The Future of the Russian Navy Part 2: Smaller Surface Ships

Continuing today with Part 2…


In recent years, the Russian navy has had few frigates in service. Most of the Soviet navy’s frigates were decommissioned between 1989 and 1992. What remains are 3 old Krivak I and II ships, built in the late 1970s and almost certain to be decommissioned in the next few years. There are also two Neustrashimyi class frigates, currently in service in the Baltic Fleet. Both are likely to be moved to the Black Sea Fleet sometime in the next year. There has been some talk of completing the third ship of this class, which is currently at 40 percent completion, but no definite moves in this direction have been made. Finally, there is the first ship of the Gepard class, currently serving in the Caspian Flotilla. One more ship of this class is under construction and will likely enter the Caspian Flotilla next year. There are vague plans for further construction of these ships, though priority is being given to the export market.

Several years ago, the Russian navy decided to build a new class of frigates that would be one of the mainstays of the fleet in coming years. The Admiral Gorshkov class (Project 22350) frigates were designed to be truly multifunctional, with a modular construction that would allow them to carry out escort, patrol, anti-piracy and a range of other missions. They are to be armed with anti-ship, ASW, and AAW weapons, as well as a helicopter.

The Navy began construction of the first ships of this class in 2006, with the goal of completing it in 2009 and the procurement of a total of 20 by 2015. Since then, construction of the Gorshkov has bogged down so that the first ship will not be ready until 2011 at the earliest. There is no way the Navy will be able to get more than 3-4 of these ships by its 2015 target date, and that’s only if there is no further slippage in the schedule.

Given the slow pace of construction of these ships, it has recently been decided that the navy will procure several Krivak IV class frigates. Previously, these ships were built purely for the export market, with six serving or currently being built for the Indian navy. In the short term, the Russian navy will build three of these frigates for the Black Sea Fleet. Subsequently, more may be built depending on how quickly shipbuilders are able to resolve the problems that are causing delays in construction of the Admiral Gorshkov class ships. The goal of having 20-24 new frigates by 2030 is certainly achievable if the navy shows willingness to continue to build Krivak IVs in place of Gorshkovs if the latter continue to have problems.


The Russian navy still has a large number of corvettes built in the Soviet era. These include approximately 20 Grishas, 8 Parchims, 13 or 14 Nanuchkas, and 20-23 Tarantuls still in active service. Most of these ships were built in the late 1980s and should be able to stay in service for another 10-20 years. The Black Sea Fleet also operates two Bora-class hovercraft guided missile corvettes, designed in the late Soviet period to carry out a coastal defense mission but not built until the 1990s. Some sources indicate that more of these ships will be built at some point in the future, though there are no definite plans in this regard for the moment.

In addition to the Soviet-era ships, the Russian navy has started building two new classes of corvettes. The Steregushchii class ships are designed as a replacement for the Grishas. These are fairly straightforward multipurpose coastal patrol vessels with a displacement of 1800 tons. As with the Gorshkov frigates, they are modular in design, which will allow for simpler upgrading with new weapons and equipment in the future. They are armed with Uran anti-ship missiles and Kashtan air defense systems and are capable of carrying a helicopter. All except the first will also be armed with Club-N cruise missiles. The first was commissioned in 2007, and the second was launched in March 2010 and is currently undergoing sea trials. Three more are currently under construction and expected to be commissioned by 2013. In total, 20 are expected to built, with 10 likely to be completed by 2020.

Buyan class corvettes are smaller (500 tons) and designed to function on rivers or in shallow seas. They are primarily intended for the Caspian Flotilla and are armed with Igla surface-to-air missiles. The first ship of this class has been in the navy since 2006; two more are currently under construction, though the completion date is uncertain. According to a very recent article, a slightly larger version of this ship class is to be built for the Black Sea Fleet, with construction of the first of five ships just beginning. These ships will be 1.5 times larger than the Astrakhan and will be armed with cruise missiles.

Littoral Ships

In the late Soviet period, the majority of amphibious warfare ships for the Soviet navy were built in Poland. There are still approximately 16 of these ships in service in the Russian navy, including four Alligator-class (project 1171) ships, built in Kaliningrad in the 1960s and 70s, that can carry 300-400 troops and around 20 tanks each. Given their age, these ships will undoubtedly have to be retired fairly soon. There are also approximately 12 Polish-built Ropucha-class (project 775) LSTs in service, mostly the ones built in the late 1980s. These can carry 200-300 troops and 10-12 tanks each. Since they are somewhat more recent in construction, they can be expected to last awhile longer.

