Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
Вооружённые си́лы Росси́йской Федера́ции
Emblem of the Russian Armed Forces
Banner of the Russian Armed Forces
Founded1721 (Imperial Russian Army)
Current form7 May 1992
Service branches Ground Forces
 Navy
Aerospace Forces
Strategic Rocket Forces
Airborne Forces
Special Operations Forces
HeadquartersMinistry of Defence, Moscow
Leadership
Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin
Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu
Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov
Personnel
Military age18[1]
Conscription12 months[2]
Active personnel1,320,000 (December Draft)[3] (ranked 4th)
Reserve personnelc. 2,000,000[4][Note 1]
Expenditures
BudgetUS$86.4 billion (2023)[5]
(ranked 3rd)
Percent of GDP4.1% (2023)[5]
Industry
Domestic suppliers
Foreign suppliers Belarus (MZKT)
 Italy (Iveco)[6][7]
 Iran (HESA)[8]
Annual importsUS$905 million (2010–2021)[9]
Annual exportsUS$74.535 billion (2010–2021)[9]
Related articles
HistoryMilitary history of the Russian Federation
RanksArmy ranks
Navy ranks
Aerospace Forces ranks

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,[a] commonly referred to as the Russian Armed Forces, are the military of Russia. In terms of active-duty personnel, they are the world's fifth-largest military force, with 1.15 million and at least two million reserve personnel.[10] According to the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), "Russia plans to expand its active personnel force to 1.5 million by 2026, which will make it the third largest in the world, after China and India."[11] The country has three primary branches of service: the Ground Forces, the Navy, and the Aerospace Forces, as well as two independent arms of service: the Strategic Rocket Forces and Airborne Forces.[12] In addition, the Special Operations Forces Command was established in 2013, with an estimated strength in 2022 of 1,000, possibly with additional supporting staff.[13]

In 2023, Russia had the world's third-highest military expenditure, allocating a budget of approximately US$86.4 billion to the military.[14][5] The Russian Armed Forces maintain the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons,[15] and possess the world's second-largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines;[16] they are also one of only three national militaries (alongside those of the United States and China) that operate strategic bombers.[17] With certain exceptions, Russian law mandates one year of military service for all male citizens aged 18–27.[1][18]

In spite of Russia's perceived military strength, as recorded in various assessments, deficiencies have been noted in the country's combat performance on both the tactical and operational scales. According to multiple reports, endemic corruption within the Russian Armed Forces has had a major impact on Russia's ability to effectively project hard power.[19][20][21] Amidst the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, severe logistical failures have greatly impacted the operational performance of Russian troops, as different service branches have struggled to coordinate and work together. Continuous shortcomings have led Russia's war effort to suffer extensive setbacks since the initial invasion; the Russian Armed Forces have experienced successive losses of occupied/annexed territory, the large-scale destruction and squandering of their equipment, and a notably high casualty rate.[22][23][24] Researchers from the US-funded RAND Corporation have observed that Russia continues to struggle with military professionalization.[25]

Directly controlled by the Security Council of Russia, the Russian Armed Forces form part of the country's defence services under Russian law, fulfilling this capacity alongside the Border Guard of the Federal Security Service, the National Guard, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Protective Service, the Foreign Intelligence Service, and the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Service branches

Armed forces under the Ministry of Defence are divided into:[citation needed]

There are additionally two further separate troop branches, the National Guard and the Border Service. These retain the legal status of "Armed Forces", while falling outside of the jurisdiction of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The National Guard is formed on the basis of the former Internal Troops of Russia. The new structure has been detached from the Ministry of Internal Affairs into a separate agency, directly subordinated to the President of Russia. The Border Service is a paramilitary organization of the Federal Security Service, the country's main internal intelligence agency. Both organizations have significant wartime tasks in addition to their main peacetime activities and operate their own land, air and maritime units.

The number of personnel is specified by decree of the President of Russia. On 1 January 2008, a number of 2,019,629 units, including military of 1,134,800 units, was set.[26] In 2010 the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimated that the Russian Armed Forces numbered about 1,027,000 active troops and in the region of 2,035,000 reserves (largely ex-conscripts).[27] As opposed to personnel specified by decree, actual personnel numbers on the payroll was reported by the Audit Chamber of Russia as 766,000 in October 2013.[28]

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, between 2005–2009 and 2010–2014, Russian exports of major weapons increased by 37 percent;[29] Russia spent $66.4 billion on arms in 2015,[30] then $69.2 billion in 2016, having taken 3rd place (after the U.S. and China).[31]

History

Main article: Military history of the Russian Federation

See also: Military history of the Russian Empire and Military history of the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union officially dissolved on 25 December 1991. For the next year various attempts to keep its unity and to transform it into the military of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) failed. Over time, some units stationed in the newly independent republics swore loyalty to their new national governments, while a series of treaties between the newly independent states divided up the military's assets.[32]

