Internal Troops of Russia

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Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation
Внутренние войска Министерства внутренних дел
Vnutrenniye Voiska Ministerstva Vnutrennikh Del
Common name Internal Troops
Emblem of Interior Troops of Russia BB MVD.gif
Emblem of Internal Troops
Flag vv enl.jpg
Flag of Internal Troops
Agency overview
Formed March 27, 1811
Employees 182,000 in 2012[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency Russia
Governing body Ministry of Internal Affairs (Russia)
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Moscow

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), is a gendarmerie-like paramilitary force of the federal government in Russia.

Internal Troops support and reinforce the Politsiya, deal with large-scale riots, internal armed conflicts and safeguarding of highly-important facilities (like nuclear power plants). As such, the service has been involved in all conflicts and violent disturbances in modern Russia, including and First and Second Chechen Wars. Internal Troops fall under Armed Forces military command during wartime and fulfill the missions of local defence and rear area security.

Internal Troops consists of both volunteers and conscripts and hence the number of active service members keeps fluctuating. Currently, it has less than 200,000 active members and has shortage of officers since year 1998. Its strength has plunged to this level from the peak strength of 350,000 active members. As 12 May 2014, the commander of the Russian Internal Troops is Colonel General Viktor Zolotov.


A group of Internal Troops of the MVD RF in 2007

The MVD Internal Troops of Russia trace their lineage and heritages from the Internal Guards Gendarme units, established in 1811 and tasked with public security, rear area defense and police duties, and the Gendarmerie Regiment of the Imperial Russian Army, raised in 1815 with the re-designation of the Borisoglebsk Dragoon Regiment which served proudly and with distinction in Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, and successor to similar units raised in the past, aside from existing units established during the reign of Peter the Great. By 1817, the IG units and the Gendarmerie evolved into a national organization with units all over the Empire, and with the growing power and duties of the IG, the office of Chief of Gendarmes, tasked to manage the organization, was created in 1826, and the Gendarmerie units nationwide were in 1827 integrated into the new Special Corps of Gendarmes, with its organization always changing as per regulations made in 1836-37.

Legal basis

A VV MVD RF serviceman in 2012

General organisation

An elite group of Vityaz special forces personnel during a public show in 2012

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

The main kinds of Internal Troops are field units, various facility-guarding units, special motorized units, riot control and patrol units, and special forces like Rus. Since the 1980s, the several spetsnaz (special purpose) units were created within the VV to deal with terrorism and hostage crises. Fields units are 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 VV 33rd Special Purpose Unit "Peresvet" during a training exercise in 2013

The organization of the Russian Internal Troops comprises headquarters, military units, military training institutions and the institutions for Internal Troops activities, and maintenance and administration bodies. The largest units are located in all major cities.[2]

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, is 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.


A ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun crew of VV special forces during an exercise in 2013
  • Security - to guard "key" state institutions (except for the Kremlin and the highest echelons of the government which are guarded by the Federal Protective Service (FSO)), nuclear facilities, special storage depots and military bases.
  • National defence - to conduct rear area security operations and all military operations within national borders, counter-intelligence authority in wartime.
  • Prisoner transport - in Soviet times, also guarded and operated the Gulag camps. Today: convict convoyage and transport. Security and operation of prisons have been performed by the Federal Penitentiary Service since its creation in 1994.
  • Public order - to assist the Russian Police for riot control operations when OMON units are not available.
  • Border control - to assist the Russian Federal Border Service in the protection of the State border of the Russian Federation.
  • Military police functions.
  • Counter-terrorist operations (VV special forces units such as Vityaz and Rus).
  • Possible counterweight to the regular military, especially during the Soviet era.


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

Internal Troops' equipment includes:

Shoulder patches

Ministry of Internal Affairs

Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Internal Troops High Command
Moscow district.jpg

Moscow District
NW dist.jpg

North-West District
North caucasian dist.jpg

North Caucasian District
Volga district.jpg

Volga District
Ural district.jpg

Ural District
Siberian dist.jpg

Siberian District
Eastern dist.jpg

Eastern District
Internal security forces, military Colleges.jpg

Internal Security and Military Colleges

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

Management of the Protection of Important Public Facilities and Special Cargo

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

Further reading

External links