Russia is currently building a replacement littoral warfare ship, called the Ivan Gren, expected to be very similar in size and carrying capacity to the Ropucha, though it is listed as an update of the Alligator-class in terms of project number (1171.1). The first of these ships was laid down in Kaliningrad back in 2004, though construction proceeded very slowly due to lack of financing through 2008. The shipbuilder reports a revitalization of the project in recent years and expects to have the first ship commissioned in 2012. A total of five ships of this class are expected to be built in the coming decade, though progress will depend on continued financing. Most of the ships are likely to go to the Black Sea Fleet, which has the strongest need for an amphibious assault capacity, though some may go to the Pacific.

Over the last year, the Russian government has been negotiating with France over the purchase of Mistral-class amphibious assault ships. The hope was to purchase two such ships, with another two to be built in Russia under license. Recently, the MOD announced that it will conduct an open tender for an amphibious assault ship, with participants to include both Russian and foreign shipbuilders. Other than French and Russian companies, likely participants may include Korea, the Netherlands, and Spain, all of whom have ships similar to the Mistral in capabilities available for export. Most analysts believe that the tender is just a sop to one set of Russian shipbuilders who were upset about being excluded from the contract and perhaps also a means of putting pressure on the French to make a more favorable deal. Negotiations are supposedly far enough advanced that the French are not truly worried about losing the contract.

As I have written on other occasions, I believe this ship could be used as a command and control vessel for overseas operations, though the main purpose is likely to be to revitalize domestic shipbuilding capabilities through the introduction of Western technologies and methods for construction of the two ships to be built domestically under license. In any case, the ship (if procured) would be able to carry 450 troops and as many as 40 tanks, as well as being better armed than Russian landing ships. Of course, the actual armament of the Russian version will differ from that placed on the existing French ships.

The Future of the Russian Navy Part 1: Large Combat Ships

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to review the likely contours of the Russian Navy’s future force structure. It seems that the increase in financing for the new state armaments program from 13 to 20 trillion rubles will primarily benefit the navy. This will allow the military to carry out a fairly ambitious naval procurement program, beyond the strategic submarine force that has remained a priority for the military, and would have been funded no matter what.

In one of his recent articles, Ilya Kramnik pointed out that the small number of Russian combat ships belong to a relatively large number of classes. These include one type of aircraft carrier, two types of cruisers, four types of destroyers, three types of frigates and at least six types of corvette.  Not counting the corvettes, there are only 31 operational ships spread across the 10 classes. These ships are equipped with four types of anti-ship, two types of ASW and five types of AAW weapons systems. Each type has its own fire control system, as well. Needless to say, this diversity of platforms and equipment makes maintenance much more complicated than in other navies.

Given the expense of building large combat ships and their relative longevity, the Russian Navy will be stuck with many of these legacy platforms for at least the next decade. However, given recent announcements about future shipbuilding plans, we can begin to develop a picture of what the Russian Navy will look like ten years from now, when many of these older ships will begin to be retired as new ships are commissioned.

Aircraft Carriers

First of all, it appears that the Russian navy has, after many decades of hesitation and lack of funding, decided to build a true aircraft carrier. The Admiral Kuznetsov, the navy’s one existing aircraft carrier, is actually officially considered a “heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser.” Its aircraft are limited to air superiority, ASW and SAR operations. The ship was built in the late 1980s and, with an expected modernization, could last for another 20-30 years if properly maintained.

This summer, the navy announced that designs for a new aircraft carrier would be finished this year.  While designs for the future carrier have not yet been made public, initial speculation centers on a model similar to the British Queen Elizabeth class carriers currently under construction. These ships would have a displacement of around 50-60,000 tons and would carry 50-60 aircraft, including both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

Plans call for one CV to be built by 2020, with construction to start by 2015. It is unclear whether the financing for this construction will come from the State Armaments Program or from a separate state financing program outside the regular State Defense Order system. In reality, the likelihood that Russian shipbuilders could build an aircraft carrier in five years is virtually nil. It currently takes Russian factories that long to build a frigate, and the complications of building a type of ship never before built in Russia will likely lead to at least a doubling of the planned construction time. Furthermore, Russia currently does not have any dry docks large enough enough to build such a ship, as the Admiral Kuznetsov and its predecessors were all built in Ukraine. For these reasons, even if adequate financing is available, it is highly unlikely that the Russian Navy will have a new functioning aircraft carrier by 2020. A target date of 2025 or even 2030 is far more realistic.


