Modernization of Russian troops in the Northern territories

There is no clear information about Russian troops to the “Northern territories”


As I often say in my articles, Russia continues to modernize forces on the “Northern territories”. However, all the details to understand the reality of the situation is extremely difficult. For example, it is believed that the number of Russian troops in the Northern territories consists of 3,500 people. This follows from the White paper on defence of Japan:

“During the meeting of defense Ministers of Japan and Russia in 1997, the Russian Minister Igor Rodionov said that in 1995 the number of troops stationed in the South Kuril Islands, has been reduced to 3,500. The Russian defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who visited the Kuril Islands in July 2005, stated that the membership will not shrink or grow, stressing the intention to maintain the status quo. In February 2011 one of the Russian generals said that with the reformatting of units in the brigade the number of troops, amounting to 3,500 people, will be saved” (2016, White book on defence of Japan).

In other words, the reality is that Japan believes the information the Russian side. This confidence should stand in its own intelligence activities of the Japanese self-defense forces…

Also unknown numerical strength of the army, Navy and air force, deployed on both Islands (as I note below, the “Northern territories” there is a small air force and Navy).

There’s some information about the structure of the armed forces, so I will tell about it below.

The military power of the Northern territories

However, if you carefully analyze open-source information, you can accidentally stumble on some details.

For example, in recent years, Russia began to publish online information about tenders for the construction of military facilities. In 2015, information was published on the state order for the restructuring of military facilities on the Iturup and Kunashir. I found this information on the website of “Spetsstroy”.

Under this project covered only the objects of the 18th machinegun and artillery division. In addition, based on this information, it is possible to draw some conclusions about the distribution of the armed forces, what was not known.

I brought together a variety of information about public contracts and brought the following results.


The estimated number of troops: 1540 people


Officers: 230 people (with families)


Soldiers: 293 people


Contractors: 1017 persons (20 women)


Other staff: 300 people


Seconded from other regions: 30 people


Civilian: 240 people


Employees of other institutions (Bank, FSB, the investigative Committee, the Tribunal, the prosecution): 30 people



The estimated number of troops: 1108 people


Officers: 125 people (with families)


Soldiers: 96 human


Contract: 887 persons (20 women)


Other staff: 260 people


Seconded from other regions: 20 people


Civilian: 240 people

The true population of the “Northern territories”

Based on the above, the number of land forces, located on the “Northern territories” is 2648 people, with the exception of seconded military personnel. If we consider missile forces, naval and helicopter units, it turns out you can trust the information of the Russian side about 3,500 people.

Many officers are on the Islands together with their families, so it is difficult to estimate their exact number. Meanwhile, according to Russia, schools and gardens of Iturup there are 390 children (150 children in the garden and 240 children in school), Kunashiri — 225 children (75 children in the garden and 150 children in the school). Presumably, this number includes children of military men of the Navy. Probably, in each family one child. If we add the wives of officers, we can assume that the number of families is approximately a thousand people.

The number of civilian employees in the two Islands is 500. Iturup there are 30 employees of other agencies, so, presumably, the total number of people associated with the armed forces of Etorofu and Kunashiri, is about five thousand people.

According to the foreign Ministry of Japan, the population is 3608 of Iturup, Kunashir — 7364 man. This number does not include military personnel, so the true population of more than half.

Simulations help to evaluate military equipment

Information on public contracts, presented above, there are interesting nuances which can be useful for assessment of Russian military equipment deployed to the Northern territories. It — simulators for training of personnel. Previously, it was not clear what technique have Russian troops in the Northern territories, however, the types of simulators help you determine what equipment is currently, and what will appear in the future.

These simulations correspond to the following technique (for Iturup and Kunashir):


• full flight simulator


simulator MT-LB (a Soviet amphibious armored personnel carrier): two pieces


• trainer for piloting and firing


— TEK-184-PRD (T-72B)


— TTV-184 (unknown)


— TR-184 (unknown)


— SAZ-184 (the gun that is installed on the technique)


• simulator for firing


— 9Ф700-1 (simulator training grenade launcher RPG-7V)


— 9Ф635М (simulator for training gunners-gunners MANPADS “Igla”)


— 1У40 (trainer for learning the firing of small arms AK-74)


Attention is drawn to the simulators, the title of which is the figure 184. 184 is the code name for the tank T-72B at the time of its development. Consequently, this means that the tanks T-72B will be disposed as on the Iturup and Shikotan.

Meanwhile, before the Islands were T-80BV, which is probably why T-72B (maybe it will be T-72B3, which the Russian army puts into service now) will replace them.

The latest missiles deployed on Kunashir


March 30, the newspaper “Sankei” published photos of anti-ship missile complexes “Ball” that were deployed on Kunashir (photo from a private source).

On the placement of these missiles became known in November of last year, but the images were published for the first time.

On these pictures you can also understand a lot.

Judging by the surrounding landscape, “Balls” were placed in the village Lagoon, where the ground forces. That is, the new naval base was not built.

Angara — inflatable. Like Angara, the Russian troops began to be put into service in recent years to improve storage conditions.

Complexes “Ball” are in the hangar in two rows. In the right row are setup with eight anti-ship missiles KH-35 “Uran” (range 130 kilometers). In the background is a mobile command post. In the left lane are the cars supply of ammunition. They have eight missiles KH-35.

The vehicles in the background are not clearly visible, however, it is likely the missile and the cars supply. Apparently, in one such hangar is one connection (command center, two missile launchers and two car supply).

In addition, if we consider the Lagoon on satellite images in the South of the military base also you can see the concrete Foundation for installation of the same hangar. Therefore, the probability of placing one more connection “Points”. Perhaps it is already there.