Putins signs northwestern regions into Leningrad military district

By admin - February 26, 2024 The Independent Barents Observer

The decree is posted on the portal of Russia’s legal information. 

With the move, the Northern Fleet is now officially absorbed into a renewed Leningrad Military District.

The Northern Fleet Joint Strategic Command was given the status of a military district on 1 January 2021, a move seen to mirror the importance of Russia’s Arctic regions. In geographical size, the Northern Fleet was until today the third largest of Russia’s five military districts.

At the same time, what was the Western Military District is now split into the new Moscow and Leningrad districts.

The Leningrad Military District includes the Republic of Karelia, the Komi Republic, and the oblasts of Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Novgorod and Pskov, as well as the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and the City of St. Petersburg.

Dictator Putin’s decree was signed the same day as the Hungarian Parliament voted to ratify Sweden as NATO’s 32nd member state. 

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu last December said “retaliatory measures are required” as both Finland and Sweden join NATO.

“Given NATO’s desire to build up military potential near the Russian borders, as well as to expand the North Atlantic Alliance at the expense of Finland and Sweden, retaliatory measures are required to create an appropriate grouping of troops in Northwest Russia,” Shoigu said.

Katarzyna Zysk, a professor with the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS), agrees that the ongoing restructuring is linked to the fact that Russia has got a much long land-border with NATO. 

“The dividing of the Western Military District into the Moscow Military District and Leningrad Military District, as well as possibly subordinate the Northern Fleet to the latter, is a response to NATO enlargement in Northern Europe and expected further changes in allied defense posture,” Zysk previously said to the Barents Observer.

She explains that seen with Russian eyes, it is necessary to improve the ability to fight full-scale land operations along the Finish border and in the Baltic theatre of military operations.

In addition to the new Leningrad- and Moscow military districts, Putin’s decree also adds the illegally occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson as part of the Southern Military District.

The changes in Russia’s military districts take effect from March 1, Putin writes in his decree