Soviet Russian Armed Forces
Вооруженные Силы Советской России
Soviet Russian Army Flag
Flag RSFSR 01
Founded 1990
Current form 2007
Service branches Soviet Russian Ground Forces
Soviet Russian Navy
Soviet Russian Air Force
Soviet Russian Strategic Rocket Troops
Soviet Russian Air and Space Defense Troops
Soviet Russian Airborne Troops
Ministry of Defence
Министерство обороны Советской России
General of The Army Mikhail Fedorov
Chief of the General Staff
Начальник Генерального штаба Советской России
Admiral Nikolai Zakharov
Military age 18-31(45) years of age for male compulsory military service (45 years of age for officers); 16 years of age in wartime; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women
Conscription From 9 to 18 months
Reaching military
age annually
(2010 est.)
Active personnel 871,000
Reserve personnel 2,100,000
Budget 171.175 billions
Percent of GDP 4.1 %
Domestic suppliers Sukhoi
Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute of Instrument Design
Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology
Admiralty Shipyard
Yantar Shipyard
Northern Shipyard
Zalenodolsk Shipyard
Zvezda Shipyard
Related articles
History Caucasus War
Campaign of the East

The Armed Forces of Soviet Russia (Russian: Вооруженные Силы Советской России, tr. Vooruzhennyye Sily Sovetskoy Rossii) are the military services of Soviet Russia, established after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On 17 October 1990, General Boris Smetkov signed a presidential decree establishing the Ministry of Defence of Soviet Russia and placing all Soviet Armed Forces troops on the territory of the RSFSR under Soviet Russian control.

From the beginning, the armed forces were based on the adaptation of the armed forces of the Soviet Union to the new national reality. Following the adoption of the new constitution and the reorganization of the state, during the period 2001-2004 the armed forces suffered a major restructuring in order to prepare them for the new challenges of being a superpower in the 21st century.


Given the foreign policy shifts of recent years and new national security priorities, the Soviet Russian Armed Forces now have a totally new set of objectives that could be broken down into the following four major dimensions:

  • Deterring the military and political threats to the security or interests of Soviet Russia
  • Supporting economic and political interests of Soviet Russia
  • Mounting other-than-war enforcement operations
  • Using military force

Specifics of the ongoing global military and political shifts allow for transmutations of the aforementioned objectives. Understandably, the existing hot-button national security issues appear to be comprehensive and multidimensional by character.

The Soviet Russian Armed Forces deter war and military-political threats as well as provide for national security through performing the following tasks:

  • Tracking the rising military-political tensions and uncovering war preparations to attack Soviet Russia and/or its allies;
  • Sustaining the status, operational availability and mobilizational preparedness of the strategic nuclear forces and the relevant support capabilities to assure their functionality and usability; keeping the C2 systems ready to inflict the desired losses on the aggressor under any conditions;
  • Maintaining operational capabilities, war and mobilizational preparedness and training of the peacetime general purpose forces on the level high enough to beat back local or regional aggression;
  • Assuring readiness for strategic deployments as part of a state-run effort to put the nation on a war footing;
  • Making arrangements to put in place territorial defenses.
  • Supporting Soviet Russian economic and political interests breaks down into the following tasks:
    • providing for security of Soviet Russian citizens in war zones and areas of political or other sort of instabilities;
    • creating the friendly environment for Soviet Russian state or government-related economic activities;
    • safeguarding Soviet Russian national interests in the territorial waters, continental shelf, exclusive economic zones and the World Ocean;
    • running variable-scale enforcement operations directed by the Main Military Council to secure vital national economic and political interests;
    • staging and conducting information counter-balancing operations.

The Soviet Russian Armed Forces can undertake the following peacetime enforcement operations:

  • living up to the commitments in keeping with the relevant international treaty obligations and inter-governmental agreements;
  • fighting international terrorism, political extremism and separatism; preventing and putting in check sabotage activities and terrorist acts;
  • undertaking a partial or full-fledged strategic deployment, maintaining operational availability of the nuclear deterrence capabilities;
  • running UN-mandated peace-keeping/peace-enforcement operations while operating either as part of a coalition set up by an international Soviet Russian-participated organization or on an ad-hoc basis;
  • assuring a martial law/emergency regime in one or several constituent units of the Soviet Russia pursuant to express directives from the Council of Defence;
  • safeguarding the national borders of Soviet Russia in the air and underwater media;
  • enforcing international sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council;
  • preventing natural disasters and other emergencies, managing their consequences.

