The Muscovite Sovereign’s Select Soldier Regiments.

A short description of their history and organization.

By Aleksandr Malov.


[From Tseikhgauz No. 13, 1/2001. Pages 2-7.]


In Russian history the 17th century is still perceived by many through the prism of Peter the Great’s time. Such an approach is a vestige of the struggle between Westernizers and Slavophiles. Problems of this type in regard to the study of 17th-century Russian history are well noted by the Danish historian Sven Oge Christensen[i], and are in addition to the general lack of research on military forces of pre-European Russia. Debate on the character and status of the new-style army has not subsided. This debate’s appearance and development in Russia was formerly “terra incognita” for Russian historical research. It was in the 17th century that a new non-feudal Russian army,[ii] not based on social estate, was born and began to develop, and out of which branched the “family tree” of the regular army. Seventeenth-century Russia combined western technological innovation and old traditions in a surprising manner. The new-model army was an example of such an adaptation of a regular military system under the conditions of an autocratic orthodox tsardom.

The history of the select regiments [vybornye polki] has never before been illuminated by a dedicated historical study. Even the date of their founding, firmly established in historiography, is pure legend. This is all the more surprising as the Muscovite select regiments, in the general acknowledgement of historians, were the first regular regiments of the Russian army, and in fact they were the first Russian guards units. The First and Second Select Regiments were used by Peter I as a basis and model for the creation of his poteshnoe “play” army and later for the new regular army of the 18th century. At that time the favorite and friend of the young tsar, the Swiss Francis Lefort, became commander of the First Select Regiment. The commander of the Second (Butyrskii) Select Regiment, the Scot Patrick Gordon, was the chief military advisor to the young Peter. This regiment, after undergoing a series of reorganizations, continued an uninterrupted existence to 1917. Although it is difficult to overestimate the importance of these regiments in the history of the Russian army, until now there has not been a single specialized study of their history.

The great majority of historians of the 17th-century Russian army look on the select regiments as a specific instance of the soldatskii “soldier regiments,” which is basically untrue. Instead, they were a completely distinct element of the Russian army, appearing at a time of great military strain for the government and society. Although the select regiments were formed in, and continued to exist within, the framework of the new (foreign) style forces, at the same time they were distinct and even in contrast to other soldier and dragoon regiments. The etymology itself of the word “select” [“vybornyi”] in the 17th century indicated an elite status. The history of the select regiments, which has as a beginning the 1949 research dissertation by A.V. Chernov, has until now been overlaid with 19th-century myths. Basic historiographical legends in regard to the select regiments are the date of their formation in 1642 and the lists of their commanders presented in the works of H.O.R. Brix, P.O. Bobrovskii, and M.D. Rabinovich.

The select regiments were first mentioned in an historical work by Christopher Manstein in the addenda to his Notes on Russia, first appearing almost simultaneously in 1770-72 in London, Leipzig, and Lyon.[iii] However, the commander’s names and the dates given by Manstein have no connection to the select soldier regiments. Manstein’s historical excursions in his Notes are mainly a reflection of the memory of that circle of Russian society, mostly old veteran foreigners, in which he circulated during his service in Russia in 1727-44. He tried to collect al that he saw and heard, and after analysis—unite all into what from his perspective was a logical and more or less reliable story in the best traditions of European travelers.

Another foreign work, H.O.R. Brix’s 1867 book on the history of pre-Petrine military forces in Russia, was for almost a century the main summary study on the Russian army of the 16th and 17th centuries, right up to A.V. Chernov’s dissertation, and it was used as an authority in academic circles for a long time. Using the inexact evidence in Manstein’s Notes, Brix tried to briefly lay out the history of the select regiments, and supplemented the lack of information with logic and judgment.[iv] To be precise, he tested Manstein’s statement of 1642 as the date of the select regiments’ formation and compiled a first—though unreliable—list of these regimental commanders. Regardless that Brix’s information cannot withstand any sort of criticism, this myth has existed in academic circles up to the present time.

