Internal Troops of Russia

The Internal Troops of the Ministry for Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (MVD RF) (Russian: Внутренние войска Министерства внутренних дел, Vnutrenniye Voiska Ministerstva Vnutrennikh Del; abbreviated ВВ, VV), was a gendarmerie-like paramilitary force of the federal government in Russia. On 5 April 2016 it was officially split from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to form the basis of the National Guard of Russia.

Internal Troops supported and reinforced the police, dealt with large-scale riots, internal armed conflicts and safeguarded highly-important facilities (like nuclear power plants). As such, the service was involved in all conflicts and violent disturbances in modern Russia, including and First and Second Chechen Wars. Internal Troops fell under direct military command during wartime and fulfilled missions of local defence and rear area security.

Internal Troops consisted of both volunteers and conscripts and hence the number of active service members kept fluctuating. On the moment of their disestablishment, it had less than 200,000 active members and had experienced a shortage of officers since 1998. Its strength plunged to this level from the peak strength of 350,000 active members. The commander of the Russian Internal Troops was Colonel General Viktor Zolotov until their disestablishment occurred in April 2016.

Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation
Внутренние войска Министерства внутренних дел
Vnutrenniye Voiska Ministerstva Vnutrennikh Del
Emblem of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Emblem of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Internal Troops of Russia[1]
Flag of Internal Troops of Russia
Flag of Internal Troops: a 2:3 white flag with rose madder cross pattée and emblem of Internal Troops in the center of it[2]
Common nameInternal Troops
Agency overview
FormedMarch 27, 1811
DissolvedApril 5, 2016
Superseding agencyNational Guard
Employees182,000 in 2012[3]
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agencyRussia
Operations jurisdictionRussia
Governing bodyMinistry of Internal Affairs
General nature

  • Nikolay Rogozhkin, Commander
  • March 27


Internal Troops of the Russian Empire

The organisation was formed in 1811, & was later evolved to the Special Corps of Gendarmes

Internal troops Russia
A group of Internal Troops of the MVD RF in 2007

Internal Troops in the USSR

The modern Internal Troops were raised by the All-Russian Central Execuitive Committee as part of the NKVD in 1918, and was reorganized in 1919 unto the Internal Security Forces (Voyska vnutrenney okhrany Respubliki, VOHR). In 1919, these were transferred to the Cheka and in 1922-23 into the OGPU.

On 28 July 1988, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued a decree “On duties and rights of the Internal Troops of the USSR MVD when safeguarding public order”, clarifying its role in the cracking USSR.[4] However, the Internal Troops were still a part of the Soviet Armed Forces and this state of affairs pleased no one. The Armed Forces did not want to be seen as a force of internal suppression, especially after the disastrous Afghan War. The MVD was finding itself having to extinguish increasingly frequent and violent hot spots and to cope with growing and increasingly well organised and equipped criminals. For this the MVD needed more fire power. On 21 March 1989, the Presidium decided to take the Internal Troops out of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense[5] and give them to the Internal Affairs Ministry.

In 1990, the establishment of the RSFSR MVD meant that the Internal Troops in the SFSR were now subordinated to the republican ministry.

With the April 2016 foundation of the National Guard, the Internal Troops became the National Guard Forces (Войска национальной гвардии, Voyska Natsionalnoy Gvardi) and now report directly to the Security Council and its chairman, the President of Russia, and thus removed from the MVD proper.

Legal basis

Internal Troops of the Ministry for Internal Affairs (Russia) (494-20)
A VV MVD RF serviceman in 2012

The Federal Law No.27-173 was signed into law on 6 February 1997. The law set the operational standards for the Internal Troops of the Russian Federation. The law is entitled "On the Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs Internal Troops".[6] When supporting a state-of-emergency regime, Internal Troops were paid salary increases and additional monetary payments according to federal laws and other legal acts approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs. Article 38 granted senior operational commanders the right to call in subunits of special motorized formations and military units outside their deployment areas for a period of up to one month.

The federal law also detailed the important role that the Russian Ministry of Defense played in the affairs of the MVD's Internal Troops when crises arose. For example, MOD was responsible for providing airliners for supporting Internal Troop activities during emergency situations, and conditions of armed conflicts; carrying out the stockpiling and echelon armaments and military equipment, ammunition, fuel and supplies for the mobilization deployment of the Internal Troops in wartime; and transferring arms and military equipment free of charge to the Internal Troops through support services based on special decisions of the federal government, and rendering assistance in the repair and restoration of damaged arms and military equipment.