Apart from assuming control of the bulk of the former Soviet Internal Troops and the KGB Border Troops, seemingly the only independent defence move the new Russian government made before March 1992 involved announcing the establishment of a National Guard.[33] Until 1995, it was planned to form at least 11 brigades numbering 3,000 to 5,000 each, with a total of no more than 100,000. National Guard military units were to be deployed in 10 regions, including in Moscow (three brigades), (two brigades), and a number of other important cities and regions. In Moscow alone 15,000 personnel expressed their desire to service in the new Russian Army, mostly former Soviet Armed Forces servicemen. In the end, President Yeltsin tabled a decree "On the temporary position of the Russian Guard", but it was not put into practice.[34]

After signing the Belavezha Accords on 21 December 1991, the countries of the newly formed CIS signed a protocol on the temporary appointment of Marshal of Aviation Yevgeny Shaposhnikov as Minister of Defence and commander of the armed forces in their territory, including strategic nuclear forces. On 14 February 1992 Shaposhnikov formally became Supreme Commander of the CIS Armed Forces. On 16 March 1992 a decree by Boris Yeltsin created the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the operational control of Allied High Command and the Ministry of Defence, which was headed by President.[citation needed] Finally, on 7 May 1992, Yeltsin signed a decree establishing the armed forces and Yeltsin assumed the duties of the Supreme Commander.[35]

In May 1992, General Colonel Pavel Grachev became the Minister of Defence, and was made Russia's first Army General on assuming the post. By August or December 1993 CIS military structures had become CIS military cooperation structures with all real influence lost.[36]

In the next few years, Russian forces withdrew from central and eastern Europe, as well as from some newly independent post-Soviet republics. While in most places the withdrawal took place without any problems, the Russian Armed Forces remained in some disputed areas such as the Sevastopol naval base in the Crimea as well as in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and in Transnistria. The Armed Forces have several bases in foreign countries, especially on territory of the former Soviet Republics.

In late 2000 Gazeta.ru reported that of 600,000 personnel planned to be dismissed from the various "power ministries," the Armed Forces would be reduced by 365,000.[37]

Both in Soviet and Russian times, corruption has been a significant impediment to the Armed Forces. "The change from Yeltsin to Putin ..had minimal effect on Russian military corruption. Putin, despite his desire to rebuild Russian strength, has not shown himself willing or able to seriously deal with" corruption.[38] From 1991-2001, Russian authorities uncovered at least 350 billion rubles' (11.5 billion USD) worth of corruption in the armed forces (with, for comparison, the total defence budget for 2001 being 214 billion rubles). Areas of particular concern identified by a researcher at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment in 2007 included the State Defence Order (perhaps 10-15% realised in 2004); "ghost soldiers," as "it is generally acknowledged that the number of actually serving personnel differs substantially from the authorized number of personnel," and officers at various levels can pocket excess money for themselves; and "the domestic purchases of goods and services, where corrupt officers overpay civilian providers in return for bribes."

Russian stamps honoring soldiers killed in the Russo-Ukrainian War. As of February 2023, the number of Russian soldiers killed and wounded in Ukraine was estimated at nearly 200,000.[39]

On 24 February 2022 Russian president Vladimir Putin gave the execute order to for the Armed Forces to begin the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[40][41] On 10 April 2022 General Aleksandr Dvornikov assumed command of the operation.[42] In July 2022, at the same time as the Armed Forces began suffering severe casualties, the Ground Forces began to site ammunition in or near structures which are frequented by civilians due to the human shield benefit, ostensibly because Ukrainian HIMARS had tilted the odds of his strategy of attrition by artillery.[43] Within hours after Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu's signature on the UN-brokered deal to resume Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports, Russia bombed the Port of Odesa.[44][45]

According to Forbes Moscow had committed, as of the end of July 2022, 10 of its Combined Arms Armies to the invasion.[46] The Wagner Group has made a name for itself as Putin's "private army."[47] In June 2023, Putin backed the Ministry of Defense's plan to make mercenary groups sign contracts, which Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin pushed against: these contracts would have placed the Wagner Group under the Ministry's command structure as subordinates and limited Prigozhin's own influence.[48] Later in June, the Wagner Group turned against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Ministry of Defense[49][50] until a peace deal was reached. According to Prigozhin, part of the reason for his march against Russia was to stop the government from "[dismantling] PMC Wagner."[51]

Structure

Minister of Defence, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu
Chief of the General Staff, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov

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. "[T]he Soviet General Staff without the MoD is conceivable, but the MoD without the General Staff is not."[52]

Other departments include the Main Intelligence Directorate, the personnel directorate as well as the Logistical Support of the Russian Armed Forces, Railway Troops, Signal Troops and Construction Troops. The Ministry of Defence incorporated the Main Directorate of the Military Police Since 1 December 2012. The Main Directorate of the Military Police oversees subordinated military districts regional directorates of military police.[53] The Chief of the General Staff is currently General of the Army Valery Gerasimov.