At the moment, the Russian Navy operates five cruisers — the Peter the Great Kirov-class nuclear-powered cruiser, three Slava-class cruisers and the Kerch, the last remaining Kara-class cruiser, which is likely to be decommissioned sometime in the next year. The Peter the Great, commissioned in 1998, is the only nuclear-powered surface ship currently in active service in the Russian Navy. It serves as the flagship of the Northern Fleet and has recently engaged in several lengthy deployments. The three Slava-class cruisers, designed as surface strike ships with an anti-aircraft and ASW capability, are equipped with Bazalt cruise missiles. They were commissioned in the 1980s and are likely to remain in service for several more decades, especially with a likely modernization.

The Navy has declared its intention to restore and modernize the various mothballed Kirov and Slava class cruisers owned by the Russian Navy. The Kirov class Admiral Nakhimov (originally Kalinin) cruiser will be the first to undergo modernization, with the goal of returning it to the fleet in 2012. If this effort is successful, the Admiral Lazarev (originally Frunze) will also be modernized prior to 2020. The Kirov itself could theoretically be modernized as well, though most sources believe it to be a pile of radioactive rusted metal, due to a combination of a 1990 reactor accident and subsequent lack of repair or maintenance.

The Navy may also work with Ukrainian shipbuilders to finish the almost completed Admiral Lobov (or Ukraina) Slava-class cruiser. This ship was launched back in 1990, but has been in dock in Ukraine since then, lacking only some weapons systems and equipment. After the election of Viktor Yanukovich to the Ukrainian presidency last year, Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement to complete this ship together. Because of its long period of disuse, much of the ship’s equipment will have to be replaced with more modern variants. The modernization will likely include the installation of a modern C2 system, a multipurpose shipboard fire-control system and sonar equipment, as well as new missile systems. If this project succeeds, the three active Slava class cruisers in the Russian Navy are likely to undergo a similar modernization over the next 10 years.

If the planned cruiser modernization takes place as planned, by 2020 the Russian Navy will have 7-8 well-armed cruisers with relatively modern weapons and C2 systems. These ships could serve as the core of the fleet’s force capability for the following 20 years.


The Russian Navy currently operates three types of destroyers, the Kashin, Sovremennyi and Udaloy classes. The one remaining Kashin-class destroyer is based in the Black Sea Fleet. Though it has deployed relatively frequently in the post-Soviet period, it has been in service since 1969 and will almost certainly have to be retired in the near future.

The Sovremennyi-class destroyers, despite being much newer, must be considered a failure. Almost all of the ships of this class have had engine problems at one time or another and the five currently in active service in the fleet almost never deploy. It seems inevitable that these ships will be written off as soon as an adequate replacement can be built, if not before then.

The Udaloy-class ships have been much more successful and have over the last decade served as the mainstay of the Russian fleet for various missions ranging from recent anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden to various exercises with other navies around the world. Eight of these ships are currently in service in the Northern and Pacific Fleets, with one more in reserve. They were built primarily in the 1980s, though the Admiral Chabanenko is an improved version that was commissioned in 1999. These ships will remain in service well into the 2020s, if not beyond.

Press reports indicate that design of a new 10,000 ton destroyer is under way, with construction of the first ship to begin in 2013. According to Kramnik, it is likely to be armed with Club-U cruise missiles, 130-152mm artillery, an air defense weapon system (possibly the Kashtan), and 1-2 helicopters. Each of these ships would be as powerful as 2-3 Sovremennyis.  The hope is to build 10-12 of these ships over the next 20 years, though it is unlikely that more than 2-3 could be completed by 2020 in the best of circumstances.

I’ll continue this next week with smaller combat ships and amphibs…

Structure of Russian Airborne Troops

Continuing my series on the structure and locations of the Russian Armed Forces. Today, it’s the turn of the airborne troops. A bit late for VDV day (August 2), but close enough. Once again, the information comes primarily from, with cross-checking at

Note that the airborne troops are the one part of the military that was not shifted to brigade structure in the reform. Most analysts attribute this to the power and influence of General Shamanov, the VDV commander.

Altogether, the airborne troops consist of four divisions and one brigade, with an additional two brigades that are mixed airborne and infantry and were listed in the earlier Ground Forces postings. All locations for subordinate units are the same as for the division, unless otherwise noted.

Russian Airborne Troops

  • 7th Airborne Division (Novorossiysk, Krasnodar Krai, North Caucasus MD)
    • 108th Airborne Regiment
    • 247th Airborne Regiment (Stavropol)
    • 1141st Artillery Regiment (Anapa, Krasnodar Krai)
    • 3rd Air Defense Regiment
    • 162nd Reconnaissance Company
    • 309th Engineering Company (Temryuk, Krasnodar Krai)
    • 743rd Communications Battalion
    • 6th Maintenance Battalion
    • 1681st Logistics Battalion
  • 76th Airborne Division (Pskov, Leningrad Military District)
    • 23rd Airborne Regiment
    • 104th Airborne Regiment
    • 234th Airborne Regiment
    • 1140th Artillery Regiment
    • 4th Air Defense Regiment
    • 656th Engineering Battalion
    • 728th Communications Battalion
    • 7th Maintenance Battalion
    • 1682nd Logistics Battalion
  • 98th Airborne Division (Ivanovo, Moscow Military District)
    • 217th Airborne Regiment
    • 331st Airborne Regiment (Kostroma)
    • 1065th Artillery Regiment (Kostroma)
    • 5th Air Defense Battalion
    • 661st Engineering Battalion
    • 674th Communications Battalion
    • 15th Maintenance Battalion
    • 1683rd Logistics Battalion
  • 106th Airborne Division (Tula, Moscow Military District)
    • 51st Airborne Regiment
    • 137th Airborne Regiment (Ryazan)
    • 1182nd Artillery Regiment (Naro-Fominsk, Moscow Oblast)
    • 107th Air Defense Regiment (Naro-Fominsk, Moscow Oblast)
    • 173rd Reconnaissance Company
    • 388th Engineering Battalion (Plavsk, Tula Oblast)
    • 731st Communications Battalion
    • 1060th Logistics Battalion
    • 43rd Repair Battalion, (Plavsk, Tula Oblast)
  • 31st Airborne Brigade (Ulyanovsk, Volga-Urals Military District)
  • 45th Special Forces Reconnaissance Regiment (Kubinka, Moscow Oblast)
  • 38th Communications Regiment (Moscow Oblast)

Ground Forces Structure and Locations: Part 2

Here are the other three districts. Ground forces only for now. I also updated the locations on part 1, based on some additional sources. For Russian readers, much of this information is available on the forums at, though there are contradictions in places. also has some info, though much of what they have hasn’t been updated to take the recent structural changes into account (thus my effort here).

Siberian Military District

  • Combat formations:
    • 5th Tank Brigade (Ulan Ude, Buriatia)
    • 32nd Motorized Rifle Brigade (Novosibirsk)
    • 35th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Aleysk, Altai Krai)
    • 36th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Borzya, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 37th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Gusinoozersk, Buriatia)
    • 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Yurga, Kemerovo Oblast)
    • 11th Airborne Brigade (Ulan Ude, Buriatia)
    • 24th Special Forces Brigade (Irkutsk)
  • Missile and Artillery formations:
    • 103rd Missile Brigade (Ulan Ude, Buriatia)
    • 232nd MLRS Brigade (Shelekhov, Irkutsk Oblast)
    • 120th Artillery Brigade (Shelekhov, Irkutsk Oblast)
    • 200th Artillery Brigade (Gornyi, Zabaikalskii Krai)
  • Air Defense formations:
    • 140th Air Defense Missile Brigade (Domna or Telemba, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 792nd Air Defense Command Center
    • 61st Air Defense Missile Brigade (Biysk, Altai Krai)
    • 868th Air Defense Command Center
  • Engineering formations:
    • 27th Engineer Regiment (Yasnaya, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 60th Engineer Regiment (Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai)
    • 457th Independent Engineer Battalion
  • NBC Defense formations:
    • 11th Flamethrower Battalion (Drovianaia, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 126th NBC Defense Battalion (Borzya, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 254th NBC Defense Battalion (Topchikha, Altai Krai)
  • Communications formations:
    • 50th (Territorial) Communications Brigade
    • 101st (Hub) Communications Brigade (Chita)
    • 1271st Electronic Warfare Center (Ulan Ude, Buriatia)
    • 175th Communications Regiment (Borzya, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 235th Communications Regiment (Kochenevo, Novosibirsk Oblast)
    • 154th (Rear) Communications Battalion
  • Logistics formations:
    • 53rd Material Support Regiment (Chita)
  • Reserve formations:
    • 103rd Reserve Base (84th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Shilovo, Novosibirsk Oblast)
    • 104th Reserve Base (85th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Aleysk, Altai Krai)
    • 187th Reserve Base (86th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Nizhneudinsk, Irkutsk Oblast)
    • 225th Reserve Base (29th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Yasnaya, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 227th Reserve Base (87th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Ulan Ude, Buriatia)
    • 7018th Artillery Reserve Base (Drovianaia, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 7019th Artillery Reserve Base (Shelekhov, Irkutsk Oblast)

