Putin raises the Northern Fleet’s strategic role

Starting in 2021, the fleet will have a status equivalent to Russia's four military districts.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - June 8, 2020
Severomorsk, on the Kola Bay near Murmansk, is home to Russia’s Northern Fleet. (The Independent Barents Observer)

In an early June decree, Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the status of the Northern Fleet to one equivalent to a military district.

Beginning on January 1, 2021, the Northern Fleet will have the same status as Russia’s four other military districts, the June 5 decree reads.

Today, Russia’s military is divided into four districts; the Western, Southern, Central and Eastern.

With the move, the Republic of Komi, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Murmansk Oblast and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug will be part of the Northern Fleet command and no longer belong to the Western Military District.

This will be the first time in Russian history that a fleet becomes equal in command to a geographical military district. Since 2014, the Northern Fleet became the Joint Strategic Command of the Arctic, including onshore military installations along the Northern Sea Route. Since then, the Northern Fleet has not been part of the Western Military District.

The command is headquartered in Severomorsk on the Kola Peninsula and its current commander is Vice Admiral Aleksandr Moiseyev.

Geographically, the Southern, Central and Eastern military districts remain unchanged.

Putin has given his government a deadline of October 1 to prepare a plan for fulfilling the country’s new military-administrative division.