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Russian Internal Troops and Security Challenges in the 1990s

by Colonel General Anatoliy S. Kulikov
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs
Commander-in-Chief of Russian Internal Troops
translated by Robert R. Love
Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS.

This article, which is the text of an oral presentation, originally appeared in Low-Intensity Conflict & Law Enforcement, Frank Cass, London, Volume 3, Autumn 1994, Number 2.

An Important Note About the Author:

At the time he wrote this presentation (Spring 1994), Colonel-General Anatoliy S. Kulikov was Russia's Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Commander-in-Chief of the Ministry's Internal Troops. In January of 1995, he was appointed Commander of all Russian forces in Chechnya. Then, in the summer of 1995, he was named Russia's Minister of Internal Affairs (MVD). In addition to his extensive experience and training within the Ministry of Internal Affiars (MVD), he is also a graduate of the Army's Frunze Military Academy and the Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces. He has played, and continues to play, an important role in dealing with many of the security challenges faced by Russia in the post-Soviet period. Colonel-General Kulikov is a leading figure in the development, professionalization and reform of Russian Internal Troops.

Introduction: Russian Security and Internal Threats

Given the diminished level of confrontation in international relations, the expansion of partnership and cooperation, and the reduced threat of incursion from outside, the problems of providing internal security for the world's nations have become exceptionally important. At the Russian Federation's present stage of development--the stage of it's creation as a state and the implementation of democratic reforms--new factors have emerged which threaten the security of the individual, society and the nation.

Among the more dangerous threats is the broad and protracted economic crisis which brought with it a crisis in political power and a significant increase in the nation's crime rate. Economic problems are very closely tied to an increase in such global problems as threats to the environment and threats caused by technology. Threats to information security are on the rise, as is a danger that society will become degraded and that Russia will become simply a source of raw-materials for economically advanced countries.

A particular threat is posed in our multi-national state by nationalistic strife in Northern Ossetia and Ingush. The consequences of this friction could lead to the disintegration of Russia and the loss of loss of federal statehood. An analysis of the situation reveals that in addition to political solutions, forceful methods will be required in order to maintain stability. And some individual instances will require decisive action by organs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) and by the Internal Troops.

In the Russian Federation, the primary internal sources of military threat against which military force could be employed include the following:

  • unlawful, armed, violent activity on the part of nationalist, separatist and other organizations aimed at destabilizing the internal situation in the Russian Federation and the violation of her territorial integrity;

  • attempts aimed at the violent overthrow of constitutional order and at disrupting the operations of the organs of state power and control;

  • attacks on nuclear energy facilities and chemical and biological production facilities and other potentially dangerous objectives;

  • the creation of illegal armed gangs;

  • organized crime and contraband activity on a scale that threatens the security of citizens and society;

  • attacks on arsenals, arms dumps, facilities which manufacture armaments, military and special equipment; attacks on organizations, institutions and structures which have state armaments for purposes of seizing these weapons;

  • the illegal spread on Russian territory of weapons, ammunition, explosives and other potential means for use in attacks and acts of terrorism, and also the unlawful sale of drugs.

For Russians it is quite clear that the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and also the level of its internal security depend primarily on the rapid resolution of major economic, political and social problems. The role of organizations capable of applying force is very great when creating the conditions necessary for peaceful crisis resolution. This article will discuss the role and place of the MVD's internal forces in this area, as well as ways for improving the use of troops in crisis situations.

The Role of the MVD in Russian Federation Law Enforcement

Russian federal measures relating to war, to increased social tensions, and to cross-national conflicts--that is, to all those events which could lead to a change in the form of government, as well as to other substantive changes affecting the state and social order--are regulated by federal law. The basic source of federal law is the constitution.

Article 80 of the Russian Constitution grants the President of Russia the right to use force in order to maintain Federation sovereignty as well as its independence and national integrity. The Russian Federation law entitled 'On Security' lists the following as among forces to be used for providing security: the Armed Forces; organs of Internal Affairs; intelligence and counterintelligence agencies; security-related organs of the legislative, executive and judicial branches and their higher officials; the revenue service; disaster relief services; civil defense units, and; border and Internal Troops.