Far Eastern Military District

  • Combat formations:
    • 18th Machine Gun-Artillery Division (Goryachie Klyuchi, Sakhalin Oblast)
      • 46th Machine Gun-Artillery Regiment
      • 49th Machine Gun-Artillery Regiment
    • 38th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Yekaterinoslavka, Amurskaia Oblast)
    • 39th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalin Oblast)
    • 57th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Bikin, Khabarovsk Krai)
    • 59th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Sergeyevka, Primorskii Krai)
    • 60th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Kamen-Rybolov, Primorskii Krai)
    • 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Khabarovsk)
    • 70th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Barabash, Primorskii Krai)
    • 69th Independent Brigade (Babstovo, Jewish Autonomous Oblast)
    • 14th Special Forces Brigade (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 83rd Airborne Brigade (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
  • Missile and Artillery formations:
    • 20th Missile Brigade (Spassk-Dalny, Primorskii Krai)
    • 107th Missile Brigade (Birobidzhan, Jewish Autonomous Oblast)
    • 165th Artillery Brigade (Belogorsk, Amur Oblast)
    • 305th Artillery Brigade (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 338th MLRS Brigade (Novosysoevka, Primorskii Krai)
  • Air Defense formations:
    • 8th Air Defense Missile Brigade (Razdolnoe, Primorskii Krai)
    • 641st Air Defense Command Center
    • 71st Air Defense Missile Brigade (Srednebeloe, Amur Oblast)
    • 643rd Air Defense Command Center (Panino, Amur Oblast)
  • Radar formations:
    • 76th Radio Technical Brigade (Vyatskoe, Khabarovsk Krai)
    • 94th Radio Technical Battalion (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 1889th Radio Technical Battalion (Belogorsk, Amur Oblast)
  • Engineering formations:
    • 37th Engineer Regiment (Berezovka, Amur Oblast)
    • 58th Engineer Regiment (Razdolnoe, Primorskii Krai)
    • 2463rd Engineer Battalion (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
  • NBC Defense formations:
    • 16th NBC Defense Brigade (Galkino, Khabarovsk Krai)
    • 70th Flamethrower Battalion (Razdolnoe, Primorskii Krai)
    • 122nd NBC Defense Battalion (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 135th NBC Defense Battalion (Khabarovsk)
  • Communications formations:
    • 104th (Hub) Communications Brigade (Khabarovsk)
    • 106th (Territorial) Communications Brigade (Dalnerechensk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 17th Electronic Warfare Brigade (Matveevka, Khabarovsk Krai)
    • 54th Communications Regiment (Belogorsk, Amur Oblast)
    • 86th Communications Regiment (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 156th (Rear) Communications Battalion (Kniaze-Volkonskoe, Khabarovsk Krai)
  • Reserve formations:
    • 237th Reserve Base (89th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Bikin, Khabarovsk Krai)
    • 240th Reserve Base (90th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Belogorsk, Amur Oblast)
    • 243rd Reserve Base (92nd Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Khabarovsk)
    • 245th Reserve Base (93rd Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Lesozavodsk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 247th Reserve Base (94th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Sibirtsevo, Primorskii Krai)
    • 261st Reserve Base (95th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Blagoveshchensk, Amur Oblast) (according to some reports, may not actually exist)
    • 230th Reserve Base (88th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Dachnoe, Sakhalin Oblast)
    • 7020th Artillery Reserve Base (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 7021st Artillery Reserve Base (Nikolskoe, ????)
    • 7027th Engineer Reserve Base