In national historiography the select regiments are first mentioned in 1865 in Lukian Yakovlev’s research into old Russian flags.[v] This mention of select regiment flags was later taken by N.G. Nikolaev in preparing his comprehensive work on Russian military regalia.[vi] P.O. Boborvskii dedicated the first volume of his history of the 13th Erivan Leib-Grenadier Regiment to the Second (Butyrskii) Select Regiment, from which the former derived its origin. Unfortunately, this researcher, who later scrupulously studied the beginnings of the Preobrazhenskii Regiment, filled his history of the select regiments with information that was basically legendary.[vii] Under the conditions of the greatly limited sources available at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, there was an undue reliance on the notes of foreigners who had been or served in Russia, and on the summary works of Brix. In the end, even the date of the select regiments’ formation and the lists of their commanders turned out to be—to put it mildly—not reliable.[viii]

            A.V. Chernov carried out much deeper research into the history of the select regiments in his 1949 doctoral dissertation. He was the first to point to the end of 1656 as the date the select regiments were formed, giving a good basis to his hypothesis even though he did not find direct documentation from that time.[ix] Chernov’s doctoral dissertation, which remains to this day an encyclopedia of the Russian armed forces of the 17th century, was not published as such. The conclusions made by Chernov in his dissertation differed greatly from the conceptions established in academic circles and underwent a massive critique by his colleagues, which led to this historian’s work being virtually completely ignored. In his summary monograph of 1954, Chernov devoted only one phrase to the select regiments.[x]

            In the 1970s M.D. Rabinovich paid no attention to Chernov’s study of the select regiments when he was preparing his guide to the regiments of Peter’s army. As a result, 19th-century myths and legends safely migrated into his work.[xi] Most recently, the subject of the select regiments was found in Tseikhgauz in two articles by R. Palacios-Fernandez, who is in fact the first writer to deal with 17th-century uniformology.[xii]

            The preserved regimental archive of the First Select Regiment and the archives of the offices of the Ustyug chet’,[1] of Privy Affairs [prikaz tainykh del], and of the tsar’s stables [Konyushennyi prikaz], where the select regiments were administered during the first 15 years of their existence, permit an investigation of the time and circumstances of their raising, following the whole process of formation from its very beginning right up to that moment when a select regiment became a real military entity with the Russian army. For the 17th century, that moment in the history of a regiment when it is finished being formed and exists as a military element can be ascertained by its description as “In the Sovereign’s service.”

            The government took up the formation of the select regiments immediately after Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich returned from his unsuccessful Riga campaign of 1656, and apparently prompted by its results. It is possible that the prologue to the creation of select soldiers’ regiments wholly Russian in their composition was the defection of a group of foreign officers during the siege of Riga.

            Manning the First Select Regiment was done by choosing trained sergeants and soldiers [uryadniki i soldaty] who were veterans of at least two campaigns.[xiii] Documentary materials in our possession allow us to confirm that its formation began at the end of 1656. In particular, lists are preserved of over 700 soldiers chosen for the regiment in December 1656 in various places by A.A. Shepelev, R.M. Streshnev, and I.B. Miloslavskii from different soldatskii style foot regiments. This information is confirmed by documentation of other types and forms.

            A. Shepelev’s Select Regiment of the Sovereign was planned to be two-thousand strong, being divided into two with each thousand ten companies. The colonel commanded the entire regiment, the first thousand, and the first company of this thousand. At the head of the second thousand and this thousand’s first company (or the eleventh company) stood the lieutenant colonel. Besides the thousands and companies the regimental structure had intermediate subdivisions in each thousand—squadrons, one of which in each of the two thousands was under the command of a major. The squadron [shkvadrona, shandron] was a unit of several companies, usually five, and normally led by a major [maeor] or lieutenant colonel [polupolkovnik], or by a captain [rotmistr] in the cavalry, was a forerunner of the later battalion. Squadrons were a part of hussar, pike, cavalry [reitar], dragoon, and soldier regiments, as well as being separate units in the new-style army. In Shepelev’s First Select Regiment two majors usually commanded the 6th and 16th companies.

