THE RUSSIAN LAND FORCE’S HISTORY
Нistory of the Land Force (LF) of Russia began on 1 October 1550. On this day, Tsar Ivan the Terrible issued the Decree "On arrangement in the Moscow and surrounding districts of the selected thousand of noblemen ", according to which the Streltsy regiments ("firing infantry") and the constant Guard Service were created, as well as the "unit” of artillery became a self-containing Arm. In addition, Ivan the Terrible streamlined the system of recruitment for the local troops, established permanent being in service in the peacetime and wartime, organised the centralised administration over the Land Force and its supplies. Thus the first permanent host of the Russian state, which took signs of the regular army, was established.
To commemorate this event of the Russian military history the Presidential Decree of 31May 2006 № 549 installed a memorable date – the Day of the Land Force of Russia celebrated annually on 1 October.
The next important milestone in the Land Force’s development was during the reign of Pyotr [Peter] I. In November 1699 the Tsar issued the Decree “On admission to the service of soldiers from freemen". Hence the recruit principle of formation of troops became operational, and after the Northern War a standing army appeared in Russia. However, the Ministry of the Military Land Force was created only a century later – in the reign of Aleksandr I.
Reforming of the army was continued by Aleksandr II: he reorganised its structure, methods of recruitment, organisation and armament of troops, as well as the training of military personnel. Also, instead of recruit conscription into the army universal conscription was introduced.
From the second half of the XIX century the Land Force began qualitative changes. The technical component acquired great importance. The engineering, aviation, aeronautic and rail units of the LF were actively being promoted. In addition, the new special forces - troops of chemical and biological protection - appeared. However, the wars and revolutions of the early 20th century led to the actual destruction of the old Russian army. The Bolsheviks, which came to power, created a new Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, which manifested itself during the Civil War.
From the mid-1920s the Land Force of the Red Army began to gather momentum. It played a decisive role in the Great Patriotic War, because the main battles were taking place on land. During the war, its number almost doubled, there was quite flexible and efficient structure that met the conditions of warfare against the enemy army well equipped in the technical sense. The number of guns and mortars, multiple rocket launchers, tanks and self-propelled artillery units of new types, anti-tank weapons, air defence systems and automatic rifle weapons steadily increased. Totally the more than 80% Land Force’s armament was refreshed.
After the war, there was the official formalisation of the Land Force (LF) as a Service of the Soviet Armed Forces. The order of 23 March 1946, signed by the then Chief of the General Staff of the USSR’s Armed Forces Marshal of the Soviet Union A.M. Vasilevsky, issued on the basis of the Resolution of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR of 25 February 1946, formed the control body – the High Command of the Land Force. Marshal of the Soviet Union G.K. Zhukov became the first Commander-in-Chief of the Land Force, he was also the Deputy People's Commissar of the USSR’s Armed Forces on the Land Force.
The new large-scale changes occurred in the Russian army after the Soviet Union’s disintegration. And at first the military reform was essentially reduced to a simple reduction of the Armed Forces and the Land Force as well. For example, from 1989 to 1997 their personnel were decreased by more than 1 million 100 thousand servicemen.
Starting since 2009 within giving the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation a a new make-up the significant structural changes of the Land Force have taken place. Brigades of permanent combat readiness, formed instead of cumbersome divisions difficult to be commanded, have become the main tactical formations of the Land Force. As a result, the Land Force has become more compact and mobile, being capable without additional measures for re-manning of formations and units to successfully conduct highly manoeuvrable fighting in modern wars and armed conflicts.
To date, the Land Force has in its structure the Motorised Rifle Troops, Tank Troops, Missile Troops and Artillery, Air Defence Troops, which are the Service Arms, and the Special Troops, units and subunits of the Logistics. Organizationally, it consists of Combined-Arms Armies (Operational Commands), Motorised Rifle (including Mountain), Tank and Air Assault Brigades, Cover Brigades, Military Bases, a Machine Gun-Artillery Division, Training Centres, formations and units of the Missile Troops and Artillery, Air Defence Troops, Special Troops, some other organisations and installations.
Associations and formations of the Land Force form part of 4 Military Districts (Joint Strategic Commands) and the basis of the groupings of troops (forces) in the strategic areas.