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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: March 25, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Putin Decrees Title of 'Guards' to 3 Army Units for 'Bravery in Combat in Fatherland's Interests' - But Where?
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President Putin has signed decrees awarding three army units the title of "Guards": the 11th and 83rd separate assault brigades and the 38th separate communications regiments of the Airborne Troops (VDV), reported.

The decrees were published today on the Russian government's website:


The text of the decree says (translation by The Interpreter):

"For massive heroism and bravery, determination and courage, displayed by the personnel of the brigades in combat actions in defense of the Fatherland and state interests under conditions of armed conflicts, and taking into account its merits in peace time."

The units can now all add the word "Guard" to their titles as an honor.

As says, the date and place of these "combat actions" isn't indicated in the decrees, however.

We took a look at the 83rd's VKontakte club page with lots of pictures (they're based in the Russian town of Ussuriysk) and nothing jumped out as saying these soldiers were in Ukraine or Rostov Region near the Ukrainian border -- or anywhere outside Russia -- but we're still looking. added that these brigades were known to have fought in the two Chechen wars:

It is known that the personnel of the 83rd brigade took part in the first Chechen campaign from 1994-1995 as part of integrated divisions. The brigade itself was not re-based in the North Caucasus. The 38th separate communications regimentalso fulfilled combat missions in both Chechen campaigns

There are no reports about the participation of the soldiers of these three units in combat actions after the official end of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya.

No doubt lots of people will be combing over references to these units to see where they have been and we'll update soon. We don't see them in the list of Russian army units confirmed by and other journalists to have been deployed in Ukraine.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick