The Russian Ground Forces has completed the reactivation of the 1st Guards Tank Army in Russia's Western Military District (WMD) and is to form two new armoured divisions, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced.
A session of the Defence Ministry Board, chaired by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, discussed the reactivation as part of the development of Russia's quick reaction force. The session also revealed that Russia will form two new armoured divisions near the cities of Voronezh (in the WMD) and Chelyabinsk (in the Central Military District: CMD) in 2016.
That's a bit of a hash of reorg.
Russian ground forces were, for a very long time, based on a regimental/divisional model. And unlike most Western forces, they skip the corps as an echelon above division, and use field army headquarters to control subordinate divisions and supporting arms. In recent years, Russia had been making a move to a separate brigade model (much like our own US Army Brigade Combat Teams). So a Russian force would chain would go from a field army skipping two echelons all the way down to the brigade level.
Combined arms at the regimental/brigade level makes a lot of sense, and the Russians have done that for a long time. The US Army effectively did that with the "divisional slice" model throughout the 1960s to the early years of the 21st Century. It wasn't until the BCT model, however, that it became organic.
The problem with a Russian brigade based force is span of control. A field army directly controlling a field army's worth or brigades has to control anywhere from 6 to 9 brigades. And that's simply too many subordinate commands for any commander to effectively control, all while trying to synchronize the support of other combat multipliers. The US Army, during the Pentomic Division era, found that even a "battle group" with five companies was too much for one commander to wrangle. And so, the US went back to no more than three or four maneuver commands in an organization for a given level.
But if you only have three or four brigades, a field army headquarters is too much staff for too little combat power. We'll have to keep an eye on further changes in the Soviet, err... Russian order of battle.