In July 2018, the Main Military-Political Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces was created, restoring a responsibility for ideological training that had been done away with in the Soviet Armed Forces.[54]

The Russian military is divided into three services: the Russian Ground Forces, the Russian Navy, and the Russian Aerospace Forces. In addition there are two independent arms of service: the Strategic Missile Troops and the Russian Airborne Troops. The Armed Forces as a whole are traditionally referred to as the Army (armiya), except in some cases, the Navy is specifically singled out.

Military districts

Military districts of Russia as of 2021.

Since late 2010, the Ground Forces as well as the Aerospace Forces and Navy are distributed among four military districts: Western Military District, Southern Military District, Central Military District, and the Eastern Military District which also constitute four Joint Strategic Commands—West, South, Central, and East. Previously from 1992 to 2010, the Ground Forces were divided into six military districts: Moscow, Leningrad, North Caucausian, Privolzhsk-Ural, Siberian and Far Eastern, with the seventh military district: Kaliningrad formed in 1997; in service until 2010.

Russia's four naval fleets and one flotilla were organizations on par with the Ground Forces' Military Districts. These seven MDs were merged into the four new MDs, which now also incorporate the aerospace forces and naval forces. There is one remaining Russian military base, the 102nd Military Base, in Armenia left of the former Transcaucasus Group of Forces and is incorporated into the Southern Military District.

In mid-2010 a reorganisation was announced which consolidated military districts and the navy's fleets into four Joint Strategic Commands (OSC).[55] In 2014 the Northern Fleet was reorganized in separate Joint Strategic Command. Since 1 January 2021, this Command has the status of military district.[56]

Army General Aleksandr Dvornikov, commander of the Southern Military District since 20 September 2016

Geographically divided, the five commands/districts are:

The plan was put in place on 1 December 2010 and mirrors a proposed reorganisation by former Chief of the General Staff Army General Yuri Baluyevsky for a Regional Command East which was not implemented.[57] The four commands were set up by a decree of President Medvedev on 14 July 2010.[citation needed] In July 2011, an Operational-Strategic Command of Missile-Space Defence has also been established on the basis of the former Special Purpose Command of the Russian Air Force. A Presidential decree of January 2011 named commanders for several of the new organisational structures.[58]

Russian security bodies not under the control of the Ministry of Defence include the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (now the National Guard of Russia's National Guard Forces Command), the Border Guard Service of Russia (part of the Federal Security Service), the Kremlin Regiment and the rest of the Federal Protective Service, and the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the country's civil defence service since 1995 and successor to earlier civil defence units.

Naval fleets

Mordovia, a Russian Navy Zubr-class LCAC
A map of naval bases, shipyards and spent fuel storage sites operated by the Northern Fleet

The Navy consists of four fleets and one flotilla:

Personnel

Russian troops at the 2015 Moscow Victory Day parade
Russian troops marching in the 2015 Moscow Victory Day parade
Members of the 56th Guards Air Assault Brigade of the Russian Airborne Forces in 2018
Ratnik infantry combat system in reconnaissance variant and AFV crew individual protection kit Ratnik-ZK
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Conscription is used in Russia; the term of service is 12 months; and the eligible age is between 18 and 27 years old.[1] Deferments are provided to undergraduate and graduate students, men supporting disabled relatives, parents of at least two children and—upon Presidential proclamation—to some employees of military-oriented enterprises. Men holding a Ph.D., as well as sons and brothers of servicemen killed or disabled during their military service, are released from conscription.

There were widespread problems with hazing in the Army, known as dedovshchina, where first-year draftees are abused by second-year draftees, a practice that appeared in its current form after the change to a two-year service term in 1967.[59] According to Anna Politkovskaya, in 2002, "a complete battalion, more than five hundred men, had been killed not by enemy fire but by beatings".[60] Over a period of 9 months in 2003, 2,500 personnel were accused of dedovshchina, of which half were sentenced.[61] 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 1 January 2008.[62][63]

Thirty percent of Russian Armed Forces' personnel were contract servicemen at the end of 2005.[18] For the foreseeable future, the Armed Forces will be a mixed contract/conscript force.[18] The 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.[64]

Recruitment into the Russian military are also open to non-Russian citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States, of which Russia is the largest member.[65] By December 2003, the Russian parliament had approved a law in principle to permit the Armed Forces to employ foreign nationals on contract by offering them Russian citizenship after several years service[66] yet, up to 2010, foreigners could only serve in Russia's armed forces after getting a Russian passport. Under a 2010 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.[67][68] The change could open the way for CIS citizens to get fast-track Russian citizenship, and counter the effects of Russia's demographic crisis on its army recruitment. Each soldier in duty receives an Identity Card of the Russian Armed Forces. On 20 September 2022 the State Duma passed a bill which would make Russian citizenship available to foreign soldiers upon 12 months service in the AFRF; previously the service requirement had been set at three years.[69]

Awards and decorations of the Armed Forces are covered at the Awards and Emblems of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.