Hence, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, whose agencies and troops in the course of their activities utilize special forces and means, is a very important component of the security system. The MVD's primary functions have been defined by legislation and are:

  • identifying and forecasting security threats and taking a series of measures for their prevention and neutralization;

  • creating and maintaining the readiness of forces and means for providing security;

  • managing these resources under both normal and emergency conditions;

  • systematically restoring the functioning of security facilities in regions which have been adversely affected because of an emergency situation, and;

  • participating in security measures outside the borders of Russia in accordance with international treaties and agreements.

Within the bounds of its competency, the MVD assures the execution of the aforementioned functions. The primary missions of the MVD include:

  • guaranteeing the personal safety of the citizenry and the security of society in general;

  • taking measures for the prevention and curtailment of crime and administrative violations of law, and also measures for the discovery of crime;

  • carrying out criminal punishment;

  • organizing and improving the activity of the organs of the MVD and the Internal Troops as they carry out the missions and responsibilities assigned to them;

  • taking measures to assure legality in the activities of the Ministry, and;

  • providing professional training and also the legal and social defense of MVD and Internal Troops personnel.

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs is in charge of the system of Internal Affairs organs. These organs include:

  • the Internal Affairs Ministries of the republics which make up Russia;

  • the main directorates and departments of Internal Affairs for the regions, oblasts, autonomous oblasts, autonomous districts, areas, cities, areas of cities;

  • the directorates (departments) of Internal Affairs for railroad, air and waterway transportation and for fire-fighting and rescue services;

  • the directorates of forest-area forced-labor institutions, and;

  • educational and research institutions and other organizations, enterprises, institutions and organizations created for purposes of accomplishing the missions entrusted to Internal Affairs organs.

Role and Place of the Internal Troops

The Internal Troops are a component of the MVD system and are not a part of the Armed Forces of Russia. As such, they belong to those force-capable organizations which in international practice are referred to as 'state organs intended to provide domestic security in peacetime and which do not possess the organizational structure for conducting ground combat actions against a foreign enemy'.

Currently the tendency in the West is to include Russia's Internal Troops in the strength levels of limitations imposed by treaty, i.e., the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces, and the Agreement on Personnel. However, the fact that the USA uses its armed forces for operations other than war, i.e., for functions which are carried out by Russia's Internal Troops--disaster relief and security, counter-drug and counter-terrorism efforts, peacekeeping--cannot be an argument for including our Internal Troops in the limitation levels.

Russia has historical experience as a large, multi-national state with many state internal conflicts. It is this experience that led to the appearance of a state institution such as the Internal Troops, which began to appear as early as the 16th century. The Internal Troops as they are today were created in the early years of Soviet power. At that time, rebuilding society was unthinkable without the creation of force structures which would provide law and order. The same is true today.

The September 1992 law entitled 'On the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs' defines their purpose: 'To defend the interests of the individual, society, the state, and the constitutional rights of citizens to be free from criminal acts and other illegal infringements'. A list of the responsibilities placed upon the Internal Troops offers a more detailed look at their purpose:

  • assisting Internal Affairs organs in maintaining public order and public safety and in providing the necessary lawful procedures during a state-of-emergency--this is the Internal Troops' most important mission;

  • protecting important state facilities, communications installations and special cargo as well as assisting in the clean-up of any accidents during the shipping of special cargo, including accidents involving nuclear material, and;

  • guarding forced-labor institutions, escorting convicts and prisoners. (The scope of this mission will be greatly reduced in the near future.)

The diversity of these missions makes for a rather complicated troop structure. The following groups may be highlighted (Figure 1):

  • operational large units (divisions and brigades) and troop units (regiments, separate battalions)1 comprising the federal mobile reserve of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and which carry out missions during states-of-emergency in so-called 'hot spots' that may typically be at some distance from their home base; (It was units of an operational division near Novocherkassk which were inspected last year [1993] by an American inspection team in connection with the Treaty on Conventional Arms Limitation in Europe. It must be said that the team was well prepared for the job and possessed information about the object of the inspection.)

