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The Transcaucasian Military District, a military district of the Soviet Armed Forces, traces its history to May 1921 and the incorporation of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia into the USSR. It was disbanded by being redesignated as a Group of Forces in the early 1990s after the Soviet Union collapse.

It was originally formed from the Red Army's Separate Caucasian Army, which became the Red Banner Caucasian Army in August 1923. Georgian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani national formations, plus units from the 11th Soviet Red Army, all joined the new district about this time.

In July 1936 the District's formations and units received designations according to the countrywide numbering scheme and became: the 9th (formerly 1st Caucasus) Mountain Rifle Division, named for the Central Executive Committee of the Georgian SSR; the 20th (formerly 3rd Caucasus) Mountain Rifle Division; the 47th (former 1st) Georgian Mountain Rifle Division, named for Comrade Stalin; the 63rd (former 2nd) Georgian Mountain Rifle Division, named for Comrade Frunze; the 76th Аrmenian Mountain Rifle Division, named after Comrade Voroshilov, and the 77th Аzerbaijani Mountain Rifle Division, named for Comrade Ordzhonikidze.[1]

On 22 June 1941 the District consisted of the 3rd (4th, 20th, and 47th Divisions), 23rd (136 and 138 Divisions) and 40th (9th and 31) Rifle Corps, the 28th Mechanised Corps, which included the 6th and 54th Tank Divisions and the 236th Motorised Division, five unattached divisions - the 63rd, 76th, and 77th Rifle, the 17th Mountain Cavalry and the 24th Cavalry, and three fortified regions.[2]

During World War II it became the Transcaucasus Front.

After World War II the Transcaucasus Front reverted to being a part of the Headquarters Transcaucasus Military District (ZakVO), in Tbilisi. In 1979 Scott and Scott reported the District' HQ address as Tbilisi-4, Ulitsa Dzneladze, Dom 46. The District became part of the Southern Direction, headquartered in Baku and including the North Caucasus and Turkestan Military Districts, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[3]


Commanders 1945-91

  • Maslennikov, Ivan (1946 - 1947), Army General;
  • Tolbukhin, Fyodor Ivanovich (1947 - 1949), Marshal of the Soviet Union;
  • Antonov, Alexei Innokentevich (1950 - 1954), Army General;
  • Fedyuninsky, Ivan (1954 - 1957), Colonel General in August 8, 1955 - Army General;
  • Rokossowski, Konstantin (1957), Marshal of the Soviet Union;
  • Galitski, Kuzma N. (1958 - 1961), Army General;
  • Stuchenko, Andrei Trofimovich (1961 - 1968), Colonel General, in April 13, 1964 - Army General;
  • Kurkotkin, Semyon Konstantinovich (1968 - 1971), Colonel General;
  • Melnikov, Paul V. (October 1971 - 1978), Colonel General;
  • Koulishev O.F. (1978 - August 1983), Colonel General;
  • Arkhipov, Vladimir Mikhailovich (August 1983 - July 1985), Colonel General;
  • Kochetov, Konstantin Alekseevich (July 1985 - May 1988), Colonel General, in April 29, 1988 - Army General;
  • Rodionov, Igor (May 1988 - August 1989), Colonel General;
  • Patrikeev Valery Anisimovich (August 1989 - September 26, 1992), Colonel General;

Forces in the late 1980s

In the late 1980s dispositions within the District were as follows:[4]

Russian Transcaucasus Group of Forces

Following the fall of the USSR, the District became the Group of Russian Forces in the Transcaucasus (Russian Группа российских войск в Закавказье - ГРВЗ; GRVZ). After many of the divisions listed above had dissolved or become part of the former republics' armed forces, in the mid 1990s the GRVZ's dispositions were:

