Ministry of Defence (Russia)

Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation
Министерство обороны Российской Федерации
Medium emblem of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation (21.07.2003-present).svg
Ministry emblem
Flag of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.svg
Official flag
Moscow Frunzenskaya Embankment at Pushkinsky Bridge 08-2016.jpg
A building of the ministry in Khamovniki District
Agency overview
Formed 1717 as College of War
Preceding agencies
  • Ministry of Defence of the Soviet Union (1946–1991)
  • People's Commissariat of Defence of the Soviet Union (1934–1946)
  • Ministry of War of the Russian Empire (1802–1917)
  • College of War (1717–1802)
Jurisdiction President of Russia
Headquarters Znamenka 19, Moscow, Russia [1]
55°44′56″N 37°36′8″E / 55°44′56″N 37°36′8″E / 55.74889; 37.60222
Annual budget US$ 69.3 billion (2014)
Minister responsible
Child agency
  • Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation
    Federal Service for Technical and Export Control
    Federal Service for Defence Contracts
    Federal Agency for Special Construction
    Federal Agency for the supply of arms, military and special equipment and material supplies

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation ( Russian: Министерство обороны Российской Федерации, Минобороны России, informally abbreviated as МО or МО РФ) exercises administrative and operational leadership of the Russian Armed Forces.

The Russian Minister of Defence is the nominal head of all the Armed Forces, serving under the president of Russia, who is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. In this capacity, the minister exercises day-to-day administrative and operational authority over the armed forces. The General Staff, the executive body of the Ministry of Defence, implements the defence minister's operational instructions and orders. The State Duma exercises legislative authority over the Ministry of Defence through the Government of Russia, which is nominally responsible for maintaining the armed forces at the appropriate level of readiness.

The main ministry building, built in the 1980s, is located on Arbatskaya Square, near Arbat Street. Other buildings of the ministry are located throughout the city of Moscow. The high supreme body that responsible for the Ministry's management and supervision of the Armed Forces is The National Defense Management Center (Национальный центр управления обороной РФ) which located in Frunze Naberezhnaya and responsible for centralization of the Armed Forces' command.

The current Russian minister of Defence is Sergey Shoygu.


Lobanov-Rostovsky Palace, Former Defense Ministry building.

The authors of the U.S. Library of Congress Country Studies' volume for Russia said in July 1996 that:

The structure of the Russian Defense Ministry does not imply military subordination to civilian authority in the Western sense. [2] The historical tradition of military command is considerably different in Russia. The tsars were educated as officers, and they regularly wore military uniforms and held military rank. Josef Stalin in his later years in power frequently wore a military uniform, and he assumed the title Generalissimo of the Soviet Union. Likewise, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev was named Marshal of the Soviet Union. By tradition dating back to the tsars, the Minister of Defense was a uniformed officer,' with military background ( Dmitry Milyutin, Rodion Malinovsky) or without ( Dmitriy Ustinov). The State Duma also seats a large number of deputies who are active-duty military officers—another tradition that began in the Russian imperial era. These combinations of military and civilian authority ensure that military concerns are considered at the highest levels of the Russian government.

Russian Federation

In May 1992, President of Russia Boris Yeltsin appointed General of the Army Pavel Grachev to the post of Minister of Defence. Grachev's decision to side with Yeltsin in the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993, when the president called up tanks to shell the Russian White House to blast his opponents out of parliament, effectively deprived the Supreme Soviet of Russia of its nominal an opportunity to overturn the president's authority. At least partly for that reason, Yeltsin retained his defence minister despite intense criticism of Grachev's management of the First Chechen War and the Russian military establishment in general. Finally, Yeltsin's victory in the first round of the 1996 Russian presidential election spurred Yeltsin to dismiss Grachev.

In March 2001, Sergei Ivanov, previously secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation was appointed defence minister by President Vladimir Putin, becoming Russia's first non-uniformed civilian defence minister. [3] Putin called the personnel changes in Russia's security structures coinciding with Ivanov's appointment as defence minister "a step toward demilitarizing public life." Putin also stressed Ivanov's responsibility for overseeing military reform as defence minister. What Putin did not emphasise was Ivanov's long service within the KGB and FSB and his then rank of General-Lieutenant within the FSB. Such military and security agency associated men are known as siloviki.

As of 2002 there were four living Marshals of the Soviet Union. Such men are automatically Advisors to the Defence Minister. The Marshals alive at that time were Viktor Kulikov, Vasily Petrov, Sergei Sokolov, a former Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union, and Dmitri Yazov. Yazov was listed by the American analysts Scott and Scott in 2002 as a consultant to the (former 10th) Directorate for International Military Cooperation [4]

Perhaps the first 'real' non-uniformed Defence Minister was Anatoliy Serdyukov, appointed in February 2007. Serdyukov was a former Tax Minister with little siloviki or military associations beyond his two years' military service.

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