Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation

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Border Service of the FSB of the Russian Federation
Пограничная служба Федеральной службы безопасности Российской Федерации
Emblem of the FSB Border Service
Emblem of the FSB Border Service
Flag of the FSB Border Service
Flag of the FSB Border Service
Agency overview
FormedJune 12, 1992
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agencyRussia
Operations jurisdictionRussia
Size20,241 lineal kilometers
Population170,000 (2017)[1]
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction
  • National border patrol, security, and integrity.
Operational structure
HeadquartersLubyanka Square 2, Moscow, Russia
Parent agency Federal Security Service (Russia)

The Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (PS FSB Rossii) (Russian: Пограничная служба Федеральной службы безопасности Российской Федерации (ПС ФСБ России)) is a branch of the Federal Security Service of Russia tasked with patrol of the Russian border.

The terms Border Service of Russia (Russian: Пограничная служба России) and Border Force of Russia (Russian: Пограничные войска России) are also common, while in English, the terms "Border Guards" and "Border Troops" are frequently used to designate this service. The Border Service numbers around 170,000 active members,[1] which includes the Russian maritime border guard units (i.e., the coast guard).


Flag of the Federal Border Service of Russia from 1999 to 2003
Flag of the FPS Border Troops from 1999 to 2003
Naval ensign of the Coast Guard of the FSB Border Service since 2008

Tsarist and Imperial Russia[edit]

One can trace the origin of the Russian border service to 1571 and the work of Prince Mikhail Vorotynsky (died 1573) and his Great Abatis Border built along the southern boundaries of the Tsardom of Russia in the 16th century. In 1782 the Empress Catherine II of Russia established Border Customs Guard units, originally manned by Russian Cossacks as well as by low-ranking cavalry troops. In 1810 General Mikhail Barklay de Tolly organized numerous border posts along the entire western Russian border, manned by 11 regiments of Don and Bug Cossacks. Within two years Russian Border Guards became the first to oppose Napoleon's invasion of Russia (June 1812). In 1832 Cossacks and cavalry were replaced by armed customs officials subordinate to the Ministry of Finance in peacetime (in wartime the border guards were automatically transferred to the army). In the same year the government of Emperor Nicholas I established a coast guard – originally to observe coasts of the Black Sea and of the Sea of Azov.

Count Sergei Witte, the Russian Minister of Finance (1892–1903) in the government of Alexander III (reigned 1881–1894), reformed the service on 13 October 1893 into the Independent Border Guards Corps (IBGC – a para-military rather than a civilian organization) headed by an army general and reporting directly to the ministry.

In 1906 about 40,000 soldiers and officers served in the IBGC – maintaining the defence of the lengthy Imperial border. They served in 8 division-sized districts as well as in the Saint Petersburg headquarters unit.

Soviet period[edit]

Soviet Border Troops, (Russian: Пограничные войска СССР, romanizedPogranichnyie voiska SSSR) were the military border guard of the Soviet Union, subordinated to its subsequently reorganized state security agency: first to Cheka/OGPU, then to NKVD/MVD/MGB and, finally, to KGB. Accordingly, they were known as NKVD Border Troops and KGB Border Troops (with Russian abbreviations - НКВД СССР or - КГБ СССР added on the end of official names). Unlike border guards of many other countries, Soviet Border Troops were a centralized force including also the marine units of the Border Troops (i.e., a coast guard).

Modern period[edit]

Border guards of the FSB Border Directorate in Kaliningrad Oblast, 2011

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Federal Border Service of Russia (Russian: Федеральная пограничная служба, romanized: Federal'naya pogranichnaya sluzhba, a.k.a. FPS) was created on December 30, 1993, as a separate government agency. The agency retained some old traditions, most notably the dark green-coloured uniform and Border Guards Day (an official holiday commemorated by celebrations of ex-servicemen). The First minister of the FPS was Andrei Nikolayev, a young and outspoken general who later became deputy of the State Duma. Russian Border Guards were also stationed outside of Russia most notably in southern Tajikistan, in order to guard the border with Afghanistan, until summer 2005. On the Afghan-Tajik border on many occasions they were engaged in heavy fighting with drug-traffickers and Islamic extremists. Armenia's closed border with Turkey and open border with Iran is also still guarded by the Russians. On March 11, 2003, the Russian president Vladimir Putin changed the status of the Border Service from a separate agency into a branch of the Russian Federal Security Service. The new conversion took effect on July 1, 2003. The current head of the FSB Border Service is General Vladimir Pronichev. The Border Service of Russia is tasked with a defence of the longest national border in the world.[citation needed]

