Civil Defence is one of the most important State’s functions, a component of defensive construction work and safety of civilian population. The general control of Civil Defence is provided by The Russian Federation Government. Control over Civil Defence in Federal Regions is provided by their top management. The existing rules and regulations related to safety of civilian population are rather efficient. A number of laws have been adopted recently, such as “On protection of civilians and territories from emergency situations caused by natural and technological disasters”, “On disaster relief and rescue services and the rescue worker’s status”.
Civilians are considered to be protected when there is well prepared manpower, innovative tools and advanced technologies. To improve radiation and chemical protection means to renew individual protection means, medicines and medical equipment. Besides, one of the crucial Civil Defence challenges is stability of economically important enterprises. There has been developed an efficient mechanism both preventing occurrence and progression of emergency situations and cutting down loses of civilians and property.
The increased threat of chemical, biological and other kinds of weapons has made the Civil Defence management pay more attention to the available resources related to terrorist control, as well as to development of laboratory control and observation networks. Civil defence specialists also pay attention to the threats different from military ones, to the threats related to the innovative tools of economic, technological, religious and psychological impact. In the 21st century Civil Defence must be prepared to counteract the similar unfamiliar dangers and threats. Specialists of the EMERCOM of Russia believe that the population protection system must be united and integrated for both peace and war time conditions.
The State Civil Defence organization in Russia is dated 4th October, 1932 when the Council of People's Commissars adopted the Rules and Regulations related to the Civil Air Raid Defence. Its first trial was The Great Patriotic War. During the war manpower of the Air Raid Defence Ministry destroyed 40,000 ignition bombs, extinguished 2700 flames, eliminated over 3,000 disasters. Then, there was a system of population protection which allowed thousands of civilians to survive.
In the post-war period the Air Raid Defence Ministry was improved with advent of nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapons. Since September 1971, Civil Defence have been controlled by the Ministry of Defence. However, with the end of Cold War, Civil Defence stopped meeting the requirements. Civil Defence troops proved to be unable to operate in the conditions of disasters and catastrophes. In 1991 with the Decree of the Russian Federation President Civil Defence troops were added to the EMERCOM of Russia
Civil Defence Troops are a State military organisation involving military units within the EMERCOM of Russia. Today Civil Defence Troops are a part of the Unified State System of emergency situation prevention and elimination. They are the basic Response Manpower of the EMERCOM of Russia whose staff solve specific problemsof peace and war time. Their crucial challenges are a disaster relief and rescue in areas of disasters and catastrophes. They also look for, find and mark areas of radiation, chemical and biological pollution, protect civilians and decontaminate polluted equipment, buildings and territories. Recently, Civil Defence troops have been involved in both evacuation of civilians and solving urgent problems of their survival, recovery of damaged objects and communications, humanitarian cargo delivery, protection of very important objects, localizing and extinguishing forest and peat fires
Civil Defence troops have operated in zones of armed conflicts, such as South and North Osetia, Abkhazia, Georgia, the Dnestr Region, Yugoslavia, Tadjikistan, Chechnya, Afganistan. They have provided civilians with food and drinking water, evacuated the wounded and delivered the post. Civil Defence troops help medical personnel to evacuate patients during serious disease epidemics.
Recently, Civil Defence troops have experienced considerable changes. They have been equipped with modern tools and devices. Reforms will make Civil Defence troops mobile and more efficient.