98th Guards Airborne Division

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98th Guards Airborne Division
Russian: 98-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная Свирская Краснознамённая, ордена Кутузова дивизия имени 70-летия Великого Октября
Great emblem of the 98th Guards Airborne Division[1]
Country Soviet Union
Branch Russian Airborne Forces
TypeAirborne forces
RoleLight Infantry
Airborne Infantry
Airmobile infantry
Part of Russian Armed Forces
Motto(s)Честь и Родина превыше всего!
(Honor and Motherland above all!)
AnniversariesMay 3rd
EngagementsWinter War
World War II

Soviet–Afghan War
First Chechen War
Second Chechen War
Russo-Georgian War
War in Donbass
Russian invasion of Ukraine

DecorationsOrder of the Red Banner Order of the Red Banner
Order of Kutuzov 2nd Class Order of Kutuzov
Battle honoursGuards unit Guards
Guards Colonel Viktor Igoryevich Gunaza
1993 shoulder sleeve insignia[1]

The 98th Guards Airborne Division is an airborne division of the Russian Airborne Troops, currently based in Ivanovo.


Second World War[edit]

During the Second World War, the formation began its existence as the 98th Guards Rifle Division (ru:98-я гвардейская стрелковая дивизия). It incorporated 296th Guards Rifle Regiment (formerly the 18th Independent Guards Airborne Brigade), 299th GRR (fmr 19 IGAB), 302nd GRR (fmr 20 IGAB). Formed in December 1943-January 1944 at Demitrov in the Moscow Military District.[4] It was part of the 37th Guards Airborne Corps, 9th Guards Army on the Karelian Front (May 1944), on the Svir river (June 1944) and near Budapest in February 1945. The division ended the war near Prague.

Cold war[edit]

On 7 June 1946, the division became an airborne unit at Pokrovka, Primorsky Krai. It included the 296th Guards Air-Landing Regiment, the 299th Guards Airborne Regiment and the 17th Guards Artillery Regiment. On 1 October 1948, the 296th was used to form the 13th Guards Airborne Division and was replaced by the new 95th Guards Air-Landing Regiment. In 1949, the 95th became an airborne regiment.[5]

On 1 June 1951, the division relocated to Belogorsk. The 217th Guards Airborne Regiment joined the 98th from the disbanded 13th Guards Airborne Division on 30 April 1955. In April 1956, the 95th was disbanded and replaced by the disbanded 99th Guards Airborne Division's 300th Guards Airborne Regiment. The 17th Guards Artillery Regiment also disbanded and was replaced by the 74th Guards Artillery Regiment of the 99th Division.[5]

In June 1956, the 37th Guards Airborne Corps was disbanded and the division was directly subordinated to the Airborne Headquarters. On 6 January 1959, the 243rd Separate Military-Transport Aviation Squadron was activated with the division, equipped with 10 Antonov An-2 transports. On 15 August 1960, the 74th Guards Artillery Regiment became the 812th Separate Guards Artillery Battalion. The battalion became the 1065th Guards Artillery Regiment on 27 April 1962.[5]

On 22 February 1968, for achievements in combat and political training, and in connection with the 50th anniversary of the USSR Armed Forces, the Division was awarded the Order of Kutuzov, 2nd degree. In August 1969, units of the division relocated to Bolgrad in the Odessa Military District (division headquarters, 217th and 299th Guards Airborne Regiments, part of the services) and Chisinau (300th Guards Airborne Regiment) and Merry Kut, Artsyz Raion (1065th Guards Artillery regiment).[5]

The division became involved in the major exercises "South", "Spring 72 ", " 73 - Crimea ", " Ether -74 ", "Spring -75 ", " Shield -79 ", " Shield -82 "" Summer 90 ".

End of Soviet[edit]

In summer 1991, the division received instructions from the Government of Ukraine to swear allegiance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The division staff and most of the troops refused the order; the division had a large number of ethnic Ukrainians but loyalty to the division and the VDV took precedence over ethnic roots.[6] On 1 October 1992, the 300th Guards Airborne Regiment left the division and became a separate unit. It was replaced by the 106th Guards Airborne Division's 331st Guards Airborne Regiment.[5]

The division was relocated from Bolgrad in Ukraine to Ivanovo after the fall of the Soviet Union during early 1993, following an agreement between Russia and Ukraine over dividing the division's equipment. A significant number of ethnic Ukrainian paratroopers (around 40% of the division's manpower) transferred to the Ukrainian military and formed the 1st Airmobile Division. The rest of the formation moved to Ivanovo in the spring of 1993 and by April the division was transferred to the Russian military.[6]

98th Guards Airborne Division in April 2012

In October 1992, the 300th Guards Parachute Regiment was detached and sent to Abakan in the Siberian Military District. In the city of Abakan, four years later, the 300th Guards Parachute Regiment was reorganised as the 100th independent Guards Airborne Brigade, but was then disbanded circa 1998.[7]

In December 1997, the 299th Guards Airborne Regiment was absorbed into the 217th Guards Airborne Regiment.[5]


Today, its two regiments, the 217th and 299th, are stationed near the Ivanovo Severny military-transport airfield.[8] However another source lists the two constituent regiments as the 217th and 331st, the later having transferred from 106th 'Tula' Guards Airborne Division in 1998.[9]

It took part in the 2008 Russo-Georgian War in the Battle of Tskhinvali of the South Ossetian theatre.

98th Guards Airborne Division in November 2016

On 26 August 2015, 18-year-old Pavel Bakhtin — about three months short of being demobilised — was a sentry for the 331st Guards Airborne Regiment at a field camp near Pesochnoye on the border between Yaroslavl and Kostroma Oblasts.[10] After duty, Bakhtin went back to the guard house without returning his weapon, and unleashed it on his comrades, killing six including himself and wounding three, one of whom later died of their wounds in hospital.[11]

War in Ukraine[edit]

In August 2014, 10 members of the division were captured, amidst the War in Donbass,[12] near the Russia–Ukraine border; according to Ukraine while conducting operations in Ukraine, after having crossed the border illegally; according to Russia they had "crossed the border by accident on an unmarked section".[13] Russia has been accused of, and has denied, supporting the pro-Russian separatists who battled the Ukrainian army in the war in Donbass.[14][15][16][17] A battalion tactical group of the division's 331st Guards Regiment allegedly participated in the August fighting. In February 2015, its 217th Guards Regiment and 1065th Guards Artillery Regiment were allegedly participating in the war.[18]

In January 2022, elements of the division's 217th Airborne Regiment were reportedly deployed to Belarus in the context of the Ukraine crisis.[19]

During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine,[2] the division participated in the Kyiv offensive. One of its regiments, the 331st Guards Airborne Regiment, suffered heavy losses;[20] its commander, Colonel Sergei Sukharev[21] was allegedly killed in action.[22][23] The division's commander Colonel Viktor Gunaza was dismissed by end of March. The division is currently involved in defensive operations around Klishchiivka alongside the 76th Guards Air Assault Division and the Storm-Z penal battalion during the 2023 Ukrainian counteroffensive[3]

On August 1, 2023, officials from the Yaroslavl Oblast announced the re-formation of the retired 299th Guards Parachute Regiment, which was later confirmed by Sergei Shoigu on September 26. Due to operational security the exact composition of this new Regiment is unknown, however, Russian military commentator Aleksei Sunonkin speculated that it was a support regiment of either motorized or regular infantry and not a VDV trained and equipped unit.[24]


Airborne Exercise 2019

In 2014, the subordinate units of the division were as follows:

  • 98th Division HQ - (Ivanovo)
    • 15th Maintenance Battalion (Ivanovo)
    • 36th Medical Detachment (airmobile) (Ivanovo)
    • 215th Reconnaissance Battalion в/ч 65391 (Ivanovo)
    • 674th Guards Signal Battalion (Ivanovo)
    • 661st Engineer Battalion (Ivanovo)
    • 728th Courier-Postal station (Ivanovo)
    • 969th Airborne Support Company (Ivanovo)
    • 1683rd Logistics Battalion (Ivanovo)
    • Training Center (Pesochnoe village, Yaroslavl region)
  • 217th Guards Airborne Regiment в/ч 62295 (Ivanovo)
  • 299th Guards Parachute Regiment (TBD) (Yaroslavl)
  • 331st Guards Airborne Regiment в/ч 71211 (Kostroma)
  • 1065th Guards Artillery Red Banner Regiment в/ч 62297 (Kostroma)
  • 5th Guards Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment в/ч 65376 (Ivanovo)
  • 243rd Military Transport Aviation Squadron in Ivanovo


  • Colonel Konstantin Vindushev (23 December 1943–10 November 1944)
  • General-mayor Vasily Larin (11 November 1944–January 1947)
  • General-mayor Ivan Moshlyak (January–May 1947)
  • General-mayor Mikhail Alimov (7 May 1947–May 1950)
  • General-mayor Valery Savchuk (May 1950–4 April 1952)
  • Colonel Pyotr Ryabov (4 April 1952–1 July 1954, promoted to general-mayor 3 August 1953)
  • Colonel Ivan Dedov (15 October 1954–30 May 1956)
  • Colonel Andrey Yevdan (30 May 1956–26 January 1957)
  • General-mayor Mikhail Sorokin (26 February 1957–12 September 1962)
  • General-mayor Dmitry Sukhorukov (12 September 1962–28 March 1966)
  • Colonel Nikolay Baranov (28 March 1966–1967, general-mayor 23 February 1967)
  • Colonel Gennady Samoylenko (1967–1973, general-mayor 19 February 1968)
  • Aleksey Anatolyevich Sokolov (1973–1977)
  • Vitali Mikhailovich Lebedev 1977—1982
  • Osvaldas Mikolovich Pikauskas 1982—1985
  • Aleksandr Alekseevich Chindarov 1985—1989
  • Valeri Aleksandrovich Vostrotin 1989—1992
  • Aleksandr Nikolaevich Bespalov 1992—1996
  • Aleksandr Ivanovich Lentsov 1996—2009
  • Aleksei Nikolaevich Ragozin 2010—2013
  • Sergei Nikolaevich Volyk 2013—2015
  • Dmitri Aleksandrovich Ulyanov 2015—2017
  • Nikolai Petrovich Choban 2017—2020
  • Viktor Igorevich Gunaza 2020—2022


  1. ^ a b "ведомственные эмблемы Российской Федерации". www.heraldicum.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b @mrkovalenko (17 March 2022). "The media in Kostroma province, Russia confirmed that five servicemen from their region were killed while at war in #Ukraine. The most high ranked among the dead is a commander of the 331st paratroopers' regiment Col. Sergei Sukharev (on a photo)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b "Institute for the Study of War".
  4. ^ "9th Guards Army - Axis History Forum". forum.axishistory.com. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Holm, Michael. "98th Guards Airborne Division". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  6. ^ a b Zaloga, Steven J. (1995). Inside the Blue Berets: A Combat History of Soviet and Russian Airborne Forces, 1930-1995. Novato, CA: Presidio Press. p. 295. ISBN 0891413995.
  7. ^ Holm, Michael (1 January 2015). "300th Guards Parachute Regiment [300-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный ордена Кутузова полк] Military Unit: 40390; from 10.92: 00000". Soviet Armed Forces 1945-1991. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  8. ^ Moscow Moskovskiy Komsomolets in Russian 8 July 2003
  9. ^ Baumgardner, Neil. "Russian Armed Forces Order of Battle". Archived from the original on 19 October 2009.
  10. ^ "Страшные вещи происходили там, где расстреляли шестерых" [Six shot in terrible event]. Sobesednik (in Russian). 28 August 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  11. ^ "После расстрела сослуживцев ефрейтор Бахтин открыл огонь по разведроте" [After shooting colleagues Efreitor Bakhtin opened fire indiscriminately]. LifeNews (in Russian). 29 August 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  12. ^ Ukraine crisis: President calls snap vote amid fighting, BBC News (25 August 2014)
    Ukraine conflict: Donetsk rebels parade captured soldiers, BBC News (24 August 2014)
  13. ^ Captured Russian troops 'in Ukraine by accident', BBC News (26 August 2014)
  14. ^ Kramer, Andrew E. (9 June 2014). "Russians Yearning to Join Ukraine Battle Find Lots of Helping Hands". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Putin Taunts US And Ukraine Leaders Ahead Of D-Day Anniversary Meeting, Business Insider', 4 June 2014.
  16. ^ CNN, Ukraine: Photos show undercover Russian troops, by Arwa Damon, Michael Pearson and Ed Payne, 22 April 2014.
  17. ^ The Guardian, Does US evidence prove Russian special forces are in eastern Ukraine?, by Ewen MacAskill, 22 April 2014.
  18. ^ Sutyagin, Igor (March 2015). "RUSI Briefing Paper: Russian Forces in Ukraine" (PDF). Royal United Services Institute. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 January 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  19. ^ "Rondeli Russian Military Digest: Issue 118, 24 January - 30 January 2022".
  20. ^ "The heavy losses of an elite Russian regiment in Ukraine". BBC News. 2 April 2022.
  21. ^ "The VDV's 98th Airborne Division's 331st Guards Airborne Regiment conducted a change-of-command today. Colonel Sergei Sukharev took command from Colonel Oleg Shmelev". Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  22. ^ @RALee85 (15 October 2021). "The VDV's 98th Airborne Division's 331st Guards Airborne Regiment conducted a change-of-command today. Colonel Sergei Sukharev took command from Colonel Oleg Shmelev, who took command in September 2019" (Tweet). Retrieved 17 March 2022 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ "Анатолій Штірліц". Telegram. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  24. ^ Hird, Karolina. "Russia's Military Restructuring and Expansion Hindered by the Ukraine War". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 13 November 2023.