In April 2012 Vladimir Pronichev announced that the country was planning to build 20 frontier posts in the Arctic region. Reasons for this development can be found in the increased abilities to explore hydrocarbon deposits in the north. It will also give Russia an ability to patrol and service the Northern Sea Route.[2]

Border guard cadets in the modern dress uniform of the FSB Border Service, 2021

In July 2014 Ukraine opened a criminal case against the head of the FSB Border Service Vladimir Kulishov; he was accused of financing "illegal military groups" in Eastern Ukraine who at the time fought against the Ukrainian army.[3][4][5]


Responsibilities of the Border Service of Russia include:

  • Defence of the Russian national border, prevention of illegal crossing of the land and sea border by people and goods (smuggling).
  • Protection of economic interests of the Russian Federation and its natural resources within land and sea border areas, territorial waters and internal seas, including prevention of poaching and illegal fishing.
  • Combat any threats to national security in the border area, including terrorism and foreign infiltration.



Old FPS structure[edit]

1990s emblem

FPS of Russia, the Federal Border Service (Russian: Федеральная пограничная служба, romanized: Federal'naya pogranichnaya sluzhba), active from 30 December 1994 to 1 July 2003, was headed by a single centralized system, which included:

  • Border control;
  • Foreign intelligence corps;
  • Operational entities engaged in intelligence, counter, operational investigative activities, to ensure its own security system;
  • FPS Border Troops;
  • Border guards and other organs of the Border Service, provided by federal law;
  • Military educational institutions, vocational education,
  • Companies, institutions, and organizations in Russia under the FPS, according to federal law.


Changes in the regional structure of the Border Service, instead of ten regional border offices (see the old FPS structure) for the new scheme includes 7 regional border offices (in the federal districts) and 30 border offices in 2005. Includes the Coast Guard.

Regional border offices:

As adopted by presidential decree No. 457, dated April 23, 2001, the following educational institutions form part of the BS-FSS:

  • Border Forces Academy of the BS-FSS
  • Military Medical Institute, the Border Service of Russia's FSB in the Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy;
  • Golitsynsky Military Institute of the Border Service;
  • Kaliningrad Military Institute of the Border Service;
  • Kurgan Military Institute of the Border Service;
  • Moscow Border Institute of the FSB
  • Khabarovsk Military Institute of the Border Service;
  • The First Cadet Corps of the Border Service

Enterprises, institutions and organizations which are subordinate to the Border Service:

  • Medical and health institutions;
  • Repair plant;
  • Parts logistics, technical, and other support.

Foreign operations[edit]

The shoulder patch of the Group of Russian border troops in Tajikistan


The basis for the deployment of Russian border guards in Armenia is an interstate agreement concluded on September 30, 1992. The border department of the FSB of Russia in Armenia includes four border detachments: one in Gyumri, Armavir, Artashat and Meghri, as well as a separate checkpoint at the Zvartnots International Airport. The maintenance of about 4.5 thousand Russian border guards in Armenia is financed from the budgets of both states. Russian border guards also guard the borders of Armenia with Turkey and Iran.[6][7]


From 1992 to 2005, there was a Group of Russian Border Troops in the Republic of Tajikistan. Border guards were repeatedly and credibly suspected of being involved in the drugs trade across the Tajik-Afghan border.[8] Senior officers arranged transfers by military aircraft.


In Abkhazia, the base of the coast guard patrol ships of the Russian FSB Border Guard Service is located in the seaside town of Ochamchira. The goal is to assist the Abkhaz Navy in ensuring the security of its maritime borders.

Russian Coast Guard[edit]

See also[edit]


  • The border and internal troops (Guard) VCHK-OGPU-NKVD-USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs.
  • 29 September 1918 – The headquarters of the hull forces (internal security) VCHK.
  • 1 April 1921 – The Office of troops VCHK-OGPU.
  • 1 December 1922 – The headquarters of the troops OGPU.
  • 3 October 1923 – Inspektsiya troops GPU-OGPU.
  • 6 November 1926 – The Directorate of Border Guard Troops and OGPU.
  • 10 July 1934 – General Directorate of Border and internal security (GUPVO) Soviet NKVD.
  • 29 September 1938 – General Directorate of Border and Interior Troops (GUPVV) Soviet NKVD.

