The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (Russian: Вооружё́нные Си́лы Росси́йской Федера́ции Transliteration: Voruzhonnije Síly Rossíyskoj Federátsii) is the Ministry of Defense subordinated military 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 (currently Dmitry Medvedev).
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: Ground Forces, Navy, and Air Force. There are also three independent arms of service : Strategic Missile Troops, Military Space Forces, and the Airborne Troops. The Troops of Air Defence, the former Voyska PVO, 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.
The Ground Forces are divided into six military districts: Moscow, Leningrad, North Caucausian, Privolzhsk-Ural, Siberian and Far Eastern. The name Leningrad remains for the district in the north-west of Russia in honour of the estimated 1.5 million who gave their lives during the German siege of the city in 1941-44. There is one remaining Russian military base, the 102nd Military Base, in Armenia left of the former Transcaucasus Group of Forces. It may report to the North Caucasus Military District.
The Navy consists of four fleets and one flotilla:
There is also the Kaliningrad Special Region, under the command of the Commander Baltic Fleet, which has a HQ 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.
Russian command posts, according to Globalsecurity.org, include Chekhov/Sharapovo about 50 miles 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). 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, the Federal Security Service - including the Border Troops and Coast Guard, the Federal Protective Service (Russia), the Federal Communications and Information Agency, and presidential guard services.
|Armed Forces of the Russian Federation|
(Source mostly CIA World Factbook)
|Military age||18 years of age|
|Availability||males age 18-49: 35,247,049 (2005 est.)|
|Fit for military service||males age 18-49: 21,000,000 (2006 est.)|
|Reaching military age annually||821,103 (2008 est.)|
|Active troops||1,037,000 (Ranked 5th)|
|Total troops||3,796,100 (Ranked 8th)|
|Military expenditures||$33 billion USD (2009)|
As of 2008, some 480,000 young men are brought into the Army via conscription in two call-ups each year. Liberal legislation allows about 90 percent of eligible young men to avoid 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 started to appear in the Soviet Union after the 1950s. 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.
30% of Russian army personnel were contract servicemen at the end of 2005. Planning calls for volunteer servicemen to compose 70% of armed forces by 2010 with the remaining servicemen consisting of conscripts. As of November 2006, the Armed Forces had more than 60 units manned with contract personnel totaling over 78,000 contract privates and sergeants. 88 Ministry of Defense units have been designated as permanent readiness units and are expected to become all-volunteer by the end of 2007. These include most air force, naval, and nuclear arms units, as well as all airborne and naval infantry units, most motorized rifle brigades, and all special forces detachments. All personnel on ships and submarines will be contract servicemen beginning in 2009. Women serve in the Russian military, though in far lesser numbers than men. More than 92,000 females serve on active duty with the Russian Armed Forces (2007). For the foreseeable future, the Armed Forces will be a mixed contract/conscript force. The need to maintain a mobilization reserve of various classes arises from a requirement to have manning resources capable of ensuring prompt reinforcement of the Russian Armed Forces in case the efforts made by the permanent readiness forces to deter or suppress an armed conflict fail to yield positive results.
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. Non-Russians enlisting from these states cannot serve in elite or secret units but are in many cases entitled to Russian citizenship after their term of service. The Russian Armed Forces use the traditional forms of reference of Comrade to help solidify the service personnel as part of something larger than themselves.
In 1988 military spending was a single line item in the Soviet state budget, totaling 21 billion rubles, or 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 independency 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 some sources the Russian military is losing up to US $13 billion to corruption every year.
On 16 February 2009 Russia's deputy defense minister said state defense 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 $41.500 billion.
However, later that month, due to the world financial crisis, the Russian Parliament's Defense Committee stated that the Russian defense 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 defense budget for 2009 will be 1.3 trillion rubles ($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 defense 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 defense 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 defense order were spent on their needs. It was planned that beginning from 2000 the state defense 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.
According to some sources, Russia possesses the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. Analysts cannot calculate number of Russian, U.S. nuclear warheads</ref> 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 based warheads. Russia's nuclear warheads are deployed in four areas:
Russian military doctrine sees Nato expanision as one of the threats for the Russian Federation and reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a conventional agreesion 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 defenses. Russia has developed the new SS-27 Topol-M missiles that are stated to be able to penetrate any missile defense, including the planned U.S. National Missile Defense. 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 United States Department of Defense 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, but also to improve security and personnel training in Russian nuclear facilities.