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Dzerzhinskiy Division - Recent History

After the war the warriors of the unit were actively involved in the protection of public order and public safety in the city of Moscow. In the late 1980s - early 1990s, the personnel of the division performed special tasks in the areas of inter-ethnic conflicts in Nagorny-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, North Ossetia and Ingushetia, in the cities of Fergana and Leninakan, participated in the restoration of constitutional order in Chechnya in 1994-1996, and since 1999 - in counter-terrorist operations in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation.

For courage and heroism demonstrated at the performance of military duty, 19 servicemen of the division were awarded the title of Hero of Russia, more than 6,000 servicemen were awarded state awards of the Russian Federation, 29 servicemen were forever enrolled in the lists of their military units.

After the war, units fought against gangs of nationalists in the liberated regions of Western Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states and the North Caucasus. Veterans told how they discovered bandits and their shelter-caches made under apartment buildings and in the forests.

In 1953 the Dzerzhinsky Division moved across to the MVD. In this unit there were created the Honor Guard company, subordinate since 1956 to the military commandant's office in Moscow and supporting the international protocol events of national importance, and the forefather of Spetsnaz of the MIA Internal Troops - a special purpose detachment "Vityaz."

There were connections and sporting achievements in history. The museum of the division carefully stores personal items and awards of the three-time world champion in shooting, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR Elena Donskoy. It is noteworthy that she fired her first shots from a small-caliber rifle under the direction of the head trainer in bullet shooting of the divisionís sports team Nikanor Perevalov - the same famous sniper of the Great Patriotic War. And until now, her record has not been defeated - out of 600 possible points she knocked out 599. A cultural and health complex on the territory of the division is named after her.

Not a single large-scale sporting event or holiday in Moscow could do without Dzerzhin warriors, and public order was maintained. So it was during the Olympics-80 in Moscow and the World Festival of Youth and Students in 1957, and then in 1985, as well as the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

On the eve of the Games in 1977, a special-purpose company appears in the Dzerzhinsky division - a prototype of the current special forces of the internal troops, from which the legendary Vityaz detachment of the internal troops of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs subsequently grew up, and now the Vityaz Special Purpose Center of the Russian National Guard troops.

The geography of business trips of this elite unit is enormous: areas of overcoming ethnic conflicts in the territory of the former USSR, and in subsequent years during counter-terrorist operations in various regions of the North Caucasus, as well as during hostage rescue operations in the city of Budennovsk and in the Moscow Theater Center on Dubrovka (terrorist attack during the "Nord-Ost" theater).

Throughout the history of the detachment, which eventually combined the history and the famous special-purpose detachment Rus, 14 fighters were awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation, eight of them posthumously. More than 1,500 military personnel were awarded state awards.

It was in Vityaz that the tradition of passing qualification tests for the right to wear a maroon beret was born. During their conduct, applicants for an elite special forces headgear demonstrate their combat training, physical endurance, strength and stamina. On the emblem of the maroon berets is a machine gun in a sturdy fist. Such a take can only be carried out by special forces of the Russian Guard, and even those who have earned this right in a difficult exam.

Since the mid-1980s, soldiers and formation officers were the first to be in hot spots. Even today they are in full combat readiness in order to effectively counter the terrorist threat in any corner of Russia. 19 students of the division became Heroes of Russia, more than three thousand were awarded state awards. The division carefully respects communication with living veterans of the Great Patriotic War (there are only 11 left for the entire connection), as well as with participants in the liquidation of the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. But the most difficult period for the ODON personnel was the restoration of constitutional order in Chechnya. Since the mid-1990s, the main burden of the military operations in Grozny and Pervomaisk, the release of hostages in Budennovsk, the destruction of militant bases in various regions of the Chechen Republic fell on the military.

In September 1991 it was announced that the new Russian National Guard would be formed mainly from the elite Dzerzhinsky division, the KGB and the MVD Internal Troops. In its first stage the RSFSR National Guard was planned to consist of 8 brigades with 10 thousand men each. In October 1991 RSFSR Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi said that the size of the RSFSR National Guard would not exceed 3,000 in the first year. In the second year the number of guardsmen would rise to 10,000, and as the budget deficit declined to 66,000. Rutskoi said the first training center would be created on the base of the Dzerzhinsky division in Balashikha.

Yeltsin relied heavily on Interior Ministry troops of the Dzerzhinsky Division during the confrontations that followed the September 1993 coup. During the October 1993 coup attempt, the only forces who really saved the Ostankino TV-Center were special forces of Dzerzhinsky division, which were trained to fight against crowds in the streets.

The Taman Guard were one assigned to the MVD as a sister unit to the Dzerzhinsky Division. After the August 1991 coup, the three units principally involved in policing Moscow were the "Tula Quick Reaction Division," the Taman Motorized Rifle Division, and an unnamed heavy tank division. Units in the first two divisions announced their loyalty to Yeltsin. There was no indication that the Dzerzhinsky Division played significant role in supporting the coup. The Kantemirovsk division, together with the Taman division and some Airborne Troops, were active in Moscow. Elements from the Ryazan Airborne Division, the Sevastopol infantry regiment, and a battalion from the Taman division, had moved to support Yeltsin.

It was also dispatched to the restive regions of Nagorno-Karabakh, North Ossetia and Chechnya upon the demise of the Soviet Union. The Dzerzhinsky Division was active in the Chechen war. The Dzerzhinsky Division bore the name of the first chairman of the Cheka until February 1994, when its name was changed to the Separate Operational Task Division of Interior Troops, or ODON [Otdelnaya diviziya osobennogo naznacheniya]. The Russian president on 25 January 1999 appointed Major-General Nikolai Turapin as ODON commander. Russian Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin on 15 February 1999 introduced the new commander.

In combat operations, 152 servicemen laid down their heads, including 13 soldiers and officers awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation. The fierceness of this confrontation with terrorists and the courage of fighters who went into battle without hiding behind other people's backs is also evidenced by the fact that the adoptive father of one of the heroically killed special forces officers - the commander of the assault group, captain Dmitry Serkov - was then commanded by the division general Major Sergei Melikov. When his group in Dagestan collided with militants, Serkov was the first to open fire and took the whole retaliatory strike, saving his comrades. In December 2007, he was posthumously awarded the title Hero of Russia.

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Page last modified: 30-07-2021 18:08:08 ZULU