The use of force is in order to assure security of Soviet Russia.


After the reforms for the modernization and upgrading of armed forces, military doctrine has undergone changes in order to be adapted to the new assumed roles. However, the new doctrine in essence preserves some of the traditional views of the military doctrine of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union meaning of military doctrine was very different from U.S. military usage of the term. Soviet Minister of Defence Marshal Grechko defined it in 1975 as "a system of views on the nature of war and methods of waging it, and on the preparation of the country and army for war, officially adopted in a given state and its armed forces." Soviet Russian military doctrine theorists emphasise both the "political" and "military-technical" sides of military doctrine. The political side of Soviet Russian military doctrine is very important and in some cases political aspects condition technical ones.

Soviet Russian doctrine emphasizes combined-arms warfare as well as operational warfare. It emphasizes the initiation of military hostilities at a time, date, and location of its choosing on terms of its choosing and the extensive preparation of the battlespace for operations. Soviet Russian doctrine sacrifices tactical flexibility and adaptability for strategic and operational flexibility and adaptability; tactical personnel are trained as relatively inflexible executors of specific, detailed orders, while the operational-strategic level of Soviet Russian military doctrine is where most innovation takes place.


Following recent reforms, the Armed Forces of Soviet Russia are a mixed group of professionals and conscripts. The chiefs and officers are professional while among the noncommissioned officers and men is where conscripts are of greatest percentages, specially among the C2 and C3 category units. However, in recent years the Ministry of Defence has made ​​great efforts toward professionalization of the armed forces and now more than a half troops are professionals. Nevertheless, the Soviet Russian Armed Forces need to maintain a mobilization reserve to have manning resources capable of reinforcing the permanent readiness forces if the permanent readiness forces cannot deter or suppress an armed conflict on their own, so conscription will be maintained. Those units outside the RSFSR and along the borders have full degree of readiness.

The defense of the nation and independence is something deeply rooted among the Russians so serve in the armed forces or be in the reserve is usually a source of pride. Professional soldiers are well paid, trained and enjoy social benefits at the time of return to civilian life once their commitment has finished. Promotions occur on a scale of merit including service time but not taking service time as the most important.

As of 2012, some 512,000 young men are brought into the Army via conscription in two call-ups each year. The term of service vary from 12 to 18 months. Eligible age is 18 to 27 years old. Deferments are provided to undergraduate and graduate students, men solely supporting disabled relatives, parents of at least two children and (upon Ministerial proclamation) to some employees of military-oriented enterprises. Men holding Ph.D. as well as sons and brothers of servicemen killed or disabled during their military service are released of conscription.

The ranks of the Soviet Russian military are also open to non-Russian citizens of the Varsaw Pact, of which Soviet Russia is the largest member. Under a 2008 Defence Ministry plan, foreigners without dual citizenship would be able to sign up for five-year contracts and will be eligible for Russian citizenship after serving three years. The change could open the way for communist bloc citizens to get fast-track Russian citizenship, and counter the effects of Soviet Russia's demographic crisis on its army recruitment.

Awards and decorations of the Armed Forces are covered at Awards and Emblems of the Ministry of Defence of Soviet Russia. Each soldier in duty receives Identity Card of the Soviet Russian Armed Forces.

Budget and Procurement


Command and control

There is a unified system of command, capable of exerting centralized direction, but designed to permit decentralization of functions to lower levels. The Soviet Russia national military command authority is composed of three major bodies: Council of Defense, the Main Military Council, and the General Staff.

Council of Defense

Planning and preparing the country for war, is the responsibility of the council of defense headed by the General Secretary of the Communist Party. The council is made up of Politiburo members, the Minister of Defense and is the highest military-economic planning agency; it deliberates interrelated issues concerning the nation's defenses, economic plans, and government branches; the mobilization of industry, transportation, and manpower for war, and the peacetime structure of the armed forces. In wartime, it would be the State Committee of Defense, a war cabinet with oversight of political, diplomatic, and economic matters concerned with military operations.

Main Military Council

The Council of Defense for leadership and status of the Armed Forces of Soviet Russia in peacetime. The Minister of Defense heads this council. The chairman of the Council of Defense is a member, as are the First Deputy Ministers of Defense. The ministers include the Chief of the General Staff and the Commander in Chief of the Warsaw Pact Forces. Other members might include the commanders of the military services, the Chief of the Main Political Administration, the Chief of the Rear Services, and the Chief of Civil Defenses. In wartime, the Main Military Council would be transferred into Headquarters of the Supreme High Command (STAVKA), representing the top echelon of Soviet Russia wartime military control. TheGeneral Secretary of the Communist Party, as Chairman of the State Committee of Defense, would become the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Soviet Russia. The STAVKA would plan and direct strategic operations on a global scale within Theaters of Military Operations (TVD), the number of Fronts, their composition, missions, and conduct or operations would be established, it would also monitor the individual Front and fleet actions and supervise the coordination between them.

The General Staff

The major link in the centralization of the Soviet Russian National Military Command Authority, is the General Staff. The General Staff is the executive agency for the Main Military Council in peacetime, and in wartime for the STAVKA. The Soviet General Staff is charged with the basic military planning in the Armed Forces of Soviet Russia, both in peace and war. The military services, military districts, and the Groups of Forces outside of the RSFSR report to Minister of Defense through the General Staff in peacetime. In wartime, field forces in a TVD (Fronts and fleets) would report to the Supreme Commander in Chief and the STAVKA through the General Staff.

Field forces organization

Soviet Russia inherited a system of military-administrative units from the Soviet Union and they are the foundation on which the structure of the organization of the Armed Forces of Soviet Russia is based. However, the reforms carried out during the period 2001-2004 have modified some of these structures to modernize them and make them more versatile and suited to today's threats.

The Combined Arms Commands, in peacetime, are the military districts (MDs) within the Soviet Russia and Groups of Forces (GFs) abroad and are subordinate to the Ministry of Defence

The Military District (MD)

A territorial administration command of military areas, recruiting districts, military schools, garrisons and training areas of command. MDs are organized as a Front or other field command for wartime operations. The district administration is charged with carrying out operational, military-administrative, and mobilizational tasks. It is to supply logistics support to the units on its territory and to provide territorial defense. The commander of a military district is responsible for all the Armed Forces units on his territory. Permanent Joint Strategic Commands control the districts' forces, resources and all troop branches.

Group of Forces (GoF)

Equivalent to MDs but located outside Soviet Russia, they are major military units with subordinate AOFs in Soviet bloc nations form the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact under command of a Soviet Russian General. They could constitute a Front organization in wartime. The GoF administration is charged with carrying out operational, military-administrative, and supply logistics support to the units on its territory and to provide territorial defense. The commander of a GoF is responsible for all the Armed Forces units on his territory. Permanent Joint Strategic Commands control the GoF's forces, resources and all troop branches.

The Front

The largest field formation in wartime, the Front is an operational and administrative unit; its size and composition can vary widely depending on the mission and situation. Roughly equivalent to a US/NATO Army group, a Front has three to five armies with organic artillery, missile, air defense, engineer, signal, intelligence, reconnaissance, and rear service units, plus aviation, air assault, and special purpose forces.


Military Districts of Soviet Russia - 2004

Military Districts of Soviet Russia

After reforms carried out during the period 2001-2004, the division into military districts with their Joint Strategic Commands, has been defined as follows:


Today's Soviet Russian Armed Forces consists, unlike any other in the world, not of three, but of seven different Armed Services:

Each of these Services, with the exception of the Strategic Rocket Forces, is made up of different arms of service. In the Land Forces there are seven, in the Air Defence Forces three, in the Air Forces three, and in the Navy six. The Airborne Forces constitute a separate arm of service, which is not part of the complement of any of the main Services.

In addition there are other services which support the operations of the whole Soviet Russian Armed Forces. There are several of these but we the most important are: