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ODON shoulder patch

The ODON, formerly called OMSDON (aka Dzerzhinsky Division) is a rapid deployment internal security division of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR and then the Russian Federation.[1] ODON (Russian:Одон) is an initialism for Отдельная дивизия оперативного назначения (English: Separate Operational Use Division).


Precursor to the ODON was the ru:1st Automobile Fighting Detachment of the VTsIK which was created in February 1918. The detachment was tasked with guarding the members of the VTsIK and the Sovnarkom and providing them with passenger cars. After relocation of the government to Moscow in March 1918, it was assigned to guarding the Moscow Kremlin as the site of the government alongside the Red Latvian Riflemen then the "Kremlin cadets". The detachment was renamed 1st Armored Car Detachment Ya. M. Sverdlov in 1919, and was transferred to VChK in 1921. At the peak of its strength, the detachment had over 400 troops.

In April 1921, VChK created the OSNAZ battalion which consisted of 1st Armored Car Detachment, three rifle platoons, a cavalry squadron, and various auxiliary units, with a total strength of some 1,100 men. VChK became OGPU in 1922, and the OSNAZ was renamed accordingly.

On 17 June 1924, the OSNAZ battalion, an OGPU rifle battalion and an OGPU rifle regiments formed the DON (Special-Purpose Division) of the OGPU Troops. The DON included 4 rifle regiments with an Armored Car detachment. In August 1926, the division was renamed Special-Purpose Division F. E. Dzerzhinsky of the OGPU Troops. Throughout 1926, one more regiment and five more battalions joined the DON, raising its total strength to some 4,500 troops.

In 1929, the DON was reorganized as a full army division. In 1931, the Armoured Car detachment was reorganized into an armoured regiment. In 1934, OGPU was transferred to the NKVD of the USSR. The division fought on the frontlines of the Winter War against free Finland. The OMSDON units surrounded the Allied leaders during the Yalta conference.

In preparation for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, an elite group of OMSDON troops was trained with special forces tactics; the core of this group later became the Vytyaz unit. The final USSR designation of the division was OMSDON (Independent Special-Purpose Motorized Rifle Division F. E. Dzerzhinsky of the MVD Internal Troops, Russian: ОМСДОН, Отдельная мотострелковая дивизия особого назначения ВВ МВД им. Ф.Е.Дзержинского).

Russian Federation

In 1994, the OMSDON was renamed Independent Division of Operational Purpose or ODON. The full name of the unit is the Independent Orders of Lenin and October Revolution Red Banner Division of Operational Purpose of Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia (Russian: Отдельная орденов Ленина и Октябрьской Революции Краснознаменная дивизия оперативного назначения внутренних войск МВД России).


ODON division servicemen from Russian Internal Troops. Photo by Vitaly Kuzmin

The division includes the following military units (as of 01.01.2013):

  • 604th Red special-purpose center, w / h 3179, formed in 2008 combining (Vityaz and Rus)
  • 2nd Regiment of operational use, w / h 3186
  • 4th Regiment of operational use, w / h 3419
  • 5th Regiment of operational use, w / h 3500
  • 60th Training Regiment, w / h 3421
  • 344th separate battalion command, a / h 6771 (ORRiKS in / hr 3486)
  • Separate Battalion, a / h 3128
  • Separate Repair and Refurbishment Battalion, w / h 3187
  • Selected Medical Battalion, w / h 3532
  • 319th separate battalion for the protection and security training centers (centers village. New and Noginsk, Moscow region), in / hr 3058
  • 4th separate company for radiation, chemical and biological protection, w / h 3401
  • Garrison quarters and operations area, a / h 3492
  • 441st Separate Security Battalion, in / hr 6909 (formed in November–December 2012)
  • Garrison military officers

Total division employs more than ten thousand personnel, hundreds of armored vehicles, artillery (mortars and anti-aircraft guns).

See also


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