. In some categories, the proportion of new weapon systems will reach 80% or even 100%. At this point, the Russian MOD plans to purchase, among others, up to 150 ICBMs, 600 aircraft, 1,000 helicopters, 18 submarines, 15 frigates, 35 corvettes and 62 air defense battalions. Several existing types will be upgraded.
As of 2011, Russia's chief military prosecutor said that 20% of the defence budget was being stolen or defrauded yearly.
According to some sources, Russia possesses the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, although the United States has superiority in the number of deployed nuclear weapons. Other sources claim that the stockpile of the USA is larger. Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces controls its land-based nuclear warheads, while the Navy controls the submarine based missiles and the Air Force the air-launched warheads. Russia's nuclear warheads are deployed in four areas:
- Land-based immobile (silos), like R-36.
- Land-based mobile, like RT-2UTTKh Topol-M.
- Submarine based, like RSM-56 Bulava.
- Air-launched warheads of the Russian Air Forces' Long Range Aviation Command
Russian military doctrine sees NATO expansion as one of the threats for the Russian Federation and reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a conventional aggression that can endanger the existence of the state. In keeping with this, the country's nuclear forces received adequate funding throughout the late 1990s. Russia, with approximately 16,000 warheads, possesses the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads. The number of intercontinental ballistic missiles and warheads on active duty has declined over the years, in part in keeping with arms limitation agreements with the U.S. and in part due to insufficient spending on maintenance, but this is balanced by the deployment of new missiles as proof against missile defences. Russia has developed the new RT-2UTTKh Topol-M (SS-27) missiles that are stated to be able to penetrate any missile defence, including the planned U.S. National Missile Defence. The missile can change course in both air and space to avoid countermeasures. It is designed to be launched from land-based, mobile TEL units and submarines. Russian nuclear forces are confident that they can carry out a successful retaliation strike if attacked.
Because of international awareness of the danger that Russian nuclear technology might fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue officers who it was feared might want to use nuclear weapons to threaten or attack other countries, the Federal government of the United States and many other countries provided considerable financial assistance to the Russian nuclear forces in early 1990s. Many friendly countries gave huge amounts of money in lieu for Russian Arms purchase deals which kept Russian Agencies functioning just like they used to earlier with high efficiency. This money went in part to finance decommissioning of warheads under international agreements, such the Cooperative Threat Reduction programme, but also to improve security and personnel training in Russian nuclear facilities.
In the late evening of September 11, 2007 the fuel-air explosive AVBPM or "Father of all bombs" was successfully field-tested. According to the Russian military, the new weapon will replace several smaller types of nuclear bombs in its arsenal.
- ^ a b c IISS Military Balance 2010, p. 222
- ^ http://milexdata.sipri.org/
- ^ Greg Austin & Alexey Muraviev, The Armed Forces of Russia in Asia, Tauris, 2000, p.130
- ^ IISS Military Balance 2010, p.221
- ^ For an account of this period, see Odom, William E. (1998). The Collapse of the Soviet Military. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300074697.
- ^ Russia's top brass gather in Moscow to discuss military reform
- ^ Moscow Defence Brief, 20 (2), 2010
- ^ a b Reform of the Russian Armed Forces
- ^ William Eldridge Odom, 'The Collapse of the Soviet Military,' Yale University Press, 1998, p.27
- ^ "Russian Black Sea fleet can stay at Sevastopol: Ukraine minister." Agence France Presse. February 18, 2005. (Via Lexis-Nexis, July 27, 2005).
- ^ New military command structure and outsourcing initiatives, THE ISCIP ANALYST (Russian Federation) An Analytical Review, Volume XVI, Number 13, 27 May 2010
- ^ Alexsander Golts, 3 Heads are worse than one, The Moscow Times, 20 July 2010
- ^ RIAN.ru, Russia sets up four strategic commands 14 July 2010, and Russia’s regional military commands, September 2010
- ^ http://rt.com/politics/missile-defense-air-space/
- ^ http://news.kremlin.ru/acts/10032
- ^ Globalsecurity.org, Strategic C3I Facilities, accessed October 2007
- ^ Odom, The Collapse of the Soviet Military
- ^ a b History of Russian Armed Forces started with biggest military redeployment ever. Pravda Online. The Conflict Studies Research Centre's Keir Giles' paper on the subject, 'Where have all the soldiers gone: Russia's military plans versus demographic reality', accessible via here explores some of the challenges of this transition.