  • Headquarters, Tbilisi
  • 12th Military Base, Batumi, Adjara AR, Georgia
  • 62nd Military Base, Akhalkalaki, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Georgia. Former 147th Motor Rifle Division. In October 1999, the base had: - personnel - 1,964 servicemen - equipment - 41 MBT, 114 AIFV/APC (BMP and BTR); 46 various military vehicles; 61 artillery systems; and 2 pontoon-bridging vehicles. The base includes the 409th and 412th motor-rifle regiments; the 817th artillery regiment; the 889th communication battalion; and the 65th artillery detachment.
  • 102nd Military Base, Gyumri, Armenia
  • 137th Military Base, Vaziani Military Base, Georgia (former 171st Guards District Training Centre) In October 1999, it was reported to have the 405th motorrifle regiment with 773 servicemen; 31 MBT; 70 AIFV/APC; 16 artillery systems; and one pontoon-bridging vehicle; the 566th communication battalion - 193 servicemen; 5 mobile radio stations P-145BM; and the 311th helicopter wing - 161 servicemen, 5 Mi-24 attack helicopters and 5 Mi-8MT transport helicopters. The 405th MRR had been absorbed from the 10th Guards Motor Rifle Division formerly headquartered in Kutaisi.
  • 142nd Tank Repair Factory, Tbilisi. In October 1999, it was reported to have 20 servicemen; and equipment including 28 MBT (T-72), 103 AIFV/APC and two self-propelled howitzers 2C3 "Acatsia".[5]
  • Khelvachauri-based (Adjaria) military depot. In October 1999, it had 56 servicemen. 29 AIFV - 5 BMP-1 and 24 BMP-2 - were stored there.
  • Other smaller formations and units, including an independent helicopter squadron

General Major Aleksander Studenikin, former deputy commander of the Moscow Military District's 20th Army, commanded the Group in 2004 with General (Major?) Andrei Popov as his deputy.[6]

The Russian presence at Vaziani was withdrawn in the late 1990s and an agreement over the withdrawal of the 12th and 62nd Bases by 2008-09 was made in 2005. The Akhalkalaki 62nd base was officially transferred ahead of schedule to Georgia on June 27, 2007.[7] The 12th Military Base in Batumi was also transferred early; scheduled for 2008, it was actually transferred on November 13, 2007. The ‘Zvezda’ command post (probably the former District war headquarters) in the town of Mtskheta, just north of Tblisi, was handed over by early September 2005. [8] Due to the espionage conflict between Russia and Georgia, the Transcaucasus Group of Forces headquarters in Tbilisi was closed down ahead of schedule: 287 Russian servicemen left Georgia by December 31, 2006.[9]

Even after the GRVZ is totally withdrawn, Russian troops will remain in peacekeeping roles in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, de-jure parts of Georgia. There are about 1,600 men on the Abkhazian-Georgian boundary (serving alongside UNOMIG) and a battalion in South Ossetia. According to the Russian authorities, the Gudauta military base is also now used by the peacekeeping forces, but no international monitoring has ever been allowed there.


  1. ^ A.G. Lenskii (А. Г. Ленский), Сухопутные силы РККА в предвоенные годы. Справочник. — Санкт-Петербург Б&К, 2000, p.151-2
  2. ^, Administrative Order of Battle, Transcaucasus Military District, 22 June 1941
  3. ^ William E Odom, The Collapse of the Soviet Military, Yale University Press, 1998, p.29
  4. ^ V.I. Feskov, K.A. Kalashnikov, V.I. Golikov, The Soviet Army in the Years of the Cold War 1945-91, Tomsk University Publishing House, Tomsk, 1994
  5. ^ Army and Society in Georgia October 1999
  6. ^ Nino Kopaleishvili, ‘Bomb Injures Russian Military Official’, Tbilisi Messenger, April 8, 2004, p.5
  7. ^ Russia Transfers Akhalkalaki Military Base to Georgia. Civil Georgia. June 27, 2007. Accessed on June 29, 2007.
  8. ^ ‘Zvezda has been transferred to Georgia’, Georgian MOD website,, accessed 29 October 2005.
  9. ^ Russia to withdraw Tbilisi garrison early - minister, RIA Novosti, October 10, 2006


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