Reasons for such reformation analyzed Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
According to the report, on October 8, a presidential decree prepared by the Ministry of Defense of Russia was published on the Russian federal portal of projects of regulatory and legal acts. He proposes to deprive the Northern Fleet (PF) of the status of “interspecies strategic territorial association”.
Russian propaganda state media reports: This proposal indicates that the NF will no longer be a separate military-administrative unit equal to a military district. They assume that the NF and its four regions (Komi Republic, Arkhangelsk and Murmansk Oblasts, and the Nenets Autonomous District) will be transferred to the reformed Leningrad Military District.
Russian military analyst Yuriy Fedorov noted: the restoration of the Leningrad Military District indicates that Russia is preparing for possible conflicts with the Baltic states and NATO in general.
In 2010, the Russian military united the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts into the Western Military District. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation created the Northern Fleet in 2014 from the territory of the Western Military District, and on January 1, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin made the Northern Fleet a military-administrative unit equal to a military district.
In December 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu proposed recreating the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts on the basis of the Western Military District and confirmed that as of August 2023, these military districts are actively being formed.
The Defense Ministry’s decision to redeploy weapons of mass destruction indicates that Russia sees the need to restructure its forces against NATO. The Russian Federation is also likely to seek to set up positions on the Finnish border. Although it remains unclear how the Russian Federation will be able to mobilize, train and organize these forces into a new military district, the ISW notes.