Leningrad Military District

The Leningrad Military District is a military district of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. As the Russian Military of Defence site officially states, it traces its history from the Petersburg Military District of Imperial Russia. When the USSR dissolved, there was very little effective change for the LMD, though in the following years reductions and formation moves took place.

Presidential Decree 900 dated July 27, 1998 gave the District's composition as the Republic of Karelia, the Komi Republic, Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Leningrad, Murmansk, Novgorod, and Pskov oblasts, Saint Petersburg, and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug. General Colonel Valerii Gerasimov has commanded the District since December 2007.


The Petersburg Military District was originally created in August 1864 following Order B-228 of the Defence Minister of the Russian Empire. The order, signed on 10 (22) August established that "for local control of the Ground Armed Forces and military establishments, are formed… Military-regional administrations in the following ten military districts" of which one was Petersburg. The District’s forces gained combat experience in the Russo-Turkish (1877-1878) and Russo-Japanese (1904-05) wars.

By a decision of Emperor Nicholas II on 24 August 1908, the names of units and establishments within the District were changed to Petrograd.

The Leningrad Military District was originally formed as the Petrograd Military District after the October Revolution of 1917 up to the beginning of the formation of the Red Army. The Petrograd District was established as a part of the RKKA by order в„– 71 of the Highest Military Council of 6 September, 1918. On 1 February, 1924, by the order в„– 126 the Revolutionary Military Councils of the USSR the Petrograd military district was renamed the Leningrad military district. Markian Popov was appointed District Commander in 1939. Its main purpose was the defence of the Kola Peninsula and the northern shores of the Gulf of Finland. On the right flank it bordered with the Arkhangelsk MD, on the left — with the Baltic MD. Among the defensive works started in the 1930s to protect the frontiers was the Karelian Fortified Region.

The Soviet-Finnish War of 1939-40 prompted a close examination of the combat maturity of the District’s troops, and for the better control of the 7th and 13th Armies the North-Western Front was formed from the staff of the District on 7 January 1940. Three and a half months later the Front was dissolved back into the District headquarters. On 22 June 1941 the District comprised:
*7th Army
*14th Army
*23rd Army
*1st Mechanised Corps (-)
*three other infantry divisions
*four fortified regions
*air forces
*other formations and units

Two days after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, on 24 June 1941, the District was reorganised as the Northern Front, and two months later, on 23 August 1941, it was split into the Leningrad and Karelian Fronts. The Front’s forces heroic efforts played a major part in resisting the German attacks during the Siege of Leningrad.

By the joint efforts of troops of the Leningrad Front, Volkhov Front, and the 2nd Baltic Front during January 1944 the enemy was routed from the environs of Leningrad and Novgorod, during the Battle of Narva. Pressing home the attack, the forces of the Leningrad Front in summer and in the fall of 1944 helped to liberate Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from the Germans. The Front was reorganized under the Leningrad District into a peacetime status on 9 July 1945. Marshall Leonid Govorov took command shortly afterwards.

General, later Marshal, Sergei Sokolov assumed command in 1965. On 22 February 1968, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Army and for its successes in combat and in political training, the District was awarded the Order of Lenin. Marshal Sokolov later became the Minister of Defence in 1984.

In 1979, Scott and Scott reported the headquarters address as Leningrad, L-13, Pod'ezdnoy Per., Dom 4.

Commanders 1945-91

*Marshal of the Soviet Union, Leonid Govorov (July 1945 - April 1946)
*Lieutenant General, Dmitry Gusev (April 1946 - 1949),
*Lieutenant General, Alexander Luchinski (1949 - May 1953)
*General of the Army, Matvei Zakharov (May 1953 - October 1957)
*General of the Army, Nikolay Krylov (January 1958 - October 1960)
*General of the Army, Mikhail Kazakov (October 1960 - October 1965)
*Lieutenant General, Sergei Sokolov (October 1965 - April 1967)
*Lieutenant General, Ivan Shavrov (May 1967 - January 1973)
*Lieutenant General, Anatoly Gribkov (February 1973 - September 1976)
* M. Sorokin (October 1976 - October 1981)
*General of the Army - E. Snetkov (November 1981 - December 1987)
* V. Ermakov (December 1987 - December 1991)

Post-Cold War

The fall of the Soviet Union caused much reassessment of the Russian Federation’s military situation. Economic constraints have greatly hampered military effectiveness. However since 1992 many formations and units of the District have participated in local conflicts and peace-keeping missions, especially in the North Caucasus.

In early December 1997, President Boris Yeltsin said in Sweden that Russia would make unilateral reductions to forces in the northwest, which included the Leningrad Military District. He promised that land and naval units would be reduced by 40 per cent by January 1999. In May 1999, when Russian defense minister Marshal Igor Sergeyev confirmed that the cuts had taken place, Sergeyev said that the personnel of the Leningrad Military District had been drawn down by 52 per cent. In terms of formations, the series of disbandments left the district almost unrecognisable. The 6th Army’s staff at Petrozavodsk, the staff of the 30th Guards Army Corps, and all five motor rifle divisions previously in the district disbanded. Left in their place were a number of weapons and equipment storage sites, and two motor rifle brigades.

In terms of air forces, after the collapse of the Soviet Union the 76th Army of the Soviet Air Forces and the 6th Air Army of the Voyska PVO, the Soviet Air Defence Forces, were left operating in the district. The two forces were merged as the 6th Army of VVS and PVO in 1998. [Piotr Butowski, 'Russia's new air force enters a tight manoeuvre,' Jane's Intelligence Review, May 1999, p.18]

Formations and units of the District now include:
*138th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade, Kamenka
*200th Motor Rifle Brigade, Pechenga
*2nd Spetsnaz Brigade, Promezhits (Pskov)
*56th District Training Centre, Sertolovo
*23rd Base for Storage of Weapons & Equipment (Lakhdenpokhya-Sortavala) (ex 111th Motor Rifle Division)
*25th Base for Storage of Weapons & Equipment (Vladimirskiy Pager)(former motor rifle brigade & regiment of 3 Guards Motor Rifle Division in Baltic Military District)
*30th Base for Storage of Weapons & Equipment (Petrozavodsk)(former motor rifle brigade)
*36th Base for Storage of Weapons & Equipment (former motor rifle division)The Airborne Forces' 76th Air Assault Division is also based within the district's boundaries, at Pskov. According to Soldat.ru online forum conversation in August 2007, as from 1 December 2006 the 35th Base for Storage of Weapons & Equipment, a former motor rifle division, at Alakurtti, was disbanded. [ [http://www.soldat.ru/forum/?gb=3&id=43308 Форум ] ]

References and sources

*Russian official site at www.mil.ru
*James Meek and David Fairhall, ‘Yeltsin Slashes Baltic Force’, The Guardian, Dec. 4, 1997
*Interfax, ‘Defense Minister Segeyev gives details of cuts to northwest forces’, May 6, 1999
*Andrew Duncan, Jane's Intelligence Review article, 1996
*Scott and Scott, The Armed Forces of the USSR, Eastview, 1979
*http://orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/41_oob/leningrad/_leningrad.html - Order of Battle 22 June 1941
*See Also - [http://warfare.ru/?linkid=2225&catid=321 Leningrad MD at Warfare.ru]

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