            In the spring of 1657 the command and staff of the regiment began to be assembled from Russian officers [nachal’nye lyudi][xiv] who obtained their ranks serving in the wars with Poland and Sweden. Officers were assigned by chelobitnaya petition from serving native Russians[xv] who had received training from foreign officers in the new-style regiments and who had military experience. In the first part of June 1657, Tsar Alexis Mikhalovich arranged an inspection of the Sovereign’s Select Regiment as it was still forming. Over the summer the command cadre was completed and the regiment supplied with arms and equipment for 2000 soldiers, partisans and halberds for 16 captains, 20 lieutenants, and 60 sergeants. Flags and drums for 20 companies were requested. By August, Shepelev’s First Select Regiment had 19 of its 20 authorized companies, but many of them were not completely manned. By the end of September the ranks were full and the training of personnel completed, and the lower ranks were released on home leave until spring. However, some of the soldiers, called “winterers” [“zimoval’shchiki”], remained in Moscow. These men who stayed over the winter along with Polish zheldaki[xvi] who had come over into Russian service were the beginnings of the First Select Regiment’s permanent cadre, always at the disposal of the colonel, high command, and government. Manning and procurement of matériel for the regiment continued for the whole first half of the following year of 1658. By the end of 1658 the First Select Regiment was fully formed, up to strength, and trained.

            Apparently, just a little later in the same year of 7165 (1656-57), Yakov Maksimov syn Kolyubakin’s Second Select Soldier’s Regiment began to form. In distinction  from the First Select Regiment which was manned with veterans, the Second Select Regiment had a homogeneous establishment of newly serving novopribornye[xvii] soldiers who came from the peasantry of estates. In Butyrki on the outskirts of Moscow a soldier settlement was built for the regiment. The beginning of the formation of Colonel Kolyubakin’s regiment is dated by a collective petition of the lower ranks. In this chelobitnaya, presented in 1682, the soldiers of this regiment wrote, “In the past year of 165 they were chosen from various towns to be soldiers and ordered to live in the settlement at Butyrki.”[xviii] Documents from 1657-58 that reflect the process of forming the Second Select Regiment confirm the petition’s information and give credence to the facts it contains, as well as showing the similarity of the service, structure, regulations, chain of command, supply, and status of both select regiments. The preserved documentation does not allow us to follow the formation process of the Second Select Regiment as thoroughly as of the First, since the regimental archive has not survived and the archives of the Stables and Privy Affairs prikazy, under whose administration it belonged, are more poorly preserved than the archive of the Ustyug chet’. During the period of its formation, the soldatskii Second Select Regiment was not yet called “Select” in documents, but many times one meets the designation “Court” or “of court soldiers” [“Dvortsovyi” or “dvortsovykh soldat”]. The Court Regiment was supplied with almost all its needs directly from the Privy Affairs prikaz, bypassing the Arms, Artillery, and Treasury prikazy. The formation of Kolyubakin’s Second Select Regiment was completed a little later than that of Shepelev’s First Select Regiment.

            At the end of June and beginning of July 1658, both select regiments were involved in the diplomatic ceremony occasioned by the arrival in Moscow of the Georgian Tsar Teimuraz, during the greeting of the Georgian delegation on 20 June and at the tsar’s official visit to the court on 6 July.[xix] In the organizing of this ceremonial parade, the First and Second Select Regiments were for the first time side by side and called by number. At the beginning of the fall, Shepelev’s Regiment prepared for its first field service, in the Smolensk winter campaign. It was proposed to not have the whole regiment march out, but just two squadrons on horses “in dragoon style,” with five companies in each. In September 1658, Major D. Durov’s squadron was sent out as part of stol’nik[2] and voevod Prince G.A. Kozlovskii’s Regiment. In October Major V. Barancheev’s squadron marched forth with okol’nichii[3] and chief voevod Prince I.I. Lobanov-Rostovskii.

            Dragoons in 17th-century Russia (and not just in Russia) were infantry mounted on horses for speed and greater maneuverability. In distinction from the time of Peter the Great, in the 17th century dragoons never fought on horseback and were not trained for cavalry fighting. On the other hand, there is evidence that in a minimum number of cases in Russia at this time, cavalry itself—reitary—trained in infantry drill formation. For many nobles and lesser gentry, service in the reitary was the first military schooling in the regular army before promotion to officer positions in reitar, dragoon, and soldatskii units.

