Internal Troops (Russia)

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") is a paramilitary national guard like force in the now-defunct Soviet Union and its successor countries, particularly, in Russia and Ukraine. Internal Troops are subordinated to Internal Affairs Ministries (police) of the respective countries. They are used to support and reinforce the Militsiya, deal with large-scale riots, internal armed conflicts, prison security (except in Russia) and safeguarding of highly-important facilities (like nuclear power plants). As such, the force is involved in all conflicts and violent disturbances in the history of Soviet Union and modern Russia, including and Chechen wars.

During wartime, the Internal Troops fall under Armed Forces military command and fulfill the missions of local defence and rear area security.

General organization

Despite being subordinated to a civilian "militsiya" authority, Internal Troops are a military 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. VV units in Soviet Union were predominantly formed up of conscripts drafted by the same system as for the Soviet Army. Modern Troops in Russia and Ukraine are experiencing 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, prison security units, various facility-guarding units, Special Motorized Units - riot control and patrol units which use Militia uniforms and special forces like Rus. Since the 1980s, the several special forces units that developed within the VV, were created 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.

Soviet prison security units (Russian: "конвойные войска, konvoynyie voyska"; criminal slang: "vertuhai") were originally consisting of the units that guard the perimeters of the prisons, and the prisoner transport teams (actually "konvoi", literally "convoy"). In post-Soviet countries, some or all of the prison-related tasks were transferred to other agencies.

Currently, the primary role of the Russian Internal Troops is their large-scale participation in the Second Chechen War.


The Organization of the Russian Internal Troops comprises Internal troop Commands, Formations, Military Units, Military Training Institutions and the Institutions for Internal Troops Activities, Maintenance, and Bodies of Internal Troops Administration. The largest units are the divisions and the units that are located in all major cities. [Neil Baumgardner, [ Russian Armed Forces Order of Battle] , see bottom of page.]

* 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 placement division (DAWN) or (ODON)
* The Central Communications
* Engineering Center
* special military detachments - There are believed to be at least 16 OSNAZ detachments, with Vityaz and Rus are under national command while the districts have their own units. Plus the Intelligence Directorate Internal Troops under the Intelligence Chief-Deputy Chief of Staff of the Internal Troops - for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering.The former Felix Dzerzhinsky Division, now the 1st VV Special Designation Division, based in Moscow, is the most well known formation of the Internal Troops.


Strength has also fluctuated and was about 350,000 at its height. Currently at 200,000 it consists of both two year conscripts and volunteers. It officers graduated from at least four schools. Rumors abound of an officer shortage since 1998.


* National Defence - conducts rear area security operations and all military operations within national borders, counter-intelligence authority in wartime.
* Security - 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.
* Counter-terrorist operations (VV Special Forces units such as Rus)
* Military police functions
* Public Order - Assist the "militsiya" for riot control operations when OMON units are not available.
* Prisoner Transport - In Soviet times, also guarded and operated the Gulag. Today: convict convoyage and transport.
* Possible counterweight to the military, especially during the Soviet era, when allegedly units of Division size existed till the fall.
* Border control - to assist the Russian Federal Border Service in the protection of the State border of the Russian Federation.


The Internal troops are trained as Military police with Motorized rifle and crowd control techniques.




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