On Saturday the Russian Interior Ministry's troops celebrate their professional holiday.
In 1811 Emperor Alexander I ordered to form interior guard battalions. It was one of the most important links in the state defense system.
The battalions were to help the authorities implement laws and execute sentences, catch and eliminate robbers, break up prohibited rallies, keep order at fairs, folk and church holidays, convoy criminals and money and carry out rescue works in case of fires and floods.
Interior guards fought in the 1812 patriotic war against Napoleon and other famous campaigns.
After the 1917 revolution the guards were reorganized on the basis of new principles. In 1919 the Council of Workers and Peasants' Defense unified all the auxiliary troops and formed the troops of the Republic's interior protection. These troops fought in the Civil War (1918-1920), battles against Japanese intervenors in 1938 and 1939 on Lake Khasan and the Khalkhin Gol River, and the Soviet-Finnish War (1939-1940).
Units of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) were fighting in the Great Patriotic War, in particular, in border areas. They defended Brest, Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Odessa, Voronezh, Stalingrad, the North Caucasus and the Kursk Bulge. All in all, over 97,000 servicemen were killed and more than 100,000 were put forward for state decoration.
In the recent years the Russian Interior Ministry's troops have been successfully fighting in hot spots: Nagorny Karabakh (an Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan), Fergana (Uzbekistan), and in the North Caucasian republics (North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya).
According to the Commander-in-Chief of the Interior Ministry Troops, Army General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, the efficiency of the united group of forces in the North Caucasus has increased by 50-100% since the control over the counter-terrorist operation was transferred to the Interior Ministry. "The Interior Ministry's troops carried out about 4,000 special operations. The crime level in many regions reduced by 14 percent," he said.