Transcaucasian Military District

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Transcaucasian Military District
Закавказский военный округ.jpg
Location of the Transcaucasian Military District (red) in the Soviet Union, 1991
Active1935 – September 1992 or December 1992
Country Soviet Union
TypeMilitary district
Part ofSoviet Armed Forces
EngagementsWorld War II

The Transcaucasian Military District, a military district of the Soviet Armed Forces, traces its history to May 1921 and the incorporation of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia into the Soviet Union. It was disbanded by being redesignated as a Group of Forces in the early 1990s after the Soviet Union collapse. The military district formed as a basis of the modern day armed forces of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.


It was originally formed from the Red Army's Separate Caucasian Army, which became the Red Banner Caucasian Army in August 1923. On 17 May 1935 the Red Banner Caucasus Army was redesignated the Transcaucasian Military District. The Georgian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani national formations, plus units from the 11th Soviet Red Army, all joined the new district about this time.

In July 1936 the District's formations and units received designations according to the countrywide numbering scheme and became: the 9th (formerly 1st Caucasus) Mountain Rifle Division, named for the Central Executive Committee of the Georgian SSR; the 20th (formerly 3rd Caucasus) Mountain Rifle Division; the 47th (former 1st) Georgian Mountain Rifle Division, named for Joseph Stalin; the 63rd (former 2nd) Georgian Mountain Rifle Division, named for Mikhail Frunze; the 76th Armenian Mountain Rifle Division, named after Comrade Voroshilov, and the 77th Аzerbaijani Mountain Rifle Division, named for Grigoriy Ordzhonikidze.[1]

On 22 June 1941 the District consisted of the 3rd (4th, 20th, and 47th Rifle Divisions), 23rd Rifle Corps (136th and 138th Rifle Divisions) and 40th Rifle Corps (9th and 31st Rifle Division), the 28th Mechanised Corps, which included the 6th and 54th Tank Divisions and the 236th Motorised Division (ru:236-я стрелковая дивизия), five unattached divisions – the 63rd, 76th, and 77th Rifle, the 17th Mountain Cavalry Division and the 24th Cavalry Division, and three fortified regions.[2]

On 1 August 1941 the 46th Army was formed from the 3rd Rifle Corps headquarters. 45th Army was formed from the 23rd Rifle Corps. 45th and 46th Armies guarded the Turkish border. The 44th Army was formed from the 40th Rifle Corps and the 47th Army formed from the 27th Mechanized Corps. Both armies were deployed on the Iranian border. On 23 August, the military district became the Transcaucasus Front. District headquarters was subordinated to the front's military council and directed the formation of new units. It was disbanded on 14 September 1941.

On 28 January 1942, the military district was reformed when the Caucasian Front was divided into the Transcaucasian Military District and the Crimean Front. The district was commanded by Ivan Tyulenev and included the 45th and 46th Armies, as well as 4 rifle divisions and a rifle brigade. On 28 April 1942, the district became the second formation of the Transcaucasian Front.

On 9 July 1945, the Tbilisi and Baku Military Districts were formed from the Transcaucasian Front. Tbilisi Military District Headquarters was in Tbilisi and was formed from the Transcaucasian Front headquarters. The district controlled forces in the Georgian and Armenian SSRs. The district was commanded by Colonel General Sergei Trofimenko, former 27th Army commander. The headquarters of the Baku Military District was formed from 69th Army headquarters and was located in Baku. The district controlled forces in the Azerbaijan SSR and Dagestan ASSR. It was commanded by Colonel general Vladimir Kolpakchi, former 69th Army commander. In October 1945, Army General Ivan Maslennikov took command.[3] On 15 November 1945, control of forces in the Nakhichevan ASSR was transferred from the Tbilisi Military District to the Baku Military District. Lieutenant General Mikhail Ozimin became Tbilisi Military District commander in April 1946.[4] In May 1946, both districts became part of the Transcaucasian Military District, commanded by Maslennikov.[5]

After the war the Transcaucasus Front reverted to being a part of the Headquarters Transcaucasus Military District (ZakVO), in Tbilisi. In 1979 Scott and Scott reported the District' headquarters address as Tbilisi-4, Ulitsa Dzneladze, Dom 46. The District became part of the Southern Direction, headquartered in Baku and including the North Caucasus and Turkestan Military Districts, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[6]


Commanders of the Transcaucasian Military District (1935–1941)[edit]

Commanders of the Transcaucasian Military District (1946–1992)[edit]

Commanders of the Group of Russian Forces of the Transcaucasus[edit]

  • Reut, Fyodor (1993–1997), Colonel General
  • Andreyev, Vladimir (1997–2000), Colonel General
  • Zolotov, Nikolay (August 2000–), General Lieutenant[7]

Forces in the late 1980s[edit]

In 1988, dispositions within the District were as follows:[5]

The Soviet Air Forces' presence in the district consisted of the 34th Air Army. It was made up of 2 aviation divisions (36th Bomber and 283rd Fighter) and six independent aviation regiments (total 12 aviation regiments).[18]

Army composition:[18][19]

  • 80th Separate Assault Aviation Regiment – Sitalchay Su-25
  • 313th Separate Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment Berlin Order of the Red Banner, Order of Kutuzov' Vaziani Su-17R (former 93rd Separate Observation and Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment)
  • 882nd Separate Reconnaissance Regiment – Dollyar Su-24МR, MiG-25RB
  • 36th Bomber Aviation Division – Bolshoye Shiraki[20] (Шираки)
    • 34th Bomber Aviation Regiment Tashkent Red Banner, Order of Kutuzov' Kirovabad Su-24 (Russian: 34 бап)
    • 143rd Bomber Aviation Regiment – Kopitnari Su-24М
    • 168th Separate Guards Bomber Regiment – Shiraki Su-24M
    • 976th Bomber Aviation Regiment Insterburg Orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov Kyurdamir Air Base Su-24, Su-17 (former 976th Fighter Aviation Regiment)
  • 283rd Fighter Aviation Division Kamyshin Red Banner Vaziani (283инад) (Military Unit Number 06941)
    • 176th Fighter Aviation Regiment 'Berlin Red Banner' Miha Tskhakaya (Tskhakaia) MiG-29 (176 иап) (в/ч 42080)
    • 841st Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment 'Baranovichsk Red Banner, Order of Suvorov' Meria (Makharadze) Su-17 (30 гв. иап 1945)
    • 982nd Fighter Aviation Regiment – Vaziani (Rustavi) MiG-23MLD (982 FAR 1945) (в/ч 40501)

The Soviet Air Defence Forces had the 19th Army of Air Defence Forces located in the District.

Russian Transcaucasus Group of Forces[edit]

Russian troops leaving Georgia in 2007

By Ukaz No. 260 of the President of the Russian Federation of 19 March 1992 the Soviet Transcaucasian Military District and the Caspian Flotilla were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation.[21]

On 26 September 1992 the district was disbanded, according to Michael Holm[5] and Feskov et al. 2013.[22] Another, earlier report said on 1 January 1993, the District became the Group of Russian Forces in the Transcaucasus (Russian Группа российских войск в Закавказье – ГРВЗ; GRVZ).[23] After many of the divisions listed above had disbanded[24] or become part of the former republics' armed forces, in the mid 1990s the GRVZ's dispositions were:

  • Headquarters, Tbilisi
  • 12th Military Base, Batumi, Adjara AR, Georgia
  • 62nd Military Base, Akhalkalaki, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Georgia. Former 147th Motor Rifle Division. In October 1999, the base had: – personnel – 1,964 servicemen – equipment – 41 MBT, 114 AIFV/APC (BMP and BTR); 46 various military vehicles; 61 artillery systems; and 2 pontoon-bridging vehicles. The base includes the 409th and 412th motor-rifle regiments; the 817th artillery regiment; the 889th communication battalion; and the 65th artillery detachment.
  • 102nd Military Base, Gyumri, Armenia
  • 137th Military Base, Vaziani Military Base, Georgia (former 171st Guards District Training Centre) In October 1999, it was reported to have the 405th motorrifle regiment with 773 servicemen; 31 MBT; 70 AIFV/APC; 16 artillery systems; and one pontoon-bridging vehicle; the 566th communication battalion – 193 servicemen; 5 mobile radio stations P-145BM; and the 311th Separate Helicopter Squadron – 161 servicemen, 5 Mi-24 attack helicopters and 5 Mi-8MT transport helicopters. The 405th MRR had been absorbed from the 10th Guards Motor Rifle Division formerly headquartered in Kutaisi.
  • 142nd Tank Repair Factory, Tbilisi. In October 1999, it was reported to have 20 servicemen; and equipment including 28 MBT (T-72), 103 AIFV/APC and two self-propelled howitzers 2C3 "Acatsia".[25]
  • Khelvachauri-based (Adjaria) military depot. In October 1999, it had 56 servicemen. 29 AIFV – 5 BMP-1 and 24 BMP-2 – were stored there.
  • Other smaller formations and units, including an independent helicopter squadron

General Major Aleksander Studenikin, former deputy commander of the Moscow Military District's 20th Army, commanded the Group in 2004 with General (Major?) Andrei Popov as his deputy.[26]

The Russian presence at Vaziani was withdrawn in the late 1990s and an agreement over the withdrawal of the 12th and 62nd Bases by 2007–08 was made in 2005. The Akhalkalaki 62nd base was officially transferred on schedule to Georgia on 27 June 2007.[27] The 12th Military Base in Batumi was transferred earlier than scheduled; scheduled for February 2008, it was transferred on 13 November 2007. The ‘Zvezda’ command post (probably the former District war headquarters) in the town of Mtskheta, just north of Tbilisi, was handed over by early September 2005.[28] Due to the espionage conflict between Russia and Georgia, the Transcaucasus Group of Forces headquarters in Tbilisi was closed down ahead of schedule: 287 Russian servicemen left Georgia by 31 December 2006.[29]

Even after the GRVZ was totally withdrawn, Russian troops continue to remain in peacekeeping roles in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, de jure parts of Georgia. There are about 1,600 men on the Abkhazian-Georgian boundary (serving alongside UNOMIG) and a battalion in South Ossetia. According to the Russian authorities, the Gudauta military base is also now used by the peacekeeping forces, but no international monitoring has ever been allowed there.


  1. ^ A.G. Lenskii (А. Г. Ленский), Сухопутные силы РККА в предвоенные годы. Справочник. — Санкт-Петербург Б&К, 2000, p.151-2
  2. ^, Administrative Order of Battle, Transcaucasus Military District, 22 June 1941
  3. ^ Holm, Michael. "Baku Military District". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  4. ^ Holm, Michael. "Tbilisi Military District". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Holm, Michael. "Transcaucasus Military District". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  6. ^ William E Odom, The Collapse of the Soviet Military, Yale University Press, 1998, p.29
  7. ^ Scott and Scott, Russian Military Directory 2002, 181.
  8. ^ Holm, Michael. "104th Guards Airborne Division". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  9. ^ Schofield, The Russian Elite, Greenhill Books, 1993, 249.
  10. ^ Holm, Michael. "100th Guards Training Motorised Rifle Division". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  11. ^ Holm, Michael. "7th Guards Combined Arms Army". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  12. ^ Holm, Michael. "91st Motorised Rifle Division". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  13. ^ Holm, Michael. "23rd Guards Motorised Rifle Division". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  14. ^ Holm, Michael. "75th Motorised Rifle Division". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  15. ^ Holm/Feskov 2015,31st Army Corps, accessed 2015
  16. ^ Holm, Michael. "325th Independent Helicopter Squadron". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  17. ^ Holm, Michael. "793rd Independent Helicopter Squadron". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  18. ^ a b Feskov, V.I.; K.A. Kalashnikov; V.I. Golikov (2004). The Soviet Army in the Years of the 'Cold War' (1945–1991). Tomsk: Tomsk University Press. p. 144. ISBN 5-7511-1819-7.
  19. ^ Holm, Michael. "34th Air Army". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  20. ^ Holm, Michael. "36th Fighter-Bomber Aviation Division". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  21. ^ Указ Президента РФ от 19.03.1992 № 260 «О переходе Закавказского военного округа и Каспийской флотилии Военно-морского флота временно под юрисдикцию Российской Федерации» Archived 31 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Feskov et al 2013, 527, 529.
  23. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ See Feskov et al 2013, 528.
  25. ^ Army and Society in Georgia October 1999
  26. ^ Nino Kopaleishvili, ‘Bomb Injures Russian Military Official’, Tbilisi Messenger, 8 April 2004, p.5
  27. ^ Russia Transfers Akhalkalaki Military Base to Georgia. Civil Georgia. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2007.
  28. ^ ‘Zvezda was transferred to Georgia’, Georgian MOD website,, accessed 29 October 2005.
  29. ^ Russia to withdraw Tbilisi garrison early – minister, RIA Novosti, 10 October 2006
  • Feskov, V.I.; Golikov, V.I.; Kalashnikov, K.A.; Slugin, S.A. (2013). Вооруженные силы СССР после Второй Мировой войны: от Красной Армии к Советской [The Armed Forces of the USSR after World War II: From the Red Army to the Soviet: Part 1 Land Forces] (in Russian). Tomsk: Scientific and Technical Literature Publishing. ISBN 9785895035306.