            Information regarding Kolyubakin’s Second Select Regiment’s preparation for its first active service only comes from March of 1659, when four companies of the regiment were made ready for garrison duty in Trubchevsk. In June and July of 1658, Kolyubakin’s Regiment was supplied with weaponry for 1000 soldiers, as well as with flags. At this same time, Kolyubakin’s Regiment began to be called “select.” After receiving news of the defeat of A.N. Trubetskii’s army by the combined armies of the Crimean khan and Hetman I. Vygovskii at Konotop, Kolyubakin’s Regiment prepared as a whole for a campaign with boyar and voevod Prince Yu.A. Dolgorukov’s army along with Shepelev’s First Select Regiment. Colonel Kolyubakin had to catch up with Dolgorukii’s forces, which in the beginning of July were already in Kaluga when they received the order to go to Trubetskii’s aid. The garrison service of the four companies in Trubchevsk may still leave us with some doubt as to the formative state and battle readiness of the whole regiment, but it is possible to maintain with certainty that from July of 1659, when the regiment was designated for service with the field army, Yakov Kolyubkin’s Second Moscow Select Regiment was not only organized as prescribed, but was also a fighting unit of the Russian army.

            The designation for service of the two squadrons of Shepelev’s First Select Regiment in September 1658 and of Kolyubakin’s Regiment in June/July 1659, when the Court Regiment first received the title of “Select,” completed the formation process of these two elite regiments of the new Russian army, begun at the end of 1656. The select regiments became the first permanent regular regiments in distinction from other new-style units which were released at the end of a campaign or war. The basis for the First Select Regiment’s permanent standing was the zimoval’shchiki and zheladki. The numbers of soldiers in the First Select Regiment who were “Moscow residents” gradually increased until with time it grew to 1000 men. The Second Select (Court) Soldier Regiment was from its very beginnings located next to Moscow on a permanent basis in the soldier settlement of Butyrki.

            From the first beginnings of their formation in 7165 (1656-57), the select regiments were administered by various prikazy. A common experience in their early history was that both regiments were not administered by military prikazy. Aggeev Shepelev’s First Moscow Select Regiment was under the financial and territorial prikaz of the Ustyug chetvert’ from the beginning of its formation in December 1656 to March 1671.

            The Second Select Regiment, in its first years also called the Court Regiment, was from 1657 to March 1671 administered by the Stables prikaz, headed by the Moscow court hunting master [lovchii] A.I. Matyushkin. But along with this the Court Regiment was a matter for Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich’s personal chancellery—the Privy Matters prikaz. In the first years of its existence the Second Select Regiment was also partly controlled by the Great Court prikaz on the strength of Matyushkin being head of both the Great Court and Stables prikazy. Correspondence between the Ustyug chet’ and the Stables prikaz show how both offices regularly informed each other of the amounts of pay issued and authorized for the First and Second Select Regiments respectively. The first period of the select regiments’ history ends with the unification of the regiments within the framework of one office.

            On 21 March 1671, Alexis Mikhailovich directed in a ukase: “Colonel Agei Shepelev of the Select Regiment and the lieutenant colonel and all officers of that regiment are to be placed under the Streltsy prikaz.”[xx] From this same time we also encounter the Second Select Regiment subordinated to the Streltsy prikaz, this apparently being done simultaneously with the First Regiment. In connection with the transfer of select regiment affairs, the Streltsy prikaz requested information on the First Select Regiment that encompassed a whole mass of questions which the prikaz had to, or wanted to, know about the military unit being subordinated to it. To provide the required information to the prikaz from the Ustyug chet’, it was proposed to write up books and send them to the Streltsy prikaz, which was done, but the prikaz was still not able to find answers to a number of questions. In the “quire”[xxi] books sent to the Streltsy prikaz, the Ustyug chet’ presented information on the pay issued to the regiment for the years 165 (1656-56) through 178 (1669-70), lists of officers, sergeants, and soldiers with their origins and awarded estates, lists of deserters, a listing of equipment issued from the Ustyug chet’ or requisitioned by it from other prikazy (flags, drums, fifes,[xxii] cannons, muskets, and “all regimental furnishings and supplies”).[xxiii]

            The select regimens were administered by the Streltsy prikaz until 1680. Under Tsar Fedor Alekseevich the movement to centralize army administration is clear, as well as the understanding of the necessity of military reforms and changes in its organizational control. Within the framework of the attempted reform of the army and its management, in 1680 the select regiments were transferred from the Streltsy prikaz—which was more and more given police and gendarme functions— to the Foreign [Inozemnyi] prikaz. There they were administered with a short interruption from the end of May to the end of December 1682, when both regiments were returned to the Foreign prikaz and where they stayed right up to its abolishment in connection with the creation of a General-Commissar [general-komissar] prikaz on 18 February 1700, which from the summer of 1701 received the name of Military Affairs [Voennykh del] prikaz.