General organisation

Interpolitex 2012 (476-3)
An elite group of Vityaz special forces personnel during a public show in 2012

Despite being subordinated to civilian MVD authority, Internal Troops were a paramilitary force with centralized system of ranks, command and service. The Chief Commander and Staff of the troops reported only to Ministry of Internal Affairs, maintaining their separate chain of command. The Chief Commander was concurrently First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs. VV units in the Soviet Union were predominantly formed up of conscripts drafted by the same system as for the Soviet Army. Modern Internal Troops in Russia, as in Ukraine, experienced a slow transition to the contract personnel system. VV officers were trained in both own special academies and the Army's military academies.

The main kinds of Internal Troops were field units, various facility-guarding units, special motorized units, riot control and patrol units, and special forces like Rus. Since the 1980s, spetsnaz units were created within the VV to deal with terrorism and hostage crises. Fields units were essentially light motorized infantry, similar to respective regular army units by their organization and weapons. They and the special forces have been heavily engaged in the armed conflicts in Chechnya and the broader North Caucasus.

Districts and formations

Internal troops special units counter-terror tactical exercises (12)
The VV 33rd Special Purpose Unit "Peresvet" during a training exercise in 2013

The organization of the Russian Internal Troops comprised headquarters, military units, military training institutions and the institutions for Internal Troops activities, and maintenance and administration bodies. The largest units were located in all major cities.[7]

Internal Troops districts:

  • Northwestern District
  • Moscow Orshansko-Hingansky Order of the Red Banner District
  • North Caucasus District
  • Privolzhsky District
  • Ural District
  • Siberian District
  • Eastern District

Military units under direct subordination:

  • A separate rapid deployment division (ODON). This formation, also known as the Dzerzhinsky Division and based near Moscow, was the most well-known formation of the Internal Troops.
  • The Central Communications
  • Engineering Center
  • Intelligence Directorate Internal Troops under the Intelligence Chief-Deputy Chief of Staff of the Internal Troops.


Internal troops special units counter-terror tactical exercises (03)
A ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun crew of VV special forces during an exercise in 2013


Internal troops ABS-40 riot control vehicle
Internal troops ABS-40 "Lavina" riot control water cannon on BAZ-6953 chassis.

Internal Troops' equipment included:



Shoulder patches


Ministry of Internal Affairs
VV (2005)

Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Internal Troops High Command
Moscow district

Moscow District
NW dist

North-West District
North caucasian dist

North Caucasian District
Volga district

Volga District
Ural district

Ural District
Siberian dist

Siberian District
Eastern dist

Eastern District
Internal security forces, military Colleges

Internal Security and Military Colleges
Separate division operational use

Separate Rapid Deployment Division (ODON)
Management protection of important public facilities and special cargo

Management of the Protection of Important Public Facilities and Special Cargo

See also


  1. ^ "Указ Президента Российской Федерации от 10.11.1998 г. № 1333 "Об учреждении геральдического знака — эмблемы органов внутренних дел Российской Федерации и внутренних войск Министерства внутренних дел Российской Федерации"". Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  2. ^ "Указ Президента Российской Федерации от 31.12.2015 г. № 687 "Об учреждении флага внутренних войск Министерства внутренних дел Российской Федерации"" (PDF) (in Russian). Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  3. ^ Национальная гвардия Владимира Путина — На базе подразделений МЧС, Внутренних войск, ВДВ и военной полиции может появиться новая силовая структураArchived July 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Organy I Voyska MVD Rossiiy, MVD Moskva 1996, p461.
  5. ^ Organy I Voyska MVD Rossiiy, MVD Moskva 1996, p.332
  6. ^ 'Rossiiskaya Federatsiya Federal'ni Zakon o vnutrennikh voiskakh Ministerstva vnutrennikh del Rossiiskoi Federatsii' of 25 December 1996.
  7. ^ Neil Baumgardner, Russian Armed Forces Order of Battle, see bottom of page.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website

Further reading

External links


The AEK-999 Barsuk (Russian: Барсук, "badger") is a Russian machine gun chambered for the 7.62×54mmR round. It is a general-purpose machine gun, developed during the 1990s as a modernized version of the PKM to improve its capabilities in the LMG/SAW role. The AEK-999 was to be capable of sustained automatic fire without requiring a quick-change barrel, and better suited for assault operations where it could be fired from the hip or from the integral bipod.