On 17 November 2011, General Nikolai Makarov said that Russia had reached a crisis in the conscript service where there simply were not sufficient able bodied men to draft and was forced to halve its conscription.[citation needed]

In March 2013, Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu promised that all army quarters would have showers by the end of the year.[70]

In 2013, it was reported that:[71] "Compared to 2007, the number of female officers and warrant-officers has dropped by nearly two thirds. There were over 30,000 women serving under a contract [with the armed forces] in 2007, and now there are only slightly more than 11,000 of them, including 4,300 officers of various rank." Lt. Col. Yelena Stepanova, the chief of the social processes monitoring department at the Russian armed forces' sociological research center, said. This trend [was] "not ..special" but correspond[ed] with the general .. reduction of the Russian armed forces."

A new uniform for hot climates was introduced in mid-2018.[72]

On 28 May 2022, on the background of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin signed the law which removed the upper age limit for signing first contract for the performance of voluntary military service (earlier this limit was 40 years old).[73][74]

Age limits for active duty service in Russian Armed Forces (males)[1]
Military rank Conscript service Voluntary service
Lower age limit Upper age limit Lower age limit for signing first contract Upper age limit for signing first contract General upper age limit for tenure Final upper age limit for tenure
Marshal of the Russian Federation None None 18 None 65 70
Army general/Admiral of the fleet
Colonel general/Admiral
Lieutenant general/Vice admiral 60 65
Major general/Counter admiral
Colonel/Captain 1st rank 55
Lieutenant colonel/Captain 2nd rank 50
Major/Captain 3rd rank
Captain/Captain lieutenant
Senior lieutenant
Lieutenant
Junior lieutenant
Senior praporshchik/Senior michman
Praporshchik/Michman
Starshina/Chief ship starshina
Senior sergeant/Chief starshina
Sergeant/Starshina 1st class
Junior sergeant/Starshina 2nd class
Gefreiter/Senior seaman
Private/Seaman 18 27
Age limits for active duty service in Russian Armed Forces (females)[1]
Military rank Conscript service Voluntary service
Lower age limit Upper age limit Lower age limit for signing first contract Upper age limit for signing first contract General upper age limit for tenure Final upper age limit for tenure
Marshal of the Russian Federation None None 18 None 45 70
Army general/Admiral of the fleet
Colonel general/Admiral
Lieutenant general/Vice admiral 65
Major general/Counter admiral
Colonel/Captain 1st rank
Lieutenant colonel/Captain 2nd rank
Major/Captain 3rd rank
Captain/Captain lieutenant
Senior lieutenant
Lieutenant
Junior lieutenant
Senior praporshchik/Senior michman
Praporshchik/Michman
Starshina/Chief ship starshina
Senior sergeant/Chief starshina
Sergeant/Starshina 1st class
Junior sergeant/Starshina 2nd class
Gefreiter/Senior seaman
Private/Seaman

Military education

Release of officers of the Air Force Academy in Voronezh
Female students of the Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots

The Russian military education system, inherited from the Soviet Union, trains officer-specialists in narrowly-defined military occupational specialties. In this it differs greatly from the American military education system in which newly-qualified second lieutenants receive particular specialties in the framework of their "career branch" only after graduation from a military academy or the ROTC.[75] Students of Russian civilian institutions of higher education wishing to join the reserve officer training program cannot choose a military occupational specialty, because each civilian specialty taught by civilian university is attached to a particular military occupational specialty taught by the military training center of the same university by the rector's order. It also differs from the American military education system in which students can choose between available types of ROTC.