  • special motorized troop units which carry out missions in the interests of the citizenry by supporting public order in cities and populated areas; these units can be found in most of Russia's large cities and are always the first to act in crisis situations in order to normalize the situation;

  • large units and troop units for guarding important state facilities, including nuclear arms and nuclear energy complexes and also special cargo. (Quite often conflicts are accompanied by acts of terrorism and aggression. The danger of these phenomena needs no explanation.);

  • large units and troop units for guarding forced-labor institutions and for escorting convicts and prisoners, and;

  • other units and institutions, including air and naval combat and support units, as well as military educational institutions.

With the passage of a law--for the first time in the history of the troops--their organizational structure was affirmed by an order of the President of the Russian Federation, and their composition and strength by a Decree of the Supreme Soviet.

Today the large units and troop units are a part of seven Internal Troop districts. With a clear organization, a high level of combat readiness, mobility, and specially trained personnel, the Internal Troops have the capability to counter criminal activity and protect the constitutional rights and freedoms of the citizens.

The history of the troops shows that at certain stages of their development the importance of their missions was subject to change. Prior to the enactment of the law on Internal Troops, primary missions included protecting especially important and specially guarded installations; guarding special cargo during transport; guarding communications facilities; and guarding forced-labor institutions. Today their most important mission is assisting Internal Affairs organs as they protect public order, provide safety, and insuring lawful procedures during states-of-emergency.

The change in mission priorities is reflected in the troops' organizational structure. At the moment the strength of special motorized units, large units and troop units of operational designation makes up approximately 25% of the troops' authorized strength level.

Second in importance is the guarding of state facilities and special cargo. The use of military force for this purpose is necessary because in an environment of political and social instability, only troop structures can reliably guarantee the safety of these facilities and cargo. These troop structures are under centralized control and have the capability to counter trained armed groups.

Today Internal Troops guard the facilities of 22 Russian Federation ministries and agencies. They make up about 15% of the authorized troop strength. One responsibility which currently belongs to the Internal Troops, i.e., the guarding of forced-labor institutions, will soon expire. The law has established that additional duties can be given to the Internal Troops only by passage of another law.

And, indeed, since the law was adopted we have come to see that Russian Federation laws which are passed in the interest of other ministries and agencies, in particular of the Ministry of Defense, the MVD and counterintelligence organs, do levy additional responsibilities on the Internal Troops. For example, the Russian Federation law on national borders made the Internal Troops responsible for the integrity of the borders in areas where there are military facilities and bases.

Dividing Functions and Responsibilities Between Russia's
Armed Forces and the MVD Internal Troops

In order to resolve internal conflicts, the international practice is to introduce planned, state-of-emergency legislative control and appropriate procedures in specific territories. The concept of 'state-of-emergency' has several levels and is defined variously in the legal systems of the world's nations. I will not dwell here on Russia's law 'On States-of-Emergency', since it will be revised and in the near future will be re-examined by a Federal assembly. But I will say that the single most important aspect of a state-of-emergency in all its many forms is that security organs receive broad authority to use direct force based on a simplified procedure.

It is generally accepted that providing law and order in emergency conditions is a particular sphere of activity for the police (which in Russia belong to the organs of Internal Affairs). In addition, in those instances where conflicts involve violence on such a large scale that Internal Affairs organs are unable to cope with them, it becomes necessary and justifiable to call in the armed forces.

The laws of many nations foresee the use of the army to maintain law and order. In such instances it is basically reserve or territorial formations of the armed forces that carry out the functions of the police. At the same time, these military personnel do not acquire the status of police. The Internal Troops of the MVD are used for these purposes in Russia.

As a rule, the troops are activated in two stages. The first stage in rendering troop assistance is to make forces available to local police authorities as auxiliary units. The author studied with great interest the 1985 American document on 'Civil Unrest' (FM 19-15). The commander of a temporary operational group of the US Army works together with civilian authorities so long as this cooperation does not hinder the Army team in the execution of its mission. The moment the cooperation stops, the second stage begins, i.e., independent troop actions. At that moment it becomes possible to introduce martial law as envisioned by a number of nations.

Martial law is viewed as a temporary period for providing order with the help of military units. During this time all constitutional provisions are lifted. The introduction of martial law is an extreme measure and is only exercised when local police forces are not able to cope with a critical situation.