North Caucasus Military District

  • Combat formations:
    • 8th (Mountain) Motorized Rifle Brigade (Borzoi, Chechnya)
    • 34th (Mountain) Motorized Rifle Brigade (Zelenchukskaya, Karachaevo-Cherkessia)
    • 17th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Shali, Chechnya)
    • 18th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Khankala, Chechnya)
    • 19th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
    • 20th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Volgograd)
    • 136th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Buynaksk, Dagestan)
    • 205th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Budennovsk, Stavropol Krai)
    • 10th Special Forces Brigade (Molkino, Krasnodarskii Krai)
    • 22nd Special Forces Brigade (Aksay, Rostov Oblast)
    • 56th Airborne Brigade (Kamyshin, Volgograd Oblast)
    • 33rd (Mountain) Reconnaissance Brigade (Botlikh, Dagestan)
    • 100th (Experimental) Reconnaissance Brigade (Mozdok, North Ossetia)
    • 4th Military Base (Java & Tskhinvali, South Ossetia)
    • 7th Military Base (Gudauta & Ochamchira, Abkhazia)
    • 102nd Military Base
      • 73rd Motorized Rifle Brigade (Yerevan, Armenia)
      • 76th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Gyumri, Armenia)
  • Missile and Artillery formations:
    • 1st Missile Brigade (Krasnodar)
    • 291st Artillery Brigade (Maykop, Adygeia)
    • 439th MLRS Brigade (Znamensk, Astrakhan Oblast)
    • 943rd MLRS Regiment (Maykop, Adygeia)
    • 573rd Artillery Reconnaissance Battalion (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
  • Air Defense formations:
    • 67th Air Defense Missile Brigade (Volgograd)
    • 1138th Air Defense Command Center
  • Radar formations:
    • 131st Radio-technical Brigade (Rostov)
    • 48th Radio-Technical Battalion (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
  • Engineering formations:
    • 11th Engineer Regiment (Prokhladny, Kabardino-Balkaria)
    • 57th Engineer Battalion
  • NBC Defense formations:
    • 118th NBC Defense Battalion (Troitskaya, Ingushetia)
    • 860th Flamethrower Battalion (Oktyabrsky, Volgograd Oblast)
  • Communications formations:
    • 175th (Hub) Communications Brigade (Aksay, Rostov Oblast)
    • 176th (Territorial) Communications Brigade (Novocherkassk, Rostov Oblast)
    • 234th Communications Regiment (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
    • 148th (Rear) Communications Battalion (Zernograd, Rostov Oblast)
    • 395th Communications Battalion (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
    • 97th Electronic Warfare Battalion (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
    • 1270th Electronic Warfare Center (Kovalevka, Rostov Oblast)
  • Other formations:
    • 32nd Material Support Regiment (Stavropol)
    • 474th Transport Battalion (Millerovo, Rostov Oblast)
  • Reserve formations:
    • 7016th Artillery Reserve Base (Maykop, Adygeiia)

Ground Forces Structure and Locations: Part 1

This post is in part for my own reference, but I thought it might be useful for others as well. What follows is, as best I can determine, the location of all the the ground forces units. Specific locations are listed where ever I can find them. This is based on the old military district structure, and will inevitably have to be updated when the transition to the OSK system is complete in December. But given that the change from military districts to OSKs is mostly about combining some of the districts, that should be a fairly straightforward exercise when the time comes.

I’ll post the first three districts today and the others early next week. As time allows, I’ll try to get Air Force bases, Navy base locations, and airborne troops  posted over the next month or so. I see this as very much a work in progress, so if anyone notices any errors or has any additional information, please comment or email.

Leningrad Military District

  • Combat formations:
    • 25th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Vladimirsky Lager, Pskov Oblast)
    • 138th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Kamenka, Leningrad Oblast)
    • 200th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Pechenga, Murmansk Oblast)
    • 2nd Special Forces Brigade (Cherekhi, Pskov Oblast)
  • Missile and Artillery formations:
    • 26th Missile Brigade (Luga, Leningrad Oblast)
    • 9th Artillery Brigade (Luga, Leningrad Oblast)
  • Air Defense formations:
    • 5th Air Defense Brigade (Nenimiaki, Leningrad Oblast)
    • 1013th Air Defense Center (Pesochnyi, Leningrad Oblast)
  • Engineering formations:
    • 140th Engineer Regiment (Kerro, Leningrad Oblast)
  • NBC Defense formations:
    • 10th NBC Defense Battalion (Sertolovo, Leningrad Oblast)
  • Communications formations:
    • 95th (Hub) Communications Brigade (Chernaia Rechka, Leningrad Oblast)
    • 132nd (Territorial) Communications Brigade (Agalatovo, Leningrad Oblast)
    • 60th Signals Center
    • 1269th Electronic Warfare Center (Ostrov, Leningrad Oblast)
    • 140th (Rear) Communications Battalion (Sertolovo, Leningrad Oblast)
    • 146th Radio-technical Special Forces Brigade (Bugry, Leningrad Oblast)
  • Reserve formations:
    • 216th Reserve Base (Petrozavodsk, Karelia) (4th Motorized Rifle Brigade)
    • 7014th Artillery Reserve Base (Luga, Leningrad Oblast)
    • 7022nd Engineer Reserve Base (Lupche-Savino, Murmansk Oblast)