The Russian military education system includes:

Age limits for admission to military educational institutions[1][76]
Type of military educational institution Persons who have not been on active duty service Persons who are on conscript active duty service or are demobbed from this service Persons who are on voluntary active duty service
Lower age limit Upper age limit Lower age limit Upper age limit Lower age limit Upper age limit
Military school 16 22 18 24 18 27
Military training center (active duty officer program) 16 24
Military training center (reserve officer program) 16 30
Russian military academies and adjunctura entry requirements[76][77]
Type of military educational institution Reached educational level Years of active duty service as commissioned officer Military rank (no lower than) Military position
(years of experience)
Expected number of years of active duty service after graduation until general upper age limit for tenure
Military academy Military school or Military training center no less than 7 years Captain/Captain lieutenant Major's/Captain 3rd rank's positions
(1 year at least)
5 years at least
Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia Military academy Major/Captain 3rd rank Colonel's/Captain 1st rank's positions
(1 year at least)
5 years at least
Adjunctura Military school or Military training center no less than 2 years Lieutenant 5 years at least

Reserve components

Russian Armed Forces have reserves (Russian: запас; transliteration: zapas) which includes 2 components:[1]

By default, at the end of active duty each military personnel is enrolled as a mobilization human resource. This applies equally to conscripts and volunteers regardless of ranks. Furthermore, graduates of civilian institutions of higher education, who have graduated the military training centers of their almae matres, trained under reserve officer program, are enrolled as mobilization Human Resources after their promotion to officer's rank (unlike graduates of such centers, trained under active duty officer program, who are due to be enrolled for active duty after their promotion to officer's rank). Mobilization human resource are replenished with males who reach the age of 27 years old and were not in military service for any reason.

Enrolling in the mobilization human reserve is voluntary and implies the special contract. This possibility is available for each persons, who is in the mobilization human resource already.[78] The initial contract is concluded for 3 years period. Military personnel of mobilization human reserve (reservists) perform part-time duties in military units.[79] Reservists are appointed to a military position in particular military units and are involved in all operational, mobilization, and combat activities of these military units. As a rule, in peacetime time reservists perform their duties 2–3 days per month and during an annual military camp training of 20 to 30 days.[80]

The exact number of reservists is unknown because a relevant paragraph of the Presidential Decree[81] which determines the number of reserve troops is classified. The military units manned by reservists are determined by General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and this information is classified too.

The persons who are in mobilization human resource (non-reservists) may be enlisted to military camp trainings in peacetime. The duration of each training can not exceed 2 months, herewith the total duration of such trainings for the entire period of being in mobilization human resource can not exceed 12 months, and a person may be enlisted in such training no more than once every three years.[82]

As of 2009, the number of citizens who can be used for mobilization deployment on an involuntary basis in the case of wartime mobilization was estimated at 31 million.[83]

Reservists are subject to mobilization in wartime first of all. Non-reservists are subject to mobilization secondarily. The mobilization of non-reservists is carried out by taking into account the age category under the article 53 of Federal Law of 28 March 1998, No.53-FZ "About military duty and military service": in order from first category to third category.[84][85]

The first category includes: 1) the persons at the any military rank below that of a commissioned officer (enlisted personnel) and not reached the age of 35 years old; 2) the persons at the any rank from junior lieutenant to captain (captain-lieutenant in naval service) inclusively (junior commissioned officers) and not reached the age of 50 years old; 3) the persons at the any rank from major (captain 3rd rank in naval service) to lieutenant colonel (captain 2nd rank in naval service) inclusively and not reached the age of 55 years old; 4) the persons at the rank of colonel (captain 1st rank in naval service) and not reached the age of 60 years old; 5) the persons at the rank of major general (counter admiral in naval service) or higher (supreme officers) and not reached the age of 65 years old.[84][85]

The second category includes: 1) enlisted personnel in age from 35 but less than 45; 2) junior commissioned officers in the age from 50 but less than 55; 3) commissioned officers at the any rank from major (captain 3rd rank in naval service) to lieutenant colonel (captain 2nd rank in naval service) inclusively in the age from 55 but less than 60; 4) commissioned officers at the rank of colonel (captain 1st rank in naval service) in the age from 60 but less than 65; 5) supreme officers in age from 65 but less than 70.[84][85]

The third category includes: 1) enlisted personnel in the age from 45 but less than 50; 2) junior commissioned officers in the age from 55 but less than 60; 3) commissioned officers at the any rank from major (captain 3rd rank in naval service) to lieutenant colonel (captain 2nd rank in naval service) inclusively in the age from 60 but less than 65; 4) all females in the age less than 45 for enlisted personnel and less than 50 for commissioned officers. The person who has reached the age limit, established for the third category (the second category for persons at the rank of colonel (captain 1st rank in naval service) or higher), is retired and is not subject to mobilization.[84][85]