When martial law is in effect, the commander of the troop unit bears responsibility for the situation. The troops' mission is the restoration of order to a level that will allow the local police to regain control of the situation. Martial law is then lifted, and the troops return to their former 'support' duties. The stages in the introduction of troops also take into account the availability of territorial and federal forces.

Russia's MVD Internal Troops also have special motorized troop units which carry out missions in support of regional MVD organs but at the same time are part of the federal force--the operational troop reserve of the MVD, which includes, first and foremost, operational units of the Internal Troops.

However, in contrast to US law, Russian law does not allow independent actions on the part of federal forces. Russia's Internal Troops, by law, are charged with assisting the various agencies of Russia's Internal Affairs Ministry, i.e., they are assigned only a support role. The reason for this is that in providing for its domestic security the Russian Federation proceeds from the following basic principles:

  • initial use of political and other peaceful measures to manage any conflicts that arise; use of military force only in extreme cases when other methods fail to produce positive results;

  • strict adherence to the constitution, to legislation that is in force and to standards of international law, including issues surrounding the protection of human rights;

  • exclusion of the use of military force for the benefit of individual groups, parties, social organizations and movements, and;

  • exclusion of the use of military force against the civilian population, except in those instances provided for by law.

The law entitled 'Basic Provisions of the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation' separates the functions and responsibilities of the armed forces and the MVD Internal Troops. In order to prevent and/or halt domestic clashes and other actions involving the use of armed force on the territory of the Russian Federation--i.e., conflicts which threaten Russia's territorial integrity and other interests of society and Russian citizens--Russian Internal Affairs organs and MVD troops are tasked with:

  • protecting the public order and supporting lawful procedures of a state-of-emergency in the conflict region;

  • keeping any conflict local and sealing off the area;

  • halting armed clashes and separating the combatants;

  • disarming and eliminating illegal bands and confiscating weapons from the populous in the conflict area;

  • providing additional public protection and safety in areas which are contiguous to a conflict area, and;

  • carrying out operational searches and investigative measures in order to eliminate threats to internal security.

Analysis has shown that Internal Troop units carry out these missions within the framework of their main mission, or more specifically, its second part--protecting the public order and assuring lawful procedures during states-of-emergency. Russian military doctrine also calls for the Internal Troops to secure the transit and return of peacekeeping forces when Russia participates in peacekeeping operations authorized by the UN Security Council or in connection with Russian Federation international obligations. We have so far acquired very little practical experience in this area but will certainly train our units to carry out this mission, because each of the Internal Troop districts is directly contiguous to a national border.

The Armed Forces may be brought into operations for protecting the internal security only when this is unavoidable and when there are insufficient special Internal Troops to do the job. And even then, the Armed Forces may only be used for specific purposes, including: keeping conflicts local and sealing off the conflict area; halting armed clashes and separating the combatants, and; defending strategic facilities.

Reforming the Force

Russia's new political situation, the vital importance of preventing the disintegration of the state, and increased efforts in the war on crime have all meant a significant restructuring of in the nation's internal security system. The Internal Troops, as one component of this system, are currently undergoing reform. In order to assure a systematic reform process, a 'Concept and Program' for the evolution of the MVD Internal Troops has been developed and will be in effect to the year 2000.

Basic to the reforms would be the creation and maintenance of Internal Troop composition and potential for meeting Russia's internal security requirements. What is the essence of the concept for developing the internal forces? The priority is the development of operational and special motorized forces units which can be shifted and deployed for short-term maneuver actions in any region where a threat arises to Russia's internal security. These forces should also provide maximum assistance to territorial Internal Affairs organs in their battle with crime.

The basis of the force will be operational large units [division- and brigade-size] and units [regimental and battalion-size]. The plan is to double their strength to 100,000. This will make it possible to create 3-5 force groupings 5-7 thousand strong in designated areas, as well as provide for their replacement. Basic to the development of operational large units and units between now and the year 2000 will be the following:

  • further standardization of the organizational structure;

  • increasing the autonomy of action of large units and troop units by improving their technical equipment and their comprehensive security capability, including the effectiveness of their intelligence, their engineering ability and the capability of logistics units, and;

  • increasing mobility by adding transport planes and helicopters, obtaining BMPs and all-terrain transport vehicles.