Moscow Military District

  • Combat formations:
    • 4th Tank Brigade (Naro-Fominsk, Moscow Oblast)
    • 6th Tank Brigade (Dzerzhinsk, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast)
    • 5th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Kalininets, Moscow Oblast)
    • 9th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Nizhny Novgorod)
    • 27th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Vidnoye, Moscow Oblast)
    • 16th Special Forces Brigade (Tambov)
    • Operational Group of Russian Forces in Transnistria (Tiraspol)
  • Missile and Artillery formations:
    • 45th Heavy Artillery Brigade (Tambov)
    • 288th Artillery Brigade (Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast)
    • 79th MLRS Brigade (Tver)
    • 112th Missile Brigade (Shuya, Ivanovo Oblast)
    • 448th Missile Brigade, in (Durnevo, Kursk Oblast)
  • Air Defense formations:
    • 53rd Air Defense Missile Brigade (Kursk)
    • 886th Air Defense Command Center
  • Radar formations:
    • 70th Radio Technical Brigade (Naro-Fominsk, Moscow Oblast)
    • 51st Radio Technical Battalion (Dmitriev-Lgovskii, Kursk Oblast)
  • Engineering formations:
    • 7th Engineer Regiment (Belev, Tula Oblast)
    • 841st Engineer Battalion
  • NBC Defense formations:
    • 27th NBC Defence Brigade (Kursk)
    • 465th NBC Defence Battalion (Kineshma, Ivanovo Oblast)
  • Communications formations:
    • 1st Communications Brigade (Selyatino, Moscow Oblast)
    • 119th Communications Brigade (Selyatino, Moscow Oblast)
    • 147th (Rear) Communications Battalion
    • 16th Electronic Warfare Battalion (Kursk)
    • 82nd Radio-technical Special Forces Brigade (Viazma, Smolensk Oblast)
  • Reserve formations:
    • 99th Reserve Base (Tver??) (13th Motorized Rifle Brigade)
    • 262nd Reserve Base (Boguchar, Voronezh Oblast) (1st Tank Brigade)
    • 7015th Artillery Reserve Base (Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast)

Volga-Ural Military District

  • Combat formations:
    • 7th Tank Brigade (Chebarkul, Cheliabinsk Oblast)
    • 15th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Roschinskiy, Samara Oblast)
    • 21st Motorized Rifle Brigade (Totskoe, Orenburg Oblast)
    • 23rd Motorized Rifle Brigade (Samara)
    • 28th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Ekaterinburg)
    • 3rd Special Forces Brigade (Roschinskiy, Samara Oblast)
    • 201st Military Base (Dushanbe, Tajikistan) (being transformed into a Motorized Rifle Brigade)
  • Missile and Artillery formations:
    • 92nd Missile Brigade (Kamenka, Penza Oblast)
    • 119th Missile Brigade (Elanskiy, Sverdlovsk Oblast)
    • 385th Artillery Brigade (Bershet, Perm Oblast)
    • 950th MLRS Regiment (Buzuluk, Orenburg Oblast)
    • 581st Artillery Reconnaissance Battalion (Totskoe, Orenburg Oblast)
  • Air Defense formations:
    • 297th Air Defense Missile Brigade (Alkino, Bashkortostan)
  • Radar formations:
    • 40th Radio Technical Brigade (Marks, Saratov Oblast)
    • 173rd Radio Technical Battalion (Samara)
  • Engineering formations:
    • 56th Engineer Regiment (Alkino, Bashkortostan)
    • 774th Engineer Battalion (Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk Oblast)
  • NBC Defense formations:
    • 29th NBC Defense Brigade (Ekaterinburg)
    • 319th NBC Defense Battalion (Chapaevsk, Samara Oblast)
  • Communications formations:
    • 59th (Hub) Communications Brigade (Ekaterinburg)
    • 179th (Territorial) Communications Brigade
    • 191st Communications Regiment (Samara)
    • 153rd (Rear) Communications Battalion
    • 836th Communications Battalion (Ekaterinburg)
    • 1583rd Electronic Warfare Battalion (Tiubuk, Cheliabinsk Oblast)

UPDATED August 9, 2010: changed some locations based on better sources.