Age limits in the reserve component of Russian Armed Forces (males)[1]
Military rank Mobilization human reserve Mobilization human resource
Age limit for signing first contract Age limit for tenure First grade
Age limit
Second grade
Age limit
Third grade
Age limit
Marshal of the Russian Federation 65 70
Army general/Admiral of the fleet 65 70
Colonel general/Admiral 65 70
Lieutenant general/Vice admiral 65 70
Major general/Counter admiral 65 70
Colonel/Captain 1st rank 57 65 60 65
Lieutenant colonel/Captain 2nd rank 52 60 55 60 65
Major/Captain 3rd rank 52 60 55 60 65
Captain/Captain lieutenant 47 55 50 55 60
Senior lieutenant 47 55 50 55 60
Lieutenant 47 55 50 55 60
Junior lieutenant 47 55 50 55 60
Senior praporshchik/Senior michman 42 45 35 45 50
Praporshchik/Michman 42 45 35 45 50
Starshina/Chief ship starshina 42 45 35 45 50
Senior sergeant/Chief starshina 42 45 35 45 50
Sergeant/Starshina 1st class 42 45 35 45 50
Junior sergeant/Starshina 2nd class 42 45 35 45 50
Gefreiter/Senior seaman 42 45 35 45 50
Private/Seaman 42 45 35 45 50
Age limits in the reserve component of Russian Armed Forces (females)[1]
Military rank Mobilization human reserve Mobilization human resource
Age limit for signing first contract Age limit for tenure First grade
Age limit
Second grade
Age limit
Third grade
Age limit
Marshal of the Russian Federation 50
Army general/Admiral of the fleet 50
Colonel general/Admiral 50
Lieutenant general/Vice admiral 50
Major general/Counter admiral 50
Colonel/Captain 1st rank 47 50 50
Lieutenant colonel/Captain 2nd rank 47 50 50
Major/Captain 3rd rank 47 50 50
Captain/Captain lieutenant 47 50 50
Senior lieutenant 47 50 50
Lieutenant 47 50 50
Junior lieutenant 47 50 50
Senior praporshchik/Senior michman 42 45 45
Praporshchik/Michman 42 45 45
Starshina/Chief ship starshina 42 45 45
Senior sergeant/Chief starshina 42 45 45
Sergeant/Starshina 1st class 42 45 45
Junior sergeant/Starshina 2nd class 42 45 45
Gefreiter/Senior seaman 42 45 45
Private/Seaman 42 45 45

2005–2008 reform of the reserve officer training system

The reserve officer training system, inherited from the Soviet Union, involved selective conscription of graduates of civilian institutions of higher education, who have graduated the military departments of their almae matres and received a commission as an officer. Such person could be conscripted from the reserve of armed forces to active duty, up until the age of 27. The period of active duty of such an officer was several years, and at the end of that period he was due to be enlisted in the reserve of armed forces again. Such officers were called "blazers" in the army's slang (for example, Anatoly Kvashnin was a "blazer").[86]

In 2005, Minister of Defence Sergei Ivanov announced a significant reduction in the number of military departments carrying out the training commissioned officers from students of civilian institutions of higher education.[87] By March 2008, 168 of 235 civilian universities, academies and institutions which previously had military departments had lost these units.[88] 37 of 67 civilian universities, academies and institutions which retained military departments became the basis for the establishment of new military training centers.[88] The military training centers focused on training officers for active duty, whilst the military departments focused on training officers for the reserve.[89]

In 2006 the conscription of reserve officers was abolished. Graduates of military departments were not subject to conscription to active duty anymore (with the exception of a wartime mobilization). All graduates of military training centers were due to be enrolled for 3 years active duty upon their university graduation.[90]

2018 beginning of formation of voluntary military reserve force

In 2018, Russia started a full-scale formation of a military reserve force based upon volunteers selected from among those who retired from active duty.[80] The Russian military reserve force (Russian: мобилизационный людской резерв) is a set of citizens who have signed a contract to perform military service as a reservist. They are appointed to a military position in a particular military unit. They are involved in all operational, mobilization, and combat activities of these military units, unlike other citizens who haven't signed such contracts and who can be used for a mobilization deployment of armed forces on an involuntary basis only in cases stipulated by law (Russian: мобилизационный людской ресурс).[91]

The deployment of military units composed of reservists, takes minimum time and does not requires any retraining of military personnel. The military units composed of reservists use the same weapons as used by military units, composed of active duty military personnel. Military units staffed by reservists are 100% manned up to wartime standards just like military units staffed by active duty military personnel only. There is no possibility to define by military units designation what we're dealing with - reserve or not reserve military unit. The number of reservists is not presented in open sources and is not among the number of active duty military volunteers which is published by Ministry of Defence. This makes it difficult for establish real troop strength of new Russian military units and formations.

2019 reform of the reserve officer training system

In 2018 the military departments and the military training centers were abolished.[92] From that moment on, students of civilian institutions of higher education were trained under both officers training programmes (for reserve and for active duty) in the Military Training Centers.[93] In 2019, there were training military centers in 93 civilian institutions of higher education.[94][95]

Mobilization

The first mobilization of citizens being in mobilization human resource, conducted on a compulsory basis, in the Russian Federation's history was announced by Presidential Decree of 21 September 2022 №647 during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[96]

Budget

See also: Military budget of the Russian Federation and List of countries in Europe by military expenditures

Soviet and Russian military expenditures in billions of 2015 US dollars
The facade of the National Defense Management Center
The conference room of the National Defense Management Center

Between 1991 and 1997 newly independent Russia's defence spending fell by a factor of eight in real prices.[97] 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 independent existence.