The current plan calls for increasing the strength of the special motorized units to 35,000 in 1994-1995. In addition, large units and troop units which guard important state facilities and special cargo will continue to be under the centralized control of the commander of the Internal Troops for guarding important state facilities and special cargo. The growing threat of technological terrorism will require an increase in the strength of troop units which guard nuclear energy complexes.

The responsibility for guarding forced-labor institutions and their facilities will be transferred to the criminal punishment system, and the guarding will then be done by agencies rather than by troop units. The large units and troop units for guarding forced-labor institutions will be dissolved (approximately 100,000 men) and will be dropped from the Internal Troops' proponency. Railway convoy subunits will continue to remain with the Internal Troops. In addition, large units and troop units which guard communications installations will remain and will also stay approximately at their present strength.

Troop training has changed. We have switched to special training programs which prepare personnel and units for actions in conflict situations, including those involving the use of armed force, rapid change of methods during tactical actions, and a great variety of tactical methods. Much greater attention is now given to training personnel in the legal aspects of various actions.

In accordance with the plan for developing the Internal Troops, a troop and officer training system has been worked out which calls for increased professional education requirements. The goal of the professional education is the development of the individual military specialist, the formation of his scientific world view, his general education and his professional excellence. The intent is to prepare highly qualified specialists in accordance with real-world needs in the officer ranks.

It is planned that the training of specialists will be conducted according to levels. The first level of professional officer training is carried out in five higher military schools in a five-year program. Graduates of these schools are qualified as lawyers. The basic subjects are: tactical training of Internal Troops, weapons training, and physical training. In the humanities and social-economic program the basic subjects are philosophy, economics, and national history, where students study various religions, including Islam.

In the Russian Ministry of Defense colleges, second level officers with an advanced professional education are trained for work in operational-tactical components. These colleges also train teaching staff and offer professional enhancement for officer-students in upper-level academic courses.

In the Russian Federation General Staff Academy the third level of training is conducted, i.e., that of highly qualified command-level specialists for duty at the district and Main Directorate (Main Command Directorate of Internal Troops) echelons.

After completing the formation of the Internal Troop districts, over the past one and a half years we have conducted a series of command-staff exercises which include:

  • 'Control of Internal Troop Organs and Units in the Prevention and Suppression of Mass Unrest; Supporting Lawful Procedures During a State-of-Emergency in a Large City' (15-16 Feb)--conducted jointly with Internal Affairs organs;

  • 'Official and Combat Use of an MVD Internal Troop District When Instituting a State-of-Emergency' (4-5 Apr 93--a three-stage operational-tactical command-staff exercise on-site in the North Caucasus Internal Troop District;

  • 'Official and Combat Use of an MVD Internal Troop District When a Complication Arises in an Official Operational Situation in a Central Region of Russia (3-5 Jun 93)--conducted with the Moscow Internal Troop District;

  • 'Internal Troop Participation in Maintaining Public Order and Safety When a Lawful State-of-Emergency is Being Instituted in a Large Administrative Center Within the Borders of a District' (18-19 Jan 94)--a two-stage district command-staff exercise with the Northwest District, with troop involvement;

  • 'Control of District Troops During the Clean-Up of Technology-Related Disasters That Occur Near Permanent Base Camps in Marshy, Forested Terrain' (planned for July '94)--with the control organs of the Siberian Internal Troop District;

The 1994 training plan calls for command-staff exercises with the remaining districts to be conducted in accordance with the commands of these regions.

It is felt that units designated for peacekeeping must receive 4-6 weeks of intensive training and individual instruction. In the author's opinion, simultaneously training personnel to conduct both combat and non-combat actions is very complicated, if it is possible at all. For that reason I cannot concur with the widely held belief that standard troop units, rather than specially trained and equipped units, are best suited for the conduct of peacekeeping missions. Our practical experience attests precisely to the contrary. The Russian Ministry of Justice holds the same opinion.

The location of Internal Troop base camps is also undergoing change. Large units and other units are being moved depending on the socio-political situation and the potential for conflicts to arise in various areas of Russia. For example, the largest Internal Troop grouping has been formed in the North Caucasus, where there is the greatest number of hot spots.