Russian Politics and Law, May 2010 Table of Contents

Volume 48 Number 3 / May-June 2010 of Russian Politics and Law is now available on the web site at

Dmitry Gorenburg: The Future of Russia’s Military: Editor’s Introduction p. 3

Aleksandr Golts: The Secret Reform p. 6

Leonid Fishman: Is It Possible to Reincorporate the Army into Society? p. 23

Andrei A. Kokoshin: Notes on the Creation of an “Innovative Russian Army” p. 35

Stanislav Kuvaldin: Armed Forces for a Modest Power p. 44

Urgent Problems and the Logic of Military Reform: Round Table at Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie p. 53

The Future of Russia’s Military: Editor’s Introduction

In October 2008 the Russian government suddenly announced a wide-ranging military reform. Most analysts assumed that the proposals were just talk and would remain on paper, either through bureaucratic stonewalling or through lack of financing for the reform effort. Now, eighteen months into the process, there are no doubts that the reform is for real and is virtually unstoppable. The articles in this issue address a range of issues dealing with the causes and consequences of the reform, including the decline of Russia’s military capabilities, the increasing disconnect between society and the military, the nature of the threats facing Russia, and the failure of previous reform efforts.

In “The Secret Reform,” Aleksandr Gol’ts explores the rationale underlying the military reform that began in the fall of 2008. While he complains about the secrecy that surrounded the initial implementation of the reform plans, he notes that the reform is necessary and appropriate given the condition of the Russian military. He notes that the main goal of the reform is the elimination of the Soviet mass mobilization army and its replacement by a professional army staff that is largely staffed by soldiers working on contract, rather than conscripts. Since Gol’ts’s article was published, this plan has run into problems due to the inadequate supply of soldiers willing to sign contracts. In order for recruitment to be successful, the military must become more attractive topotential soldiers.

Leonid Fishman takes up this issue in “Is It Possible to Reincorporate the Army into Society?” He traces the historical evolution of the relationship between the army and society. He shows that whereas in the past armies were used to train the population to become citizens, a modern army no longer plays such a role. Although Fishman does not make this point, the reason for this change has to do in large part with the advent of mass public education, with schools now being given the task of creating citizens. Fishman goes on to argue that the underlying cause of the poor performance of the Russian army is its failure to adapt to changes in the society around it. To reverse this process, he calls for the establishment of an army that is professional and based on providing the kind of training that soldiers leaving the army would find helpful in leading a successful civilian life. He believes that this is the only way to make the military attractive to ambitious young people who want to improve their position in society. The presence of such people in the military would, in turn, make it more capable in defending the country.

In “Notes on the Creation of an ‘Innovative Russian Army,’ ” written at the start of the Serdiukov reform program implementation, Andrei Kokoshin surveys the technical requirements of a modern army, focusing especially on the informational and analytical resources necessary for fighting a twenty first-century war. In this context, he discusses the priority needs of the Russian military, including an increased emphasis on special operations forces, the reform of military education, and the introduction of the advanced information technology into at least two or three experimental brigades in the ground forces. He argues that the fulfillment of these tasks will allow Russia to revitalize its military technology in the near future.

Stanislav Kuvaldin (“Armed Forces for a Modest Power”) revisits the Serdiukov reform a year after its introduction. He notes that despite the opposition of almost the entire set of military experts and most top generals, the government has succeeded in moving the reform forward. In fact, reform has reached the point of no return. If it is ultimately successful, it will create throughout Russia armed forces capable of winning local wars, which is a realistic task given the current security environment. At the same time, the military will have to give up its pretensions of challenging major powers such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or even China.

Finally, we include in this issue a roundtable discussion (“Urgent Problems and the Logic of Military Reform”) that discusses the political background behind the reforms, including the nature of the threats facing Russia, how the Russian military should be organized to best defend the country against these threats, and how the government is handling the reform effort. This roundtable, organized by Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie and held in early 2009, showed that a wide range of views still exists on the nature of the threats facing Russia and that these views are closely correlated with opinions on the wisdom of the military reform. Some experts still see NATO and the West as a primary threat and believe that the Serdiukov reform will destroy Russia’s capacity to defend itself against such a major adversary. Other experts argue that the cold war ended a long time ago and the main threats facing Russia come from local conflicts on its southern border. In this situation, a reform along the lines outlined by Serdiukov is necessary and will help create a future Russian military that can actually carry out its missions.

Russia’s future security over the next twenty to thirty years depends in large part on the ability of its government to successfully implement a program to modernize its military organization and equipment, while changing its personnel recruitment policies to match future demographic realities. The Serdiukov reform shows that, for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the government realizes the seriousness of the challenge and is prepared to act accordingly.