The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (Russian: Вооружённые Си́лы Росси́йской Федера́ции, tr. Vooruzhonnije Síly Rossíyskoj Federátsii) are the military service of Russia, 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 SFSR under Russian control. The commander-in-chief of the armed forces is the president of Russia. Although the Russian armed forces were formed in 1992, the Russian military dates its roots back to the times of the Kievan Rus’.
Armed forces under the Ministry of Defence are divided into:
the three “branches of Armed Forces” (вида вооружённых сил): the Ground Force, Aerospace Forces, and the Navy
the two “separate troop branches” (Отдельные рода войск): the Strategic Missile Troops and the Airborne Troops
the Rear of the Armed Forces, which has a separate status of its own
There are additionally two further “separate troop branches” maintained by the Ministry of the Interior, the Internal Troops and the Border Service. These are not normally included as branches of the “Armed Forces” but are nonetheless used in armed conflicts.
The number of personnel is specified by decree of the President of Russia. On 1 January 2008, a number of 2,019,629 units, including military of 1,134,800 units, was set. In 2010 the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimated that the Russian Armed Forces numbered about 1,027,000 active troops and in the region of 2,035,000 reserves (largely ex-conscripts). As opposed to personnel specified by decree, actual personnel in the forces and paid was reported by the Audit Chamber of Russia as 766,000 in October 2013. As of December 2013, the armed forces are at 82 percent of the required manpower.
According to SIPRI, Russia spent nearly $72 billion on arms in 2011. Russia is planning further increases in its military spending, with draft budgets showing a 53% rise in real terms up to 2014. Between the years 2005-2009 and 2010-2014, Russian exports of major weapons increased by 37 percent according to SIPRI. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, share of modern weapons in the Armed Forces reached from 26 to 48% among different kinds of troops in December 2014. This was raised to 30.5–70.7% as of July 2015.
The Soviet Union officially dissolved on 31 December 1991, leaving the Soviet military in limbo. For the next year and a half various attempts to keep its unity and to transform it into the military of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) failed. Over time, some units stationed in the newly independent republics swore loyalty to their new national governments, while a series of treaties between the newly independent states divided up the military’s assets.
Apart from assuming control of the bulk of the former Soviet Internal Troops and the KGB Border Troops, seemingly the only independent defence move the new Russian government made before March 1992 involved announcing the establishment of a National Guard. Until 1995, it was planned to form at least 11 brigades numbering 3,000 to 5,000 each, a total of no more than 100,000. National Guard military units were to be deployed in 10 regions, including in Moscow (three brigades), Leningrad (two brigades), and a number of other important cities and regions. By the end of September 1991 in Moscow the National Guard was about 15,000 strong, mostly consisting of former Soviet Armed Forces servicemen. In the end, President Yeltsin tabled a decree “On the temporary position of the Russian Guard”, but it was not put into practice.
After signing the Belavezha Accords on 21 December 1991, the countries of the newly formed CIS signed a protocol on the temporary appointment of Marshal of Aviation Yevgeny Shaposhnikov as Minister of Defence and commander of the armed forces in their territory, including strategic nuclear forces. On 14 February 1992 Shaposhnikov formally became Supreme Commander of the CIS Armed Forces. On 16 March 1992 a decree by Boris Yeltsin created The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation the operational control of Allied High Command and the Ministry of Defense, which was headed by President. Finally, on 7 May 1992 Yeltsin signed a decree establishing the armed forces and Yeltsin assumed the duties of the Supreme Commander.
In May 1992 General Colonel Pavel Grachev became the Minister of Defence, and was made Russia’s first Army General on assuming the post. By August or December 1993 CIS military structures had become CIS military cooperation structures with all real influence lost.
In the next few years, Russian forces withdrew from central and eastern Europe, as well as from some newly-independent post-Soviet republics.