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Russian Army Order of Battle

In 2008 reforms were initiated by Russian Defense Minister Anatolii Serdyukov to fundamentally change the personnel composition and structure within the Ground Forces, to be finished by 2012. The new management system was borrowed from the NATO / US experience. In practice, however, these plans proved to be “unbaked” and required online corrections and removal of deficiencies.

The main change was a move from the current vertical chain of command of the Armed Forces, a military district - army - division - regiment structure, to a united strategic commands (USC) - operative command [Armies] - brigade regime, in order to increase efficiency by abolishing redundant elements. Except for some postwar changes, the Russian army's structure had remained virtually the same since 1945-1946. Four-regiment divisions were the main tactical units, while the recruitment system aimed to swell troop strength in wartime. But any local conflict can be won without resorting to mobilization.

The previous system comprising military districts, armies, divisions and regiments is giving way to another system that will consist of military districts, tactical commands and brigades. The brigade structure seemed to be more flexible and better suited for local conflicts because divisions are too cumbersome and regiments lack the required weaponry and equipment for conducting independent operations. Army 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.

Mobile permanent readiness brigades, consisting of battalions, will be capable of operating tactical maneuver groups, either independently or together with other brigades under joint command. In addition, each military district established rapid response brigades, which will most likely be formed out of airborne units. The non-combat (‘cadre-strength’) units with a minimal / reduced manpower were eliminated, and all army units were ‘troops of permanent readiness’ (combat units). In 2009, the structure of the Armed Forces changed from division-regiment based to the brigade-based one (except the Airborne Landing Forces and Strategic Missile Forces). The mumber of Military Units in Russian Ground Forces went from 1,890 in 2008 to 172 by 2012.

Changes in the personnel composition of the Armed Forces include reducing the commissioned officers' (CO) numbers from more than 400,000 in 2008 (over 30% of the current 1,200,000 servicemen) to around 150,000 (15% of the future 1,000,000). The cutback would mostly affect Logistics and staff COs and Generals, while the number of First and Second Lieutenants will increase from 50,000 to 60,000. A reduction in CO numbers will be accompanied by a boost in the size of the sergeant corps. The sergeant corps will play a much larger role in the future Russian Army. Well-trained and experienced professional sergeants will ensure fast and effective training of privates, both contract soldiers and conscripts.

Many of the specialized support [non-manuever] "brigades" have staff headcounts of only a thousand troops or fewer. The 70th Separate Signal Brigade at Naro-Fominsk had fewer than 400 troops on hand when it was disbanded. Others appear to be no more than small command staffs - as of the year 2011 the 119th Logistics Brigade at Orlovskie Dvoriki had only 24 persons on staff. A number of the units designated as "regiments" in fact had only a few dozen troops on hand.

While it might be tempting to think of this as indicative of under-manned units, it would be more helpful to think of these small units as over-officered. The post-Soviet Russian Army had a massive over-supply of officers. While drafted privates and sergeants could painlessly melt away, a too-rapid down-sizing of the officer corps could have produced political problems for Russia's rulers. Even too much constraint on promotion opportunities could have produced problems. So the answer, much like the army of Myanmar, was to over-officer small units.

Span of command rationales are not entirely apparent. In the Eastern Military District the 5th Army, 35th Army and 36th Army are generally similar in organization, and are really divisions, rather than armies, while 29th Army has far more units than could be conveniently commanded from a single headquarters. The persistence of Machinegun Artillery formations is peculiar. In the Central Military District, the lopsided allocation of units between 2nd Army, a small formation which lacks maneuver brigades, and 41st Army, which has them in abundance, requires some explanation.

Denis Mokrushin’s blog reported in early 2014 on the establishment of an independent motorized rifle brigade (mountain), which may stand up in Tuva in 2015. The new 55th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade (Mountain) will be based in Kyzyl, capital of the ethnic Tuvan republic. It would be located at the geographic center of Asia, close to Central Asian states where it might deploy in a crisis.

A multi-service force is being created to protect Russia's national interests in the Arctic. The combined arms element of the force will incorporate two Arctic motorized infantry brigades, Ground Forces Commander Col. Gen. Oleg Salyukov told reporters on 01 October 2014. "A separate [Arctic] motorized infantry brigade has almost been formed in the Murmansk region. The second Arctic brigade will be formed in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous region during the year 2016," Salyukov said. The brigades will accomplish coast patrolling missions, protect sites and territories on the coast of the northern seas and the Arctic Ocean, support and escort ships sailing along the Northern Sea Route, and demonstrate the military presence in the Arctic, he said. "The Arctic formations will be equipped with off-highway vehicles: two-section transporters, snowmobiles and hovercraft," Salyukov added. The armaments and special-purpose gear will help the successful accomplishment of missions in northern latitudes, he said. "Combat training will be organized with due account of climatic conditions," the commander stated.

