Author: David Batashvili, Research Fellow at the Rondeli Foundation

Rondeli Russian Military Digest is a weekly brief that reports key activities by and developments within the armed forces of the Russian Federation. Researchers, civil servants and everyone else interested in what is going on in the military of one of the most dangerous nations on the planet – tune in and enjoy.

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Geostrategic Activities

War in Ukraine – Three Ukrainian military service members were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the Donbas frontline during the week of 4-10 October 2021.

War in Syria – Russian air force conducted strikes in the Syrian rebel-held Idlib region on 7 October 2021, and in the Turkish zone of influence in northern Syria, east of Marea city, also on 7 October.

Russia in Africa – A Russian source claimed that the number of Russian “military instructors” in the Central African Republic was 1,135.

The Northern Fleet’s Udaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov, operating in the Atlantic Ocean since 23 September 2021 after entering it from the Mediterranean Sea, reached the Gulf of Guinea by 7 October.


Structural Changes

According to some sources, Russians reportedly are discussing possible creation of a new Arctic Fleet on the basis of some of the Northern and Pacific Fleets’ assets. If established, the new Fleet would function along the Arctic coastal areas responsibility for which currently is divided between the Northern Fleet and the Pacific Fleet. Other sources have denied this claim. Another suggested possibility is the creation of an Arctic Flotilla under the Northern Fleet command.

The Northern Fleet’s ships operating in the Arctic


Rearmament and Modernization

On 4 October 2021, Russians held the first test firing of Tsirkon hypersonic missile from a submarine. The test, which was successful according to the official Russian information, was conducted in the Barents Sea by the Yasen / Project 885 class nuclear-powered submarine Severodvinsk.

The Baltic Fleet’s 11th Army Corps in Kaliningrad Oblast received a batch of 23 T-72B3M tanks.



Over 5,000 Russian naval infantry troops took part in an exercise pitting against one another two brigades of the Pacific Fleet – the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade (Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai) and  the 40th Naval Infantry Brigade (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Kamchatka Krai).

Russians held exercises in occupied regions of Georgia and Ukraine. An anti-UAV exercise of air defense forces was held in Abkhazia, GeorgiaReconnaissance troops exercised in Georgia’s Tskhinvali Region. The Black Sea Fleet’s naval infantry conducted a shore landing exercise in Crimea, Ukraine.

Russian troops on an exercise in occupied Tskhinvali Region, Georgia


*The weekly number of exercises in the Russian armed forces is very large. Therefore, all cannot be included in this digest. The exercises that are included are selected by the author for their strategic significance, particularly large scale, involvement of numerous units and locations, and/or involvement of other nations’ territories under the Russian occupation.