The AEK-999 was developed by the Kovrov Mechanical Plant for the Russian Armed Forces, but lost in military trials to the Pecheneg machine gun which was developed under the same requirements. Kovrov produced small batches of the AEK-999 for the Ministry of Internal Affairs to equip special forces units of the Internal Troops of Russia, but all military production ceased in 2006.

Anatoly Romanov

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Awards of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia

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Berkut (special police force)

The Berkut (Ukrainian: Бе́ркут, "golden eagle"; Russian: Бе́ркут, Byerkut) was the Ukrainian system of special police (riot police) of the Ukrainian Militsiya within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The agency was formed in 1992, shortly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as the successor to the Ukrainian SSR's OMON.

Initially specialized in fighting organized crime, Berkut transitioned into a gendarmarie used by the Ukrainian Militsiya for public security, operating semi-autonomously at the local or regional level, and the term "Berkut" came to be used for any professional special police unit in Ukraine. Following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Berkut has a history of illegal activities against Ukrainian citizens, such as racketeering, terrorism, physical violence, torture, anti-Ukrainian sentiment, voter intimidation against those who would elect non-Yanukovych candidates, and violence against protesters during Euromaidan and the Orange Revolution. Berkut also became demonstratively the unit that betrayed its oath of allegiance and sided with the Russian forces contributing to the Russian annexation of Crimea.

The new government held Berkut responsible for most of the Heavenly Hundred civilian deaths, and acting Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov signed a decree that dissolved the agency, which was replaced with the National Guard of Ukraine.In March 2014, Berkut units stationed in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol defected to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs during the annexation of Crimea by Russia, after the territories were approved as federal subjects.A Berkut effectively became an agency of Russia when units were allowed to preserve their old name, and now serve within the National Guard of Russia as the gendarmerie for Crimea.

Internal Troops

The Internal Troops, full name Internal Troops of the Ministry for Internal Affairs (MVD) (Russian: Внутренние войска Министерства внутренних дел, Vnutrenniye Voiska Ministerstva Vnutrennikh Del; abbreviated ВВ, VV), alternatively translated as "Interior (Troops or Forces)", is a paramilitary gendarmerie-like force in the now-defunct Soviet Union and in some of its successor countries, including in Russia (until 2016), Ukraine (until 2014), Georgia (until 2004), Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan (until 2014), Internal Troops of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Internal Troops are subordinated to the interior ministries of the respective countries.

They were designed to be used to support and reinforce the Militsiya, deal with large-scale crowd control, internal armed conflicts, prison security (except in Russia) and safeguarding of highly-important facilities (like nuclear power plants). As such, the force was and is involved in the various conflicts and violent disturbances in the history of the Soviet Union and modern Russia, including the Russian Civil War, World War II, mass repressions of Stalinist era, and the Chechen Wars. During wartime, the Internal Troops falls under armed forces military command and fulfill the missions of local defence and rear area security.

Internal Troops of Ukraine

The Internal Troops of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Внутрішні війська України, Vnutrishni Viys'ka Ukrayiny - Interior forces of Ukraine; abbreviated ВВ, VV) were an uniformed gendarmerie in Ukraine which merged with the National Guard of Ukraine on March 13, 2014. They were subordinate to the Chief Directorate of Ministry of Internal Affairs (the country's civilian police authority), and cooperate with the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. The VV were used to assist militsiya in policing, deal with riots and internal armed conflicts, and safeguard important facilities such as nuclear power plants. In wartime, the Internal Troops were under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian armed forces for local defense and rear area security.

The Internal Troops had similar personnel, bases, equipment and traditions as the Soviet Internal Troops. Soviet VV units in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic during the dissolution of the Soviet Union were moved to the jurisdiction of newly-independent Ukraine. However, Ukrainian VV troops were not a direct successor of the Soviet Internal Troops (unlike the Internal Troops of Russia) and their structure and tasks had been reformed. As of 2008, the Internal Troops of Ukraine numbered about 33,000. They were involved in the 2013 Euromaidan revolution, defending the Presidential Administration Building in Kiev.

Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine issued a decree on 13 March 2014 which transferred the powers of the Internal Troops to the restored National Guard of Ukraine.