The process of troop professionalization has begun. We are now allowed to accept volunteers on a contractual basis, and the first 10,000 volunteers are already in training. However, due to a whole range of reasons (economic, demographic, social), recruitment of troops remains one of our greatest challenges. And so, in our opinion, such are the prospects for near-term changes in the Internal Troops.

There is another thought worth addressing. Why do we not increase the number of militia units, in particular of the public safety militia [police]? In my opinion, troops have significantly greater mobility and combat readiness than militia personnel. Moreover, experience with state-of-emergency situations has demonstrated the inadequacy of territorial militia units, particularly in the case of cross-national conflicts. Officials of local Internal Affairs organs, to some extent, are not impartial and adopt a one-sided stance based on their own national origins. But the Internal Troops, having been recruited on the principle of ex-territoriality, are free of this drawback. In closing the discussion of this issue, I would emphasize that the structure of the Internal Troops, their organization, composition, and location are all aimed at assuring Russia's internal security and that they are adequate for meeting threats. For all practical purposes, the Internal Troops have no heavy weapons or military hardware, and they are not capable of carrying out large-scale combat actions. However, because in several regions of Russia, for example in the Northern Caucasus, some illegal formations do have tanks and large-caliber artillery systems, we consider it essential that the Internal Troops also have a small quantity of such armaments in order to increase the level of protection of our personnel. Let us now turn to the utilization of the Internal Troops and the tactics involved in their actions.

Utilization of Internal Troops and also Tactics
Employed in Actions in Crisis Situations

Since 1988 the Internal Troops have acquired significant experience in actions in crisis situations. It is sufficient to recall the sad history of cross-national conflicts:

  • in Central Asia (between the Uzbeks and the Turk-Meschetines, the Tadzhiks and Kirghiz);

  • in the Trans-Caucasus region (between the Armenians and Azerbajdzhanis, the Georgians and the Abkhazians, the Georgians and the Ossetians), and;

  • in the Northern Caucasus (between the Ossetians and the Ingush).

I deeply regret that carrying out these missions exacts a high price. Over a six-year period there have been 68 troop losses in combat actions (41 soldiers and sergeants, 3 academy cadets, 2 warrant officers, and 22 officers, including one general officer). More than 1,500 personnel have sustained wounds of varying degrees of seriousness.

In using troops forces and means to protect the public safety in areas of cross-national conflict three stages may be highlighted:

  1. Moving troops into the areas where the missions will be carried out, creating groupings of forces and means;

  2. Direct actions in the conflict areas, and;

  3. Subsequent or simultaneous withdrawal of units back to their permanent bases, or, rotation of troops.

The first blow from cross-national conflict disasters will certainly be sustained by local MVD troop organs and by the first troop echelon, i.e., those who are permanently based in the conflict area. They are used chiefly to bolster the security of facilities vital to the local population and other important facilities as well. Further, they will protect places of assembly of the local citizens against which violent actions are directed and also provide cover for residential areas.

Depending on the course of events, the size of the force may be increased by bringing in units from other regions, thus making up the second echelon of troops. In addition to the missions which are performed by the first echelon, the second echelon may:

  • carry out reconnaissance in order to identify illegal groupings, fighters and bands;

  • take forceful actions to find and disarm fighters, bands, and, if there is resistance, after neutralizing them, they may take further action to suppress mass unrest among the population;

  • support the activity of MVD investigative-operational groups;

  • escort columns of refugees and important cargo, and provide humanitarian aid;

  • separate combatants, and;

  • carry out other missions which cannot be postponed.

Introduction of second-echelon troops may begin with the declaration of a state-of-emergency, at which time troops may also:

  • make sure that established procedures are followed in allowing citizens and transport vehicles to pass out of and into the region of the state-of-emergency;

  • maintain control of the major roadways of the area, and;

  • help enforce any curfew.

A portion of the forces and means are held in reserve and are designated for actions if the situation becomes complicated. Total group strength can range from 500 to 20,000.

As a rule, a state-of-emergency area is divided into commandant districts (Fig. 2) or sectors for administrative purposes. In each of them a force and resource grouping are created which will include Internal Troop units, guard and line details and also forces and resources of Internal Affairs organs.

