(1) One of the highest organs in the military command of prerevolutionary Russia. From 1815 to 1832 the Main Headquarters existed as an independent central administration and was called the Main Headquarters of His Imperial Highness. The army personnel and General Staff service came under its jurisdiction; the War Ministry controlled only economic affairs. In 1832 the Main Headquarters was abolished, but it was reestablished in 1865 as part of the War Ministry.
The Main Headquarters managed the recruitment, registration, distribution, and troop arrangement of army personnel, as well as the working out of military plans, drill and battle preparation, military-topographical matters, and the collection of information on the armies of foreign states. The Military Science Committee, the Military Topographical Division, the Committee of the Transfer of Forces, the Mobilization Committee (from 1875), the Military Prison Section (1884), the Nicholas Academy of the General Staff, and the editorship of the newspaper Russkii Invalid and the journal Voennyi Sbornik (Military Collection) were all located in the Main Headquarters. Its corps included the officers of the General Staff, military topographers, and couriers. In March 1900 the Main Headquarters apparatus was divided into five directorates: the first general quartermaster, the second general quartermaster, the general on duty, military communications, and military topography.
With the June 1905 establishment of the Main Directorate of the General Staff, the competence of the Main Headquarters was significantly curtailed. By the Statute on the Main Headquarters of 1911, it was responsible for personnel affairs of the army, the military and civilian administration of cossack troops, the Turkestan general-governorship, and pension affairs of the military department. The Supreme Efficiency-Rating Commission was under the Main Headquarters. The Main Headquarters existed until January 1918.
In 1885 the Main Sea Staff was created as a part of the Naval Ministry; it was responsible for navy personnel and combat and battle preparation. It existed until January 1918. In May 1918 the All-Russia Main Headquarters was created in the Soviet republic.
(2) Headquarters in charge of an armed service. In the USSR, main headquarters for land forces, strategic rocket forces, national air defense forces, the air force, and the navy exist along with the General Staff of the Armed Forces.
N. P. EROSHKIN