The KS-23 is a Russian shotgun, although because it uses a rifled barrel it is officially designated by the Russian military as a carbine. KS stands for Karabin Spetsialniy, "Special Carbine". It is renowned for its large caliber, firing a 23 mm round, equating to 6.27 gauge using the British and American standards of shotgun gauges and approximately 4 gauge using the current European standards (based on the metric CIP tables), making it the largest-bore shotgun in use today.

List of gendarmeries

A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military component with jurisdiction in civil law enforcement. The term maréchaussée (or marshalcy) may also be used (e.g., Royal Marechaussee) but is now uncommon.

Although pioneered in France, the concept of a gendarmerie was adopted by several other European nations during the Napoleonic Wars. It remains an integral part of the military establishment in most Francophone states and territories. A somewhat related phenomenon has been the formation of paramilitary units which fall under the authority of civilian police agencies. Since these are not strictly military forces, however, they are not considered gendarmerie.

Mil Mi-24

The Mil Mi-24 (Russian: Миль Ми-24; NATO reporting name: Hind) is a large helicopter gunship, attack helicopter and low-capacity troop transport with room for eight passengers. It is produced by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and has been operated since 1972 by the Soviet Air Force and its successors, along with more than 30 other nations.

In NATO circles, the export versions, Mi-25 and Mi-35, are denoted with a letter suffix as "Hind D" and "Hind E". Soviet pilots called the Mi-24 the "flying tank" (летающий танк; letayushchiy tank), a term used historically with the famous World War II Soviet Il-2 Shturmovik armored ground attack aircraft. More common unofficial nicknames were "Galina" (or "Galya"), "Crocodile" (Крокодил; Krokodil), due to the helicopter's camouflage scheme and "Drinking Glass" (Стакан; Stakan), because of the flat glass plates that surround earlier Mi-24 variants' cockpits.

National Guard Forces Command

The National Guard Forces Command of the Russian Federation (Russian: Войска национальной гвардии Российской Федерации, Voyska Natsionalnoy Gvardi Rossiyskoi Federatsii) is the gendarmerie component of the National Guard of Russia, created through a presidential decree on April 5, 2016. It is a gendarmerie organized on paramilitary lines with its mission to ensure public order, national security and defense against terrorism.

It is the successor of the Special Corps of Gendarmes and the Internal Troops of Russia.

National Guard Naval Service Corps

The National Guard Naval Service Corps (Морские части Войск Национальной Гвардии России, Morskiye Chasti Voysk Natsional'noy Gvardii Rossii) is the naval service, water police and coast guard branch of the National Guard Forces Command, National Guard of Russia. Formerly the Naval Service of the Internal Troops of Russia, it was established in 1978 through the fulfillment of a 1976 resolution of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and a 1978 decree of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union.

National Guard of Russia

The National Guard of the Russian Federation or Rosgvardia (Russian: Федеральная служба войск национальной гвардии Российской Федерации, lit. Federal National Guard Troops Service of the Russian Federation) is the internal military force of the Russian government, comprising an independent agency that reports directly to the Russian president under his powers as Supreme Commander-in-Chief and Chairman of the Security Council. The National Guard is separate from the Russian Armed Forces. The federal executive body was established in 2016 by a law signed by President Vladimir Putin. Its stated mission is to secure borders, take charge of gun control, combat terrorism, organized crime, protect public order and guard important state facilities.The establishment of the National Guard is seen as an effort to enhance efficiency and avoid duplication of responsibilities within the Russian security system. The National Guard numbers approx. 340,000 personnel in 84 units across Russia and consolidated the forces of the MVD Internal Troops, SOBR, OMON and other internal military forces outside of the Russian Armed Forces.On 16 January 2017, the National Guard Day is designated to be marked on 27 March, linking the National Guard to a long history of public security services within Russia, that day being the date when the Internal Guards Corps was established in 1811, by a decree of Tsar Alexander I.

OTs-12 Tiss

OTs-12 Tiss ("Yew Tree") (Russian:ОЦ-12 Тисс) is a Russian fully automatic compact assault rifle. It is chambered for the subsonic 9x39mm round primarily made for police forces.

The rifle was developed in the early 1990s in TsKIB SOO of Tula designers VN Telesh and Yu.V.Lebedevym. It is basically an AKS-74U re-chambered for 9×39mm, it was designed as alternative to the AKS-74U. The TsKIB COO of Tula made several hundred of OTs-12s, which were transferred to the Interior Ministry security forces. Despite the good evaluation, the Tula Arms Plant did not establish a mass-production. They instead opted for a bullpup configuration known as OTs-14 Groza which became its successor.