- ^ a b Central Intelligence Agency, The World Fact Book: Russia
- ^ Recruitment Russian Ministry of Defence
- ^ "Azeris attracted to serve in Russian army." BBC Worldwide Monitoring. (Originally in the Azerbaijani paper Echo.) March 14, 2005. (Via Lexis-Nexis, July 27, 2005).
- ^ Henry Ivanov, Quality not quantity: Country Briefing: Russia, Jane's Defence Weekly, 17 December 2003, p.25
- ^ http://www.themoscownews.com/news/20101125/188233351.html and http://info-wars.org/2010/11/29/now-you-can-join-the-russian-foreign-legion/
- ^ Austin, Greg; Alexey Muraviev (2000). The Armed Forces of Russia in Asia. London, New York: I.B. Tauris. p. 155. ISBN 1 86064 485 6.
- ^ FBIS: Informatsionno-Analiticheskoye Agentstvo Marketing i Konsalting, 14 March 2006, “Russia: Assessment, Adm Baltin Interview, Opinion Poll on State of Armed Forces”.
- ^ a b International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance, previous editions
- ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2006, Routledge, p.153
- ^ Keir Giles, Military Service in Russia: No New Model Army, Conflict Studies Research Centre, May 2007
- ^ BBC, (Russian) Corruption "takes a third of the military budget of Russia", 3 July 2008
- ^ http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-09-19-Russia-defense_N.htm and http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=115073
- ^ http://www.cnguy.com/financial/news/2009/02/17/4361/defense-procurement-budget-of-russia.html
- ^ Leander Schaerlaeckens, "Russian budget cuts could impact EU defense market", UPI (23 February 2009).
- ^ CHAPTER 2 - INVESTING IN RUSSIAN DEFENSE CONVERSION: OBSTACLES AND OPPORTUNITIES Federation of American Scientists, fas.org
- ^ Big rise in Russian military spending raises fears of new challenge to west. Guardian Unlimited
- ^ a b Moscow Defense Brief #1, 2011
- ^ http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/196432.html
- ^ Status of Nuclear Powers and Their Nuclear Capabilities. Federation of American Scientists
- ^ a b "U.S. has 'nuclear superiority' over Russia". RIA Novosti. 2011-10-25. http://en.rian.ru/world/20111025/168112458.html.
- ^ RIAN.ru, Analysts cannot calculate number of Russian, U.S. nuclear warheads, May 2009
- ^ Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, "Global nuclear stockpiles, 1945-2006", Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2006.
- ^ http://www.kremlin.ru
- ^ Илья Kрамник (2007-09-12). "Кузькин отец" (in Russian). Lenta.ru. http://www.lenta.ru/articles/2007/09/12/bomb/. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- "How are the mighty fallen" The Economist. 2–8 July 2005. pp. 45–46
- Galeotti, Mark, ‘Organised crime and Russian security forces: mafiya, militia and military’, Journal of Conflict, Security and Development, issue 1:2, 2001.
- Ivanov, Henry, ‘Country Briefing: Russia—Austere deterrence’, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 28 April 2006
- Turbiville, G., ‘Organized crime and the Russian armed forces’, Transnational Organized Crime, vol. 1, issue 4, 1995, pp. 55–73;
- Waters, T., ‘Crime in the Russian military’, CSRC Paper C90, (Camberley: Conflict Studies Research Centre, 1996).
- Austin, Greg; Alexey Muraviev (2000). The Armed Forces of Russia in Asia. London, New York: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 1 86064 485 6.
- Keir Giles, Military Service in Russia: No New Model Army, Conflict Studies Research Centre, May 2007
- International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance, various editions
- Odom, William E. (1998). The Collapse of the Soviet Military. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300074697.
- Russia's Military Analysis A very comprehensive online database of modern Russian arms and military technologies. Website also has discussion forums, videos and more.
- Russia Military Guide Includes satellite photos of bases.
- - British Conflict Studies Research Centre papers on Russian armed forces
- kamouflage.net Camouflage uniforms used by Russian Federation armed forces
- "Что такое современная армия России" (in Russian). Kommersant. 2005. http://www.kommersant.ru/doc.aspx?DocsID=548978. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- Boy with reattached legs joins Russian army (RT article)
- Authoritative Russian Defence Policy blog
- Authoritative Russian Military Reform blog
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