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 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation
Внутренние войска Министерства внутренних дел
Vnutrenniye Voiska Ministerstva Vnutrennikh Del
Emblem of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Internal Troops of Russia[1]
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 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 Russian Empire

The Internal Troops in the Russian Empire were known as the Special Corps of Gendarmes and were formed in 1811. Being the Imperial Russian Army's uniformed security police agency, It was responsible for law enforcement and state security for most of the 19th century and a small part of the 20th century. It fell under the command of the Ministry of Police of the Russian Empire and the Guberniya. The Okhrana and the Third Section of His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery were also security forces that served as the early form of the modern Internal Troops.

Internal Troops of 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.

=== Russian Internal Troops 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.

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

Despite being subordinated to civilian MVD authority, Internal Troops were a paramilitary force with a 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

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' equipment included:



  • A wide variety of Soviet- and Russian-made small arms and crew-served weapons.

Shoulder patches

Ministry of Internal Affairs

Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Internal Troops High Command

Moscow District

North-West District

North Caucasian District

Volga District

Ural District

Siberian District

Eastern District

Internal Security and Military Colleges

Separate Rapid Deployment Division (ODON)

Management of the Protection of Important Public Facilities and Special Cargo

See also


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

Further reading

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