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The subsonic round showed superior penetration of cover at short and medium ranges (200–300 m) when compared to the 5.45x39mm. Still, the OTs-12 did not go into mass-production and was discontinued later that same year.

Rus (special forces)

Rus' (Russian: Русь) was one of the special forces (spetsnaz) units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (MVD). Rus belonged to the Independent Operative Purpose Division (ODON) rapid deployment division of the Internal Troops of Russia, the gendarmerie force of the MVD, and was assigned primarily to counter-terrorism duties.

Rus was created on August 1, 1994, and traced its roots from the 4th Battalion of the Soviet OMSBON, the Independent Motorized Infantry Battalion of Special Purpose, later renamed ODON. The dedicated role of the Rus unit was counter-terrorism and direct action in times of crisis, but actively participated in military and paramilitary operations in Chechnya and the broader North Caucasus region along with other MVD units, such as Vityaz. Rus participated in numerous notable incidents in Russia, including in the Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis and the Kizlyar-Pervomayskoye hostage crisis.

On July 1, 2005, an entire platoon of Rus commandos in Makhachkala, Dagestan, was eliminated by a roadside bombing attack while participating in the Guerrilla phase of the Second Chechen War.

On September 1, 2008, Rus and Vityaz were formally deactivated and merged into a single unit, the 604th Special Purpose Center, under the direct command of ODON (formerly OMSDON). On 5 April, 2016, the National Guard of Russia was established, resulting in the dissolution of the Interior Troops of Russia and the transfer of command of most armed forces under the MVD to the National Guard.

Russian Armed Forces

The Russian Armed Forces (Russian: Вооружённые Си́лы Росси́йской Федера́ции, tr. Vooruzhonnije Síly Rossíyskoj Federátsii) are the military forces of the Russian Federation, established after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On 7 May 1992, Boris Yeltsin signed a presidential decree establishing the Russian Ministry of Defence and placing all Soviet Armed Forces troops on the territory of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic under Russian control. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is the President of Russia. The Russian Armed Forces were formed in 1992. The Russian Armed Forces is one of the world's largest military forces. It is also the world's second most powerful military and the world's second largest arms exporter.Under Russian federal law, the RuAF along with the Federal Security Service (FSB)'s Border Troops, the National Guard, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), the Federal Protective Service (FSO), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and EMERCOM's civil defence form Russia's military services and are under direct control of the Security Council of Russia.


The Special Rapid Response Unit or SOBR (Russian: СОБР - Специальный Отряд Быстрого Реагирования, Spetsial'niy Otryad Bystrovo Reagirovaniya, lit. Special Unit [with/for a] Quick Reaction), from 2002 to 2011 known as OMSN (Otryad Militsii Spetsial'nogo Naznacheniya, Special Police Unit), is a spetsnaz unit of the National Guard of Russia.

Due to the military nature of their equipment, overalls and training, the OMON and SOBR constitute a rapid-reaction and rapid-insertion military force available to the regular police, normally to be employed at a police’s local command discretion.SOBR also continues to exist in many post-Soviet countries such as Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.

Viktor Zolotov

Viktor Vasilyevich Zolotov (Russian: Виктор Васильевич Золотов, born 27 January 1954), is the current Director of the National Guard of Russia (Rosgvardiya) and a member of the Security Council of Russia.

Vityaz (MVD)

The 1st Special Purpose Unit of the Internal Forces "Vityaz" (Russian: 1-й Oтряд специального назначения Внутренних войск «Витязь»), commonly known as Vityaz (Витязь, lit. Knight), was one of the special forces (spetsnaz) units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (MVD). Vityaz belonged to the Independent Operative Purpose Division (ODON) rapid deployment division of the Internal Troops of Russia, the gendarmerie force of the MVD, and was assigned specifically to counter-terrorism duties, with additional roles such as countering civil unrest, prison rebellions, and mutinies of regular army units.

On September 1, 2008, Vityaz was deactivated and merged with Rus into the 604th Special Operations Center, a single special forces unit of ODON. On 5 April, 2016, ODON became part of the National Guard of Russia following the dissolution of the Interior Troops and the transfer of command from the MVD. The Vityaz name and logo is now used by a private security firm.

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