Based on troop action experience acquired in the Trans-Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Northern Caucasus, the following are designated from among troop units:

  • check-point details placed at roadway interchanges, on large main highways which pass through the established border of the state-of-emergency area--these details carry out checkpoint procedures and control the flow of transport vehicles;

  • commandant patrols carry out missions for protecting the public safety and in support of the legal state-of-emergency by covering a route and inspecting individual sectors;

  • escort groups receive missions to escort refugees, cargo transports, etc.;

  • maneuver groups (detachments) have armored transport and are designated to support the state-of-emergency, suppress mass unrest accompanied by violence, pogroms, arson, etc., and;

  • other troop details.

The troops carry out missions to guard facilities vital to the population and other important facilities by placing guards and setting up outposts. Combat and special equipment, along with portable obstacles, are used to seal off approaches to facilities. Once a curfew is put into effect, the main responsibility for enforcing it falls on the checkpoint personnel and maneuver groups. Let us now look briefly at command and control of troops who are carrying out missions remote from their permanent bases.

Temporary control organs are created for this purpose, i.e., troop operational groups capable of quickly and efficiently solving a range of problems related to the performance of official combat missions in state-of-emergency areas. The structure of an operational troop unit corresponds basically to the TO&E of the control organs of our large units and units, except that a certain minimum number of officers is essential. The director of the City Internal Defense Force (VOG) is subordinate to the Commander of the Internal Troops. With the creation of a Russian MVD operational headquarters, the VOG director will fall under the operational control of its chief. We are giving special attention to improving this command-and- control organ.

We have now created in several troop districts, TO&E operational groups which can move very rapidly into crisis areas and take control of arriving troops. Utilizing the above-mentioned organs, group elements and tactical methods has made it possible for the troops to carry out their assigned missions and gain control of the course of crisis situations.

Peacekeeping Nature of Internal Troop Actions

On the one hand, it would be fully justifiable to describe the aforementioned actions as peacekeeping. In many ways the actions are similar to those of the United Nations 'blue helmets'. Russia is a multi-national state in which national formations possess elements of statehood, i.e., there are republics which are part of a federation, autonomous districts, and oblasts. Thus, in Russia it is actually the case that using the Internal Troops is similar to peacekeeping as defined by the United Nations, i.e., carrying out operations with an international force but without applying the pressure of force.

All the peoples of Russia are represented in the Internal Troops, and, for Russia, this is a multi-national force.

An Internal Troop grouping is created in a region, for example in Ossetia and Ingush, not only with the concurrence of the conflicting sides but also often at their insistence. The extending of the state-of-emergency there in 1993 was done on the initiative of the republic organs rather than the federal organs of power. The Internal Troops do not always possess sufficient military resources to operate from a position of strength. It is for this reason that cooperation with the conflicting sides is a mandatory condition for carrying out the assigned missions. Decisions are coordinated, as are plans for the use of troops, and mutual assistance is rendered by the local organs of authority and control. The authorities create conditions for the troop actions, and the troops act in the interests of restoring peace.

For all practical purposes, the Internal Troops have no heavy weapons. Therefore, it can be said that they, like United Nations peacekeeping forces, receive only defensive weapons which they use for self-defense, for countering the armed attempts of 'warriors' to interfere with the fulfillment of their assigned missions. In other instances they rely on their presence and on moral pressure. Political agreements, not military might, are their basic stake.

The actions of the troops are without prejudice, and this is one of the important conditions for carrying out the assigned missions. This does not mean a blind neutrality or passivity. Instead it is an active intent not to permit actions which infringe on the rights of either of the conflicting sides. Also of a peacekeeping nature are troop actions for monitoring ceasefires, providing security for the delivery of humanitarian aid, assisting local authorities in establishing law and order, and preventing violations of guaranteed rights.

On the other hand, Internal Troop actions also include forceful, combat actions--special operations, such as: detaining especially dangerous, armed criminals; suppressing mass disturbances in populated areas and in penal institutions; freeing hostages; taking back captured buildings, structures, facilities, transport equipment and land; disarming illegal armed groups and seizing their weapons, ammunition, combat hardware, explosives, and other military property; searching for and detaining violators who penetrate the guarded territory of an important state facility, and more.

