Army of Transnistria: size, composition

Army of Transnistria: size, composition
Army of Transnistria: size, composition

The collapse of the Soviet Union was relatively bloodless. The majority of the population of the republics, which were recently considered fraternal, supported the idea of ​​division into sovereign states in the hope that life would become easier, richer and more carefree. Ex alted nationalists came to power in many newly formed countries, skillfully posing as adherents of democracy and so-called “Western values.”

Further, the fighting began, which arose in the expanses of the former USSR either simultaneously or with some interruption. They were vaguely called inter-ethnic conflicts, but in terms of bloodshed they were not inferior to local wars. The calm and peaceful Moldova did not stand aside either. The leadership of the republic decided to establish the unity of power by force without taking into account some features of the country's historical development. In opposition to this military adventure, the Transnistrian army arose, which in a short time became the most combat-ready in the region and successfully repelled the attack. And what does it represent today, almost a quarter of a century later?

transnistrian army

History of Moldova and Transnistria

Since the time of Dacia, Moldova has not been sovereignstate. Most of the current territory belonged to royal Romania until 1940, and the national entity within the Soviet Ukraine had only the rights of autonomy. After two ultimatum notes sent by the government of the USSR, the Romanian leadership ceded all of Bessarabia, showing a certain prudence. Otherwise, the Red Army, no doubt, would have used force to expand the borders of the USSR. In early June 1940, the 7th session of the USSR Supreme Council officially established the Moldavian SSR as part of a common union state. The MSSR included 6 former Romanian counties and 6 districts of the Ukrainian SSR, which previously constituted the autonomous republic of the MASSR. After the war, the borders of Moldova moved, but only slightly. In the 1950s and 1980s, the national composition of the population of cities also changed significantly; specialists and military pensioners from other regions of the USSR moved to Tiraspol and Bendery. At the decisive moment of the confrontation, many of them formed the newly formed army of Transnistria.

Year 91

In 1991, after gaining national independence, it turned out that a significant part of the population of Moldova dreams of reunification with Romania. Under this idea, a historical base was made, which included the myth of the supposedly existing brotherhood between two peoples, the great European, and another, smaller one. This theory was also supported by the almost complete identity of the languages, the commonality of the most widely professed religious denomination, and the similarity of many customs. However, there was something else. Elderly people remembered that in royal Romania the Moldavians were treated as some kind of creatures of a different kind.varieties whose lot was mainly field work.

Nevertheless, the European idea captured the minds, and the Supreme Council seriously took up the issue of possible integration, without even asking if the "big brothers" want to unite with the "younger ones". All this led to the fact that the inhabitants of Dubossary, Tiraspol and Bender expressed their disagreement with the course pursued by the ruling regime of the Republic of Moldova and created the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. This new quasi-state formation has acquired all the attributes of a sovereign subject of international law, which de jure is not such. In fact, the army of Transnistria (at that time it was called the Republican Guard) was created on September 24, 1991. Soon she had to fight.

transnistrian army strength


Almost a year later, on June 19, 1992, the leadership of Moldova decided to restore territorial integrity by force. The first clashes took place in Dubossary back in March 1991, now they took place on the outskirts of Bendery. The resistance of the Moldovan police and units of the armed forces was provided by the army of Transnistria, which in fact represents detachments of volunteer militias, on the side of which the Cossack units that arrived in the conflict region acted. The growth in the number of defenders was facilitated by numerous casu alties among the civilian population and the excesses of the attacking side. The 14th Army of the Russian Federation did not take part in Transnistria, but its weapons depots were taken under control by representatives of the Transnistrian Armed Forces. The result of the summer war was thousands of deaths from bothsides, and stalemate at the front. One of the first attempts to forcibly impose "love for the motherland", then, in 1992, demonstrated the complete impotence of the army's actions against the militias supported by the population. The lesson was not learned, similar "operations" continue today.

First commanders

The Republican Guard was created under the leadership of the professional military of the Soviet school, which were all the commanders of the army in Transnistria. The first of them was the deputy commander of the Republican Guard, Colonel S.G. Borisenko, and then Stefan Kitsak, an Afghan veteran who had previously served in the 14th army of the deputy chief of staff. It was he who created the structure of the armed forces and carried out the first mobilization activities. In the autumn of 1992, he was replaced as Minister of Defense by S. G. Khazheev, also a highly qualified officer who devoted most of his life to serving in the Soviet Army. Under his leadership, the reorganization of the armed forces of the unrecognized republic was carried out, as a result of which the army of Pridnestrovie became a formidable force, superior in combat capability to the main probable regional adversary, despite the fact that it is armed with obsolete weapons produced back in the USSR. At present, the armed forces of Moldova, judging by their modest size and weapons, have abandoned attempts to military solution of the territorial problem.

romanian army in transdniestria

Probable enemy

The Romanian army did not fight in Transnistria, but the officers of this country helped in planning the "liberation campaign"probably provided, as did the volunteers who arrived. In the years that have passed since the 1992 summer war, many officers of the armed forces of Moldova have been trained in NATO countries and the Russian Federation. The result of this advanced training, however, is small, since the models of weapons that are in fact at the disposal of the national army have long been outdated. The military academy Alexandru cel Bun in Chisinau is considered the main forge of command personnel. The National Army of Moldova (NAM) includes two types of troops (ground and air forces), its personnel does not exceed four and a half thousand military personnel. Organizationally, we are divided into three brigades:

- "Moldova" (B alti).

- "Stefan cel Mare" (Chisinau).

- Dacia (Cahul).

Also, the Moldovan army includes a peacekeeping battalion (22nd), through which almost everyone who has served the first six months "passes" (they are mobilized for a year in total).

