It was originally planned that the 200. motorized infantry brigade in Pechenga, some 10 kilometers from the Russian-Norwegian border, would be reorganized as an Arctic brigade already by the end of 2011. Commander of the Russian Ground Forces Col.Gen. Alexander Postnikov now says that the first brigade will be established in 2015, when Russia receives new vehicles designed for operations in the Arctic, RIA Novosti reports.
Russia’s first Arctic Brigade will be established in the Murmansk region. Photo: Trude Pettersen
Establishment of an Arctic brigade so close to NATO-member Norway is an attempt to “balance the situation” as the U.S. and Canada already are establishing similar brigades, BarentsObserver reported when the news about the brigade came out in March 2011.
Soldiers in the Arctic brigades will be trained in a special program and equipped with modern personal equipment for military operations in Arctic conditions.
The Arctic brigades will be equipped with multirole armoured transport and towing vehicles of the type MT-LBV, Postnikov says.
The Northern Fleet’s Naval Infantry driving with MT-LBV in Pechenga. Video from: twower.livejournal.com
Parts of the brigade is planned to be airmobile. According to Chief of staff of the Russian Airborne Troops, Lt. Gen. Nikolay Ignatov the possibility of paratroopers joining the Arctic contingent has been studied on orders of the Airborne Troops commander, Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, as BarentsObserver reported.
The unit in Pechenga was established in 1943 as the 45. division, which took part in the liberation of Petsamo (Pechenga) and Kirkenes. It was later reorganized to the 131. motorized infantry division, before it became the 200. independent motorized infantry brigade some 15 years ago.