On October 4 Russia celebrates the Civil Defense Forces Day of the RF Ministry of Emergency Situations. The Civil Defense of the Russian Federation originated from the local anti-aircraft defense, founded in 1932.
The need to protect the population and national economic facilities from air attacks and set up the local anti-aircraft and chemical defense arose during the years of the World War I with an appearance of aviation and thus warring parties jumped at a chance to launch attacks on inhabited localities and economic facilities in the rival’s rear.
The term “aircraft defense”, which implied a set of forces, means, and measures to fight the enemy’s air forces and protect the homeland troops and facilities from his actions, was used in Russia for relatively short period of time — from 1914 to 1926, the term “air-chemical defense” existed during 1926 - 1927, whereas the term “anti-aircraft defense” was introduced in 1928. It was in the beginning of 1924 that the term “anti-aircraft defense” for the first time appeared in the official document, and from 1928 was legitimated by the resolution of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR.
On October 4 1932 the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR approved new Regulations concerning anti-aircraft defense of the USSR, in accordance to which a local anti-aircraft defense was made a separate independent part of the whole system of anti-aircraft defense of the USSR. The key aims of the local anti-aircraft defense encompassed: to warn the population about the threat of air attack and notify of threat avoidance; to camouflage inhabited localities and national economic facilities from air attacks (especially blackouts); to eliminate the aftermath of air attacks, including those with the use of toxic chemicals; to prepare bomb and gas-proof shelters for the population; to organize primary health and medical care to victims of air attacks; to render veterinary aid to injured animals; to maintain public order and enforce the regime, established by authorities and local anti-aircraft defense in vulnerable regions. These aims were implemented by forces and means of the local authorities and national economics facilities. This defined the name of the anti-aircraft defense system.
On June 22 1941 all the headquarters, services and forces of the local anti-aircraft defense were brought in combat readiness. The Great Patriotic War became a severe test for the local anti-aircraft defense, it displayed the system’s high readiness, and meanwhile revealed some shortcomings, which were immediately eliminated.
In the post-war time the local anti-aircraft defense was being streamlined taking into account the appearance of nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapons. Right then the new regulations on local anti-aircraft defense, which reflected positive expertise of the former local anti-aircraft defense activities, specified its aims and organizational structure, were enacted.
In 1961 the local anti-aircraft defense was reorganized into Civil Defense (GO) of the USSR. At that time theoretical fundamentals of population protection were developed, whereas a complex of organizational, engineering, sanitation, anti-epidemic and other special measures was implemented countrywide.
From September 1971 the direct control over the Civil Defense system was assigned to the military department. In early 1990’s the Civil Defense of the USSR became a part of the unified state system of prevention and elimination of emergencies. On December 27 1990 was founded the Russian Rescue Corps. In 1991 the State Committee for Civil Defense Matters, Emergencies and Natural Disaster Relief was set up under the President of Russia. In 1993 Russia entered the International Civil Defense Organization as its fully-fledged member. The Ministry for Affairs of Civil Defense, Emergencies and Disaster Relief was set up in 1994 by the order of the President of Russia.
From 1991 the Federal executive body on emergency situations has been headed by the Colonel General, Hero of Russia, Sergei Shoigu.
In recent years the forces of the civil defense are more often involved in evacuation of the population in cases of the emergencies and natural disasters, disaster relief, restoration of damaged facilities and communications, escort of humanitarian freights, protection of objects of special importance, as well as localization and extinguishing of forest and peat fires.
Lit.: Лит.: Войска противовоздушной обороны страны. М., 1968; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://militera.lib.ru/h/pvo/index.html; Зарождение и развитие противовоздушной обороны страны // Военно-исторический журнал. № 12. 2004; МЧС России. 2016. URL: http://www.mchs.gov.ru/.