There are no tanks in the Moldovan army, planes and helicopters are rather symbolic.

The military structure of the active PMR Armed Forces

The army of Transnistria looks more impressive in all respects, numbering 7.5 thousand people. The complete set is made according to draft and contract principles. The organizational structure as a whole resembles the Moldovan one, with a support-regional dislocation. Brigades (divisions) are deployed in the four largest cities (Tiraspol, Bendery, Dubossary and Rybnitsa). In each of them - three motorized rifle battalions, which, in turn, consist of four companies. In addition, the brigade includes a mortar battery andseparate platoons (engineer-sapper and communications). The total number of each division is approximately one and a half thousand military personnel.

army commanders in transnistria

Tanks and artillery

The trophies of the summer war of 1992, which the army stationed in Pridnestrovie did not have time to withdraw, became the source of weapons for the PMR Armed Forces. Tanks are represented by three types (T-72, T-64B and T-55), their total number is estimated at seven dozen, but according to experts, there are no more than 18 of them in good condition.

Heavy artillery is also available, it includes 40 BM-21 Grad systems, three dozen cannons and howitzers, as well as mortars of various calibers, Shilka ZSU and self-propelled guns.

In addition to heavy weapons, the TMR army also has compact weapons at its disposal, which have proven their effectiveness in the course of conflicts of recent decades - MANPADS ("Strela", "Igla", "Duga"), RPG grenade launchers (7, 18, 22, 26, 27) and SPG-9. To combat armored vehicles (which Moldova practically does not have, with the exception of infantry fighting vehicles and infantry fighting vehicles), anti-tank guided missiles "Fagot", "Malyutka" and "Competition" are intended.


The fact that the PMR has its own air force is reminded to the people by parades held on public holidays, during which the Transnistrian army is shown to citizens. The composition and technical fleet, however, looks quite modest. There are few planes and helicopters in total, 29, among them the honored workers An-2 and An-26, intended for cargo and transport transportation or landing paratroopers (the Airborne Forces are also available), and sportsYak-18.

In the conditions of modern combat, the direct support of the troops can be provided by rotary-winged vehicles, also of Soviet production, which, however, are in service with many other countries - Mi-24, Mi-8 and Mi-2.

With respect to the Air Force, formally Moldova has superiority, it has MiG-29 attack aircraft-interceptors, however, there are few of them left, especially in good condition. Most of the Soviet combat vehicles were sold abroad.

the size of the Russian army in transdniestria


There is another important aspect in which the armed forces of Moldova and the army of Transnistria differ significantly. The strength of the TMR Armed Forces in the event of a threat can increase by more than ten times due to the mobilization of reservists. Retraining courses for officers and privates of the reserve, as well as their fees, are held regularly, and for the most part, those liable for military service do not seek to evade them, including those who hold high positions in power structures. In addition, there is a separate Cossack regiment, units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the KGB. Separate special battalions "Delta" and "Dniester" are staffed by well-trained professionals, another one, related to the police, is also considered elite. For comparison, the total mobilization reserve of Moldova is approaching one hundred thousand people, although the outflow of citizens from the country is very high, and it is difficult to objectively assess it both quantitatively and qualitatively. Collections and training of reservists in the country have not been carried out for many years.

russian army in transnistria

What are the Russians doing in Transnistria?

The Russian army in Transnistria was introduced in 1992 as part of the peacekeeping forces. The local population greeted her as their saviors, and although the soldiers of the RF Armed Forces did not directly participate in the hostilities, Pridnestrovie owes its victory to a large extent to them. If before the collapse of the USSR, the 14th Army was a super-powerful strike force, today it is almost completely withdrawn to the territory of the Russian Federation. The total strength of the Russian army in Transnistria is currently less than 3,000 servicemen and 1,000 civilians. A significant proportion of them are local residents who have taken citizenship and the oath of the Russian Federation. What do they do and what service do they serve?


The peacekeeping battalion, present in Transnistria under the OSCE mandate, has 335 Russian servicemen. In addition to them, representatives of the armed forces of Moldova (453 people), PMR (490 people) and observers from Ukraine (10 people) carry out joint control of the situation.

For all the time that has passed since the introduction of peacekeeping forces into the conflict zone, not a single case of the use of weapons was recorded, not a single person died.

The small size of the composition and its purely divisive functions serve as a serious argument against the assumptions proclaimed by Moldovan, and more recently by Ukrainian nationalists, about the allegedly aggressive nature of the Russian presence in the region.

Russian army in Transnistria

Security warehouse 1411

The Russian army in Transnistria performs another important task. NearRybnitsa is the village of Kolbasna, which would be an unremarkable settlement if it were not for the monstrous size of an ammunition depot with an area of ​​130 hectares in its vicinity. Here are bombs, shells and many other military equipment taken from Eastern Europe and stored from earlier times. The total weight of the explosives contained in the ammunition exceeds 20 kilotons, that is, in terms of power it approaches the atomic bomb "Kid" dropped on Hiroshima. Nobody knows what to do with this dangerous cargo today. Storage conditions worsen every year, the container is often destroyed. The same number had already been neutralized earlier, but times were calmer then.

The 83rd and 113th Separate Guards Motorized Rifles and the 540th Control and Security Battalion do not allow a terrible disaster to happen.

army of transnistria

What's next?

Today, Transnistria is a narrow strip of land sandwiched between hostile countries, Moldova and Ukraine, which have effectively declared a blockade of the unrecognized republic. In this situation, the TMR army is on high alert. Another armed conflict on the territory of the former USSR, besides it, is prevented by only one force - the peacekeepers. The second attempt to integrate Transnistria into Moldova could turn into a big disaster. The question of how effectively the TMR army will be able to operate is not paramount today. The main thing is to avoid war altogether.

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