Steppe Military District

Military district (Soviet Union)

In the Soviet Union, a military district (вое́нный о́круг, voyenny okrug) was a territorial association of military units, formations, military schools, and various local military administrative establishments. This territorial division type was utilised in the USSR to provide a more efficient management of army units, their training and other operations activities related to combat readiness.

First military districts in the USSR begun with the formation of the first six military districts (Yaroslavsky, Moskovsky, Orlovsky, Belomorsky, Uralsky, and Privolzhsky) on 31 March 1918 during the Russian Civil War to prepare substantial army reserves for the front.

The next reform did not take place until the economic reforms (NEP) of 1923 which concluded in 1929. At this time the military districts in the Russian Soviet Republic still conformed to the gubernyas and oblasts of the Russian Empire, with the exception of the other republics each of which constituted a military district in their own right.

Abbreviation of military districts

Abbreviation of 17 military districts of the USSR at the beginning July 1940:

  • BOVO – Belorussian special military district (БОВО -Белорусский Особый военный округ) (from 11.7.40
    ZapOVO - Western Special military district (ЗапОВО –Западный Особый военный округ)
  • KOVO - Kiev special military district (Киевский Особый военный округ)
  • ArkhVO - Arkhangel'sk military district (АрхВО -Архангельский военный округ)
  • ZabVO - Transbaikal military district (ЗабВО -Забайкальский военный округ)
  • ZakVO - Transcaucasian military district (ЗакВО - Закавказский военный округ)
  • KalVO - Kalinin military district (abolished by 11.7.1940) (КалВО -Калининский военный округ)
  • LVO - Leningrad military district (ЛВО - Ленинградский военный округ)
  • MVO - Moscow military district (МВО -Московский военный округ)
  • OdVO - Odessa military district (ОдВО - Одесский военный округ)
  • OrVO - Orel military district (ОрВО -Орловский военный округ)
  • PribVO - Baltic military district (ПрибВО -Прибалтийский военный округ) (formed 11.07.40, from August 17, 1940 renamed into PribOVO - Baltic special military district (ПрибОВО -Прибалтийский Особый военный округ))
  • PriVO - Volga military district (ПриВО -Приволжский военный округ)
  • SAVO - Central-Asian military district (САВО -Среднеазиатский военный округ)
  • SibVO - Siberian military district (СибВО -Сибирский военный округ)
  • SKVO - North-Caucasian military district (СКВО -Северо-Кавказский военный округ)
  • UrVO - Ural military district (УрВО -Уральский военный округ)
  • KhVO - Kharkov military district (ХВО -Харьковский военный округ)

Formations in the territory of Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krai were combined into the 1st and 2nd independent Red Banner Armies, which since January 14, 1941 were reformed into the Far Eastern Front.

Great Patriotic War
The number of military districts varied depending on the circumstances and with the evolution of the Soviet Army. Before the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 there were 16 military districts and one front although this number fluctuated and as many as 25 military districts existed at different time before the war.

North and North Western districts

West and Central USSR districts

South and South Western districts

Siberian and Central Asian districts

Far Eastern districts

Right after the war, the number was increased to 33 to aid in demobilisation of forces, but by October of 1946, they had been reduced to 21.

Cold War era
At the end of the 1980s, immediately before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there were sixteen military districts, within three to five main groupings:



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