In the early 2000s, defence spending increased 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.[98] 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.[99]

Estimating Russian military expenditure is beset with difficulty; the annual IISS Military Balance has underscored the problem numerous times within its section on Russia.[99] 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."[100] By some estimates, overall Russian defence expenditure is now at the second highest in the world after the USA.[101] According to Alexander Kanshin, Chairman of the Public Chamber of Russia on affairs of veterans, military personnel, and their families, the Russian military is losing up to US$13 billion to corruption every year.[102]

On 16 September 2008 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that in 2009, Russia's defence budget would be increased to a record amount of $50 billion.[103][104]

On 16 February 2009 Russia's deputy defence minister said state defence contracts would not be subject to cuts this year despite the ongoing financial crisis, and that there would be no decrease in 2009.[105] The budget would still be 1.376 trillion rubles and in the current exchange rates this would amount to $41.5 billion.

Later in February 2009, due to the world financial crisis, the Russian Parliament's Defence Committee stated that the Russian defence budget would instead be slashed by 15 percent, from $40 billion to $34 billion, with further cuts to come.[106] On 5 May 2009, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said that the defence budget for 2009 will be 1.3 trillion rubles (US$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.

According to the head of the Defence Committee of the State Duma Vladimir Komoyedov, Russia plans to spend 101.15 billion rubles on nuclear weapons in 2013–2015. "The budget provisions under 'The Nuclear Weapons Complex' section in 2013-2015 will amount to 29.28 billion rubles, 33.3 billion rubles and 38.57 billion rubles respectively," Komoyedov said, Vechernaya Moskva reports.

Komoyedov added that in 2012 the spending on nuclear weapons made up 27.4 billion rubles. The draft law "On the Federal Budget for 2013 and for the planning period of 2014 and 2015" will be discussed in the first reading on 19 October 2012, The Voice of Russia reports.[107]

Pie chart showing global military expenditures by country for 2018, in US$ billions, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies

The Russian government's published 2014 military budget is about 2.49 trillion rubles (approximately US$69.3 billion), the fourth largest in the world behind the US, China and Saudi Arabia. The official budget is set to rise to 3.03 trillion rubles (approximately US$83.7 billion) in 2015, and 3.36 trillion rubles (approximately US$93.9 billion) in 2016.[108] As of 2014, Russia's military budget is higher than any other European nation, and approximately 1/7th (14 percent) of the US military budget.[29]

In 2015, SIPRI found that Russia was the world's second biggest exporter of major weapons for the period 2010–14, increasing exports by 37 per cent. India, China and Algeria accounted for almost 60 percent of total Russian exports. Asia and Oceania received 66 percent of Russian arms exports in 2010–14, Africa 12 percent and the Middle East 10 percent.[29]

In 2017, Russia was reported to have slashed its defense spending by 20%, due to calls by Vladimir Putin to spend money on other initiatives such as healthcare and education. The cut decreased Russia's military spending to $66.3 billion, in which Russia slumped to being the fourth-highest military spender.[109] Russia's 2019 defense budget was US$48 billion and the 2020 figure was $61.7 billion.[110]

However, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 24 February 2022, the Russian government has dramatically increased military spending to over 85+ billion dollars, returning to third position as the highest military spender in the world. The increase in military spending was needed to recoup losses in the war and reorientate Russia into a war economy.[5] On 5 October 2023, Vladimir Putin stated that Russia's spending on defense and security now equals to 6% of its GDP.[111]

Procurement

See also: Defence industry of Russia and List of countries by military expenditures

The Sukhoi PAK FA is one of the latest procurement projects of the Russian Armed Forces.
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (April 2022)

About 70 percent of the former Soviet Union's defence industries are located in the Russian Federation.[112] Many defence firms have been privatised; some have developed significant partnerships with firms in other countries.

