NVO correspondent Vladimir Mukhin recently reported that the MOD will move the Mulino-based 20th Combined Arms Army (CAA) to Voronezh, near Russia’s border with Ukraine. The governor of Voronezh apparently informed local media about the army’s impending return to the oblast after meeting with Western MD Commander, General-Colonel Anatoliy Sidorov.
Mukhin wrote that the MOD wouldn’t confirm his report, but didn’t deny it.
The 20th CAA was based in Voronezh until 2010, when the MOD, under Anatoliy Serdyukov, transferred it to Mulino (west of Nizhnyy Novgorod). The 22nd CAA, then in Mulino, disbanded. Mukhin hints that, in Mulino, the 20th was a relatively hollow reserve force.
The change could place a large formation on Moscow’s Western frontline, and improve its base and training infrastructure. The Boguchar training ground will be recommissioned and enlarged. The MOD also plans to build a new military garrison town next to Baltimor air base, just south of Voronezh.
Enlarging Boguchar (200 km south of Voronezh, 60 km from the Ukrainian border), according to Mukhin, presents a military administrative problem. The bigger training area could spill over into Rostov Oblast and the Southern MD. According to Mukhin, local media report Boguchar will house a motorized rifle brigade.
Mukhin says military experts conclude that the redeployment resulted from changes in the Defense Plan recently signed by Putin and from the experience of a year of fighting in eastern Ukraine.
He quotes former Ground Troops Main Staff Chief, General-Lieutenant Sergey Skokov:
“If the 20th CAA staff deploys in Voronezh again, this would be a correct decision I think. It was obvious then for many military leaders and experts that the transfer of this large formation [объединение] from Voronezh to Mulino (Nizhegorod Oblast) left western Russia naked, and created difficulties for constructing a reliable defense there. But neither former Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov nor General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov heeded those opinions then. Now these mistakes have to be corrected. And it will be, it seems, expedient to correct them since the situation in Ukraine is tense, and the NATO countries are strengthening their grouping in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders.”
According to one source, these formations are subordinate to the 20th CAA:
- 4th Tank Division (Naro-Fominsk);
- 2nd Motorized Rifle Division (Kalininets);
- 6th Independent Tank Brigade (Mulino);
- 9th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade (Nizhnyy Novogorod);
- 288th Artillery Brigade (Mulino);
- 448th Missile Brigade (Kursk);
- 112th Missile Brigade (Shuya);
- 53rd SAM Brigade (Kursk);
- 49th SAM Brigade (Smolensk);
- 9th Command and Control Brigade (Mulino);
- 69th Independent Material-Technical Support Brigade (Mulino);
- 262nd Military Equipment Storage and Repair Base (Boguchar);
- 99th Military Equipment Storage and Repair Base (Tver);
- 7015th Military Equipment Storage and Repair Base (Mulino).
Those around Mulino or Nizhnyy (Shuya, Tver) would be candidates to move southwest if this pans out. But what about the 4th and 2nd divisions? Traditional praetorian guards for Kremlin rulers against political challenges and domestic disturbances, they have been southwest of Moscow for many years. It seems unlikely they’ll move in these times.