by Nadezhda AUROVA, Cand. Sc. (Hist.), Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
The Russian army officer of the late 18th and early 19th centuries had a code of service and honor of his own, a peculiar system of values and mind sets.
The military education of career army and navy officers in Russia of that age aimed in the first place to rear them loyal to the crown. The first military schools came into being under Czar Peter I*: in 1701 he founded a navigation school in Moscow (reorganized into a Marine Guards Academy in 1715, it was moved to St. Petersburg, the new Russian capital where, in 1752,
* See: Zh. Alferov, E. Tropp, "St. Petersburg-Russia's Window on Science", Science in Russia, No. 3, 2003.--Ed.
it was elevated to the status of a Marine Corps for cadets of noble birth). In 1712 Peter the Great set up a Corps of Engineers School in Moscow that, seven years after, likewise moved to St. Petersburg.
At the turn of the 18th century Czar Peter ordered a complete overhaul of the nation's armed forces in a bid to raise a regular army. At first he set up what was called poteshny, or 'toy-soldiers' regiments of youths loyal to the young czar. Later on these regiments evolved into Guards units that reared commissioned officers for the
Russian army. Many of the strelets regiments were disbanded after the mutiny of 1698*, they were replaced by 27 new regiments in 1699. Conscription (recruitment) came to stay for good in those years.**
As of 1774 recruitments were made every year, with men in the 17-to-30 age bracket called up. In 1793 the tour of service was limited to 25 years (it had been for the term of one's natural life before). Exempt from compulsory military service in keeping with the edict
* Strelets (PI. streltsi)--in Muscovite Russia of the 16th and 17th centuries, a military corps instituted by Czar [van the Terrible and enjoying special pr ... Читать далее