The recent steps towards modernization 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[when?] 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 and 2015 under the State Armament Programme for 2007–2015 (GPV – госпрограмма вооружения).[113]

Mainly as a result of lessons learned during the Russo-Georgian War, the State Armament Programme for 2011–2020 was launched in December 2010. Prime Minister Putin announced that 20–21.5 trillion rubles (over $650 billion) will be allocated to purchase new hardware in the next 10 years. The aim is to have a growth of 30% of modern equipment in the army, navy and air force by 2015, and of 70% by 2020.[114][115][116][117] In some categories, the proportion of new weapon systems will reach 80% or even 100%.[118]

As of 2011, Russia's chief military prosecutor said that 20 percent of the defence budget was being stolen or defrauded yearly.[119] It is suspected that equipment is not properly maintained due to the resulting lack of funds, which may have contributed to equipment failures observed during the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.[23][120]

In 2018, RF Armed Forces adopted 35 types of weapons and military equipment and completed state tests of 21 more.[121] The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) was procured the YeSU TZ (Yedinaya Sistema Upravleniya Takticheskogo Zvena) battlefield management system that same year. The YeSU TZ battlefield management system incorporates 11 subsystems that control artillery, electronic warfare systems, ground vehicles, air defence assets, engineering equipment, and logistics support, among other things.[122]

Twelve missile regiments have been rearmed with Yars ICBMs, 10 missile brigades with Iskander tactical ballistic missile systems, 13 aviation regiments with MiG-31BM, Su-35S, Su-30SM, and Su-34 combat aircraft, three army aviation brigades and six helicopter regiments with Mi-28N and Ka-52 combat helicopters, 20 surface-to-air missile (SAM) regiments with S-400 Triumf SAM systems, 23 batteries with Pantsir-S self-propelled anti-aircraft gun-missile systems, and 17 batteries with Bal and Bastion mobile coastal defence missile systems [MCDMSs] since 2012 and as of March 2019.[122]

In early 2023, there were reports that the Russian Defense Ministry purchased more than a thousand tablets with a domestic software for higher ranking officials and also begun receiving a new line of gliding bombs with a range of tens of kilometers.[123][124]

The New York Times reported on 13 September 2023, citing US and European officials, that Russia overcomes the international sanctions and its missile production now exceeded pre-war levels. It was also reported that Russia now produces more ammunitions than the United States and Europe and it can manufacture 200 tanks and two million units of ammunition in a year.[125] CNN also reported in September 2023 that Russia produces ammunition seven times cheaper and eight times faster than Europe.[126]

In September 2023, various Russian regions launched the production of suicide drones at their own initiatives.[127][128] Vladimir Putin also claimed that the production of main armored vehicles has increased by four times in comparison with the past year and the production of the especially important destruction means by three times.[129]

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense,[130] the Russian Armed Forces received in 2023 several hundreds of thousands of small arms, new and repaired weapon systems, military vehicles and equipment, artillery systems, air defense systems, missiles and bombs, aircraft and helicopters, drones, and also over a million individual armor protection and equipment means.[131][132][133] CNN reported on 11 March 2024 that Russia currently produces about 250,000 artillery shells a month or about 3 million a year which is nearly three times the quantity the US and Europe produce for Ukraine. CNN cited Western intelligence officials and also said that Russia imports ammunition from Iran and North Korea.[134]

Nuclear weapons

Main article: Russia and weapons of mass destruction

A mobile version of the RS-24 Yars
The Borei-class submarine Alexander Nevsky

As of January 2017, the Federation of American Scientists estimated that Russia has approximately 1,765 deployed strategic warheads, and another 2,700 non-deployed strategic and deployed and non-deployed tactical warheads, plus an additional 2,510 warheads awaiting dismantlement.[135] Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces controls its land-based nuclear warheads, while the Navy controls the submarine based missiles and the Aerospace Forces the air-launched warheads. Russia's nuclear warheads are deployed in four areas:

  1. Land-based immobile (silos), like R-36 and its replacement RS-28 Sarmat.
  2. Land-based mobile, like RT-2PM2 Topol-M and new RS-24 Yars.
  3. Submarine based, like R-29RMU2 Layner and RSM-56 Bulava.
  4. Air-launched warheads of the Russian Aerospace Forces' Long Range Aviation Command

The military doctrine of Russia sees NATO expansion as one of the threats for the Russian Federation and reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a conventional aggression that can endanger the existence of the state. In keeping with this, the country's nuclear forces received adequate funding throughout the late 1990s. 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 defences.[136]

Russia has developed the new RT-2PM2 Topol-M (SS-27) missiles that a Russian general claimed to be able to penetrate any missile defence, including the planned U.S. National Missile Defence. 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.[136]

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 federal government of the United States and many other countries provided considerable financial assistance to the Russian nuclear forces in the early 1990s.[citation needed] This money went in part to finance decommissioning of warheads under international agreements, such the Cooperative Threat Reduction programme, but also to improve security and personnel training in Russian nuclear facilities.

In the late evening of 11 September 2007 the fuel-air explosive AVBPM or "Father of All Bombs" was successfully field-tested.[137]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Russian: Вооружённые Си́лы Росси́йской Федера́ции, Vooružjonnyje Síly Rossíjskoj Federácii
  1. ^ The potential reserve personnel of Russia may be as high as 20 million, depending on how the figures are counted. However, an est. 2 million have seen military service within the last 5 years.

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References

Further reading