The Western Military District (WMD) was created in September 2010 in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of 20 September 2010 on the basis of two Military Districts – the Moscow and the Leningrad ones. It also includes two Fleets – the Northern and the Baltic Fleets, as well as the 1st Command of Air Force and Air Defence.
The history of the Leningrad Military District (LenMD) began on 20 March 1918, when the Petrograd Military District was formed. In 1924 it was renamed as the Leningrad Military District. In 1922, troops of the district took part in the defeat of the White-Finnish troops having invaded into Karelia, and in 1939-1940 – in the Russo-Finnish War. And at the first stage (before creation of the North-Western Front) the LenMD’s Staff controlled fighting in the war.
From the beginning of the Great Patriotic War the Administration of the LenMD was transformed into the Field Administration of the Northern Front, which on 23.8.1941 was divided into the Karelian and the Leningrad Fronts. The Field Administrations of the Northern, later the Leningrad Fronts simultaneously continued to serve as the Military District Administrations. The troops of the Fronts had bloody battles against the German troops, defended Leningrad and participated in lifting its blockade.
After the Great Patriotic War, the LenMD was re-established. The formation of its Administration was based on the Field Administration of the Leningrad Front. The troops were transferred to the staff of peacetime in a short time, and they proceeded to the systematic combat training. In 1968, for its great contribution to strengthening the capacity of the state and its armed protection, for its achievements in combat training and in view of the 50th anniversary of the USSR Armed Forces the LenMD was awarded the Order of Lenin. In May 1992 the troops of the Leningrad Military District entered the composition of the RF Armed Forces established.
The Moscow Military District (MMD) was established on 4 May 1918. During the Civil War and military intervention in Russia (1917-1922) it prepared personnel for all the Fronts, supplied the Red Army with various kinds of weapons and material. In the MMD territory there was a large number of military academies, schools, courses and colleges, which only in 1918-1919 prepared and sent to the fronts nearly 11 thousand commanders.
From the beginning of the Great Patriotic War on the basis of the MMD the Field Administration of the Southern Front was formed under the District’s Commander General of the Army I.V. Tyulenev. According to the order of the General Headquarters of Supreme High Command of 18.07.1941 the Staff of the MMD simultaneously became the headquarters of the Mozhaysk front line of defence. Along with that the MMD carried out extensive work on creation and training of reserve formations and units for the acting Fronts. In Moscow 16 divisions of militia with 160 thousand of volunteers were formed too. After the defeat of the German forces outside Moscow the MMD continued shaping and fitting of formations and military units of all arms, supplying the fighting troops with weapons, military equipment and other means.
In total during the Great Patriotic War the MMD formed three front-line, 23 army and 11 corps administrations, 128 divisions, 197 brigades and forwarded in the fighting troops 4190 march subunits totalling approximately 4.5 million people.
In the post-war years in the territory of the MMD elite military formations were stationed, majority of them had had honorary Guards titles. The District maintained its importance as a major source of mobilising resources, was a large base of training the military command staff. In 1968, for its great contribution to strengthening the defensive might of the state and advances in military training the District was awarded the Order of Lenin. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the MMD joined the newly formed Russian Armed Forces.
Currently, troops and forces of the WMD are deployed within the administrative boundaries of three Federal Districts (North-Western, Central and a part of the Volga ones) in the territories of 29 subjects of the Russian Federation. The District’s Staff is situated in St. Petersburg, in the historic complex of the Main Staff on the Palace Square. The Western Military District is the first District formed in the new system of military-administrative division of the Russian Federation.
Within the WMD there are over two and a half thousand formations and military units totalling more than 400 thousand servicemen, i.e. about 40% of the total number of the Russian Armed Forces. The Commander of the WMD commands all the military formations of the Services and the Arms of the RF Armed Forces stationed in the territory of the District, with the exception of the Strategic Missile Forces and the Aerospace Forces. In addition, its operational control contains the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Border Troops of the Federal Security Service, units of the MES of Russia and other Ministries and Agencies of Russia, which perform their tasks within the District’s zone.