The primary means of carrying out special operations are searching a sealed area, conducting directional searches in non-sealed areas, and use of surround techniques. Many of these methods fit in well with the concept of second-generation international operations. One may say that the actions of the Internal Troops include not only peacekeeping but also peace enforcement. At the same time, the force factor is not the defining one. Combat actions are conducted only when there is no other alternative, and they are very specific.

In 1993, in the course of official combat use of operational unit personnel, more than 1,000 weapons were seized, as were 26 pieces of combat equipment, tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, and a significant amount of materiel. I would particularly like to mention that over the past 1 1\2 years we have managed to avoid even a single loss among the civilian population during combat actions. I would like to express my agreement with the point of view that Internal Troop actions in 'hot spots' are, to a greater degree than other military activity, 'political' actions being carried out by military means.

And so it can be said that we have quite a lot of experience. But it should be added that only in recent years have we come to understand its significance. The limited scope of this article does not allow a detailed discussion of this topic. For those who wish to know more, we invite interested specialists, researchers and practitioners to visit the Internal Troops for concrete, practical work. As commander of the Internal Troops, I promise that you will receive a frank presentation of our information and of our experience in using the Internal Troops.

In looking at the normative documents of western nations, we note the sophisticated theoretical level on which they have been developed as well as their comprehensive nature. Our regulations and directives have an additional positive feature, i.e., a concreteness borne of practical experience. I believe that uniting efforts in order to develop appropriate provisions for actions in crisis situations will yield great positive benefit.

In the author's opinion, today it is essential to support initiatives which establish contacts and cooperation among representatives of various force structures, including such structures as the Internal Troops, and among the nations of the world at all levels, from the commander to the soldier.

Conclusions

In conclusion, let us now look at one final area. Given the growing instability in various regions of the world, it is now possible that there will be military intervention--by the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Western European Union (WEU), the Council on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) or by any other nations, and based on a Security Council mandate--within other countries in order to resolve conflicts. However, two points should be mentioned. First, such intervention would occur only when these nations lack adequate forces to contain the conflicts. And, second, multi-national peacekeeping forces should consist of special groups designated from among regular units. As is the case with the Internal Troops, their training should be conducted without any 'enemy'.

It is not a good idea to use for peacekeeping the armed forces of countries which are member of blocs. Nonetheless, given current realities and the experience of recent years, it is advisable to have specially trained peacekeeping units within the structure of combined armed forces. This not only increases the effectiveness of their actions but also alleviates concerns on the part of the nations receiving the multi-national force.

It seems to the author, that the world now understands the need for such peacekeeping forces as multi-national Russia's long-standing Internal Troop operational units. In essence, multi-national forces are called upon to perform such missions as those which are today being carried out by our Internal Troops in 'hot spots'. And our experience has taught us that these are extremely complex missions requiring extraordinary caution.

When one examines the use of the Internal Troops in conflict situations, one comes to an obvious conclusion: at a certain stage in the evolution of a crisis, force plays a key role in the resolution of that crisis. But it must always be a temporary measure, a measure for deterrence and for creating the conditions necessary for resolving problems by the force of reason and not the force of weapons. I share the opinion expressed by Butros Butros-Ghali in April of this year during a visit to Moscow: 'Peacekeeping requires that the conflicting sides have a political wish to resolve the argument. We cannot impose peace, though we can help maintain it. In order to do this, we must achieve a situation in which the sides do not wish to use force.'

And so it is that the Internal Troops in Russia are, in essence, performing the functions of a regional peacekeeping force. Today they are the guarantor of the internal political situation in Russia and of the reforms being carried out, and, consequently, the guarantor of a reliable defense of the investments of Western nations in the economy of Russia.

ENDNOTES

1. Translator's note: The 'operational' forces referred to here are more literally termed to be 'of operational designation' (operativnogo naznacheniya). In this article, the term soyedineniye is rendered as 'large unit'; chast' is translated as 'unit'; and podrazdeleniye (used later in the article) is translated as 'subunit', a component of battalion-size or smaller. BACK