On February 2, 1939, 6 separate departments were created within the Main Directorate of Border and Internal Troops within the NKVD of the USSR:

  • Main Directorate of Border Troops (GUPV)
  • Main Directorate for the Protection of Railway Facilities
  • Main Directorate for the Protection of Particularly Important Industrial Enterprises
  • Main Directorate of Convoy Troops (GUKV) – jointly manned by the Red Army and the NKVD.[9]
  • Main Directorate of Military Support (GUVS)
  • Main Military Construction Directorate
  • 9 June 1956 – GUPVV USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs.
  • 2 April 1957 – GUPVV USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs was disbanded in connection with the transfer of border troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Soviet KGB when the Soviet Union SM.

The border troops (Guard):

  • 28 May 1918 – Border Guard when Narkomate Finance (later – in the military and Narkomate Foreign Trade).
  • 24 November 1920 – features in the GS VCHK-GPU, then to the CGB GPU and the headquarters of a frontier corps (Border Division) headquarters troops OGPU.
  • 28 July 1923 – Department of Border Guard GPU, OGPU.
  • 6 November 1926 – The Directorate of Border Guard Troops and OGPU.
  • 10 July 1934 – Soviet NKVD GUPVO.
  • 29 September 1938 – Soviet NKVD GUPVV.
  • 8 March 1939 – Soviet NKVD GUPV.
  • 17 October 1949 – GUPV MGB USSR
  • 14 March 1953 – GUPV USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs
  • 9 June 1956 – based GUPV, GUVKO and MAT USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs was organized by the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs GUPVV.
  • 2 April 1957 – GUPV KGB when the Soviet Union SM.
  • 5 July 1978 – GUPV KGB.
  • In December 1991 – after the reorganization of KGB, the General Directorate of Border Troops were abolished and formed the Committee for the Protection of the State border of the Soviet Union with the Joint Command of the border forces led by was assigned to the post of chairman of the Committee – Chief of Soviet border troops.
  • In 1992 – a Border troops of the Russian Federation, which have been subordinated to the Ministry of Security.
  • In 1993 – Federal Border Service – Main Command of the Border Troops of the Russian Federation with the status of federal ministries.
  • In 1994 – renamed the Federal Border Service (FPS of Russia).
  • 4 May 2000 – formed the Border Service of the Russian Federation, which consists of specially authorized federal executive body for the Border Service (FPS of Russia), border troops and other organizations.
  • 11 March 2003 – Vladimir Putin abolished the function of FPS conveyed to the FSB. FPS of Russia renamed the Border Service of the FSB of Russia since July 1, 2003.





Russian border guards with a SVD and AKS-74s (in the photo, one of them is equipped with a GP-25); Air Assault Maneuver Group of the 32nd Novorossiysk Border Detachment of the FSB North Caucasus Regional Border Directorate, 2004


  1. ^ a b "Paper" (PDF). 2017.
  2. ^ "Russia to create 20 frontier posts in Arctic". Russia & India Report. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Ukraine calls businessman and Russian defense minister 'accomplices of terrorists'". 22 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Ukraine opens criminal case against Russian Border Service chief - Xinhua -". Xinhua News Agency. Archived from the original on July 8, 2014.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2014-07-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Прощание с Пянджем. Российские пограничники покидают Таджикистан
  7. ^ Российские пограничники убили турецкого пастуха, обстрелявшего их на территории Армении.
  8. ^ Moore, Kathleen (May 7, 2004). "Tajikistan: Heroin Busts Tie Russian Military To Drug Trade". Radiofreeeurope/Radioliberty.
  9. ^ David Glantz, Colossus Reborn: The Red Army at War, 1941–1943 (2005), 163. ISBN 0-7006-1353-6


  • Лубянка. Lubyanka. Органы ВЧК-ОГПУ-НКВД-НКГБ-МГБ-МВД-КГБ 1917–1991. Справочник, документы (Международный фонд Демократия, Москва 2003) - Authorities VCHK-OGPU-NKVD-NKGB-MGB-MVD-KGB 1917–1991. Reference documents (International Fund for Democracy, Moscow 2003)
  • Приложение № 2 к Указу Президента Российской Федерации от 19 июля 1997 г. № 732 [Annex 2 to decree of the President of the Russian Federation of July 19, 1997, No. 732]

External links[edit]