By October 2014 Russia's Defense Ministry was drafting amendments to the federal Law On Defense that would allow for the creation of several reservist armies. These forces would consist of men who have performed their compulsory military service or enlisted as contract servicemen. They would report for training on a monthly basis while continuing to work at their civilian jobs. Initial reports did not cite any figure either for the number of such armies or of their optimum strength. Advocates predicted that this innovation would enhance the combat readiness of the Russian armed forces as a whole and ensure that in the event of unanticipated hostilities, conscripts would not be used as "cannon fodder" (as was the case during the initial advance on Grozny during the 1994-96 Chechen war).

Skeptics warned that in the long term, the creation of a network of regional armies not directly subordinate to the federal Defense Ministry could create more problems than it solved. The Bolshevik victory in 1917 was largely thanks to the extensive network of such reservist battalions.

Nor is it yet clear in which Russian regions these planned new forces would be based. The one regional leader who was most likely to embrace this idea wholeheartedly is Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov. But the stipulation that only men who had performed their military service would be eligible to serve in the reservist armies automatically disqualified most Chechen men in their 20s and 30s, given that since the early 2000s no young men from Chechnya, and only a few from other North Caucasus republics, had been drafted.

Eastern Military District


5th Army

Primorie, Ussuryysk
57th Separate Motorized BrigadeBikin
59th Separate Motorized Brigade Sergeevka
60th Separate Motorized BrigadeSibirtsevo/Lipovtsy
70th Separate Motorized BrigadeUssuryysk
8th Air Defense BrigadeRazdolnoe
80th C3 BrigadeUssuryysk
58th Engineer RegimentRazdolnoe
101st Separate Logistics Brigade??

29th Army

36th Separate Motorized BrigadeBorzya
39th Separate Motorized BrigadeYuzhno-Sakhalinsk
11th Separate Commando BrigadeSosnovyy Bor (Ulan-Ude)
83rd Separate Commando BrigadeUssuryysk (Far East)
14th Separate SPETSNAZ BrigadeUssuryysk (Far East)
18th Air Defense BrigadeKyahta
140th Air Defense BrigadeDomna/Telemba (Chita)
75th C3 BrigadeChita
165th Artillery Brigade Nikolskoe (Belogorsk)
200th Artillery BrigadeGornyy/Drovyanaya
305th Artillery BrigadeSevernyy (Ussuryysk)
338th MLRS BrigadeNovosysoevka
20th Missile BrigadeSpassk-Dalnyy
103rd Missile BrigadeDrovyanaya
107th Missile BrigadeBirobidzhan, Semistochnyy
16th Separate NBC Defense BrigadeGalkino (Khabarovsk)
101st C3 Brigade Chita
104th C3 BrigadeKnyaze-Volkonskoe
76th Separate Signal BrigadeKomsomolsk
92nd Separate Signal ELINT Brigade (OSNAZ)Arseniev (Primorskyy)
50th Communications Brigade
50th Separate Communications Brigade?
106th Separate Communications Brigade Dalnerechinsk
154th Separate Communications Brigade
7th Separate ECM Regiment OSNArtem
17th Separate ECM BrigadeMatveevka
53rd Separate Logistics RegimentChita

18th Machinegun Artillery Division

Goryachie Klyuchi (Sakhalin)
46th Machinegun Artillery RegimentLagunnoe
49th Machinegun Artillery Regiment

35th Army

38th Separate Motorized BrigadeBelogorsk-Ekaterinoslavka
64th Separate Motorized BrigadeKhabarovsk
69th Separate Motorized Sustainment BrigadeBabstovo (JAD)
71st Air Defense BrigadeSrednebelaya (Amur)
54th C3 BrigadeBelogorsk
37th Engineer Regiment Berezovka
103rd Separate Logistics Brigade??
Logistics BrigadeArkhara (Amur)

36th Army

Ulan Ude
5th Separate Tank BrigadeUlan Ude
37th Separate Motorized Brigade Kyakhta
75th C3 BrigadeBorzya
27th Engineer RegimentYasnaya

Western Military District

St. Petersburg

Central Command

449th Separate Fireworks DivisionVatutinko
27th Separate Motorized BrigadeVidnoe-4
2nd Separate SPETSNAZ BrigadePromezhits
16th Separate SPETSNAZ BrigadeTambov
49th Air Defense BrigadeElnya
53rd Air Defense BrigadeKursk
202nd Air Defense Brigade Naro-Fomisnk
112nd Missile BrigadeShuya
79th MLRS BrigadeTver
7th Separate Engineer RegimentBelev (Tula)
145th Engineer Regiment ?
27th NBC Defense BrigadeKursk
39th Separate Signal ELINT Brigade OsNOrenburg
82nd Separate ELINT Brigade (OSNAZ)Vyazma
146th Separate ELINT Brigade (OSNAZ)St Petersburg
146th Separate ELINT Brigade OsNBugry
16th Separate ECM BrigadeKursk
1st C3 BrigadeSertolovo
119th Logistics Brigade Orlovskie Dvoriki

6th Army

25th Separate Motorized BrigadeVladimirskyy Lager
138th Separate Motorized BrigadeKamenka (Vyborg)
26th Missile BrigadeLuga
9th Artillery BrigadeLuga
5th Air Defense BrigadeNyunemyaki
132nd Separate Communications BrigadeAgalatovo
140th Separate Engineer RegimentKerro (Karelia)
95th C3 BrigadeChernaya Rechka
51st Separate Logistics BrigadeSt Petersburg

20th Army

4th Separate Guard Tank Brigade KantemirovNaro-Fominsk
5th Separate Guard Motorized Rifle Brigade TamanskayaKalininets
6th Separate Tank BrigadeDzerzhinsk
9th Separate Motorized BrigadeN Novgorod/Sormovo
448th Missile BrigadeDurnevo/Kursk
288th Artillery Brigade Mulino
250th Separate ELINT Regiment (OSNAZ)Ostrogozhsk
9th C3 BrigadeMulino

Central Military District


2nd Army

119th Missile BrigadeElanskyy
297th Air Defense BrigadeAlkino (Ufa)
91st C3 BrigadeRoschinskyy
153rd Communications Brigade Verkhnyaya Pyshma
105th Separate Logistics BrigadeRoschinskyy

41st Army

201st Military Base [Motorized Brigade]Dushanbe, Tajikistan
7th Separate Tank BrigadeChebarkul
15th Separate Motorized BrigadeRoschinskyy (Samara)
21st Separate Motorized BrigadeTotskoe
23rd Separate Motorized BrigadeSamara
28th Separate Motorized BrigadeEkaterinburg
32nd Separate Motorized BrigadeNovosibirsk
35th Separate Motorized BrigadeAleisk
55th Separate Motorized Brigade (Mountain)Kyzyl, Tuva
74th Separate Motorized BrigadeYurga (Kemerovo)
3rd Separate SPETSNAZ BrigadeTolyatti
24th Separate SPETSNAZ BrigadeNovosibirsk
28th Air Defense BrigadeChebarkul
61st Air Defense BrigadeYurga
92nd Missile BrigadeTotskoe
120th Artillery Brigade Yurga
385th Artillery BrigadeTotskoe
29th NBC Defense BrigadeEkaterinburg
35th C3 BrigadeKochenevo (Novosibirsk)
59th C3 BrigadeEkatirenburg

Southern Military District


58th Army

4th Military Base [693rd Separate Motorized Brigade]Dzhava-Tskhinval (South Ossetia)
17th Separate Motorized BrigadeShali
18th Separate Motorized BrigadeKhankala
19th Separate Motorized BrigadeSputnik (Vladikavkaz)
136th Separate Motorized Brigade Buinaksk (Dagestan)
205th Separate Motorized BrigadeBudennovsk
100th Separate Recce BrigadeMozdok
67th Air Defense BrigadeVolgograd
34th C3 BrigadeVladikavkaz

49th Army

8th Separate Motorized Brigade (Mountain) Borzoi
20th Separate Motorized BrigadeVolgograd
34th Separate Motorized Brigade (Mountain) Storozhevaya-2
33rd Detached Recce Brigade (Mountain) Maikop
56th Separate Commando lite BrigadeKamyshin
10th Separate SPETSNAZ BrigadeMolkino (Krasnodar)
22nd Separate SPETSNAZ BrigadeAksai (Rostov)
66th C3 BrigadeStavropol
1st Missile BrigadeKrasnodar
439th MLRS BrigadeZnamensk
291st Artillery BrigadeTroitskaya
21st NBC Defense BrigadeKamishin
175th C3 BrigadeAksai
176th Communications Brigade Novocherkassk
154th Separate ECM Brigade OSN Izobilny
Separate Logistics BrigadeStavropol

102nd Military Base

[ex- 127 Motorized Division]
Gyumri, Armenia
76th Separate Motorized BrigadeGyumri, Armenia
73rd Separate Motorized BrigadeErevan (Armenia)
988th Air Defense RegimentGyumri (Armenia)

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