            We do not possess normal statutory documentation regulating the internal structure and strength of the select regiments. Its absence is made up for by the many preserved personnel lists of various kinds, which allow us to construct the actual organization of a regiment and trace its changes. In the second half of the 17th century, new-style regiments in Russia typically had a strength of 1000 or 2000 sergeants and soldiers, divided into 10 or 20 companies respectively. Structurally, the select regiments were at first of 2000 men. The 1st Company at full strength was headed by the colonel. The number of lieutenant colonels’ and majors’ companies varied, but with the appearance in the select regiments of a second lieutenant colonel the number 2 was almost always attached to the lieutenant colonel’s company. By the 1650s and ‘60s, the organization as reconstructed shows a regiment as having: 1 colonel, 2 lieutenant colonels, 2 majors, 15 captains, 20 lieutenants, 20 ensigns, 1 regimental clerk, and 1 regimental supply-train master [oboznik]. But this organization did not last. This is especially so for the last companies, which were usually commanded by lieutenants and sometimes by ensigns.

            In the beginning of the 1660s, the First and Second Select Regiments, which had been created as 2000-man units, increased their size to 3000 and more, and by the end of Alexis Mikhailovich’s reign reached a strength of 5000. Their commanders were elevated to general-officer rank. By the time of the Chigirin campaign of 1677-78, the size of the First Select Regiment reached 7000 sergeants and soldiers. In the course of the 17th century the First Select Regiment did not have a clear system of obtaining men, although at first its personnel fully reflected its name—Aggei Shepelev chose them from the veterans in other regiments. Soldatskii sergeants and privates were lesser boyars [deti boyarskie], with little or no land, newcomers to the service class [novoverstannye], foreigners, Asiatic natives (Tatars, Cheremis, etc.), cossacks, free men, tax-paying persons [datochnye], and also soldiers transferred from other new-style regiments. Beginning in the 1660s, the mass of sergeants and soldiers originated in the regions administered by the Ustyug chet’, and also from southern districts and towns around Kazan, but soldiers are also encountered from the towns beyond Moscow.

            A very important matter is the drafting [poverstanie] of soldiers into service. Already in 1651 Colonel Issac van Bukoven sent an instruction to the head of the Foreign prikaz, boyar I.D. Miloslavskii, in which he wrote: “It befits a soldier to be good and faithfully stand guard where he is placed, and be able to handle his weapon well. Then he can form a private soldier become a corporal, become a noble, since the first trait of a noble is to render good service.”[xxiv] It was somewhat later that the army achieved its form as a channel for social mobility, but the large drafts for service reflected an existing tendency that became normalized in instituted in the “Table of Ranks” [1722]. Unlike land-owning officers whose provisions were deducted from their remunerations, drafted old soldiers obtained higher ration allotments in addition to an increase in pay. In this the origins of the drafted soldier played no part. We encounter drafts not only of cossacks and sons of streltsy, but of peasants and tax-paying persons, too. The landed owners of peasants taken into the army were prohibited from keeping the wives and children of the new soldiers. However, runaway estate peasants who enrolled “of their own will” without a government order were liable to be unconditionally returned to their previous masters.

            From the time they were formed, the select soldiers’ regiments went through all the wars waged by Russian in that part of the 17th century: against Poland, the Crimean khanate, separatists beyond the Ukraine in the northwest (as part of the Novgorod force), in the west (as part of the Smolensk army), southwest (in the Sevsk Regiment), south (in the Belgorod Regiment); against rebel bands under Stepan Razin; against Turkey, the Crimean khanate, and “traitor Circassians” also beyond the Ukraine, having taken part in the defense of Kiev and the fighting for Chigirin; against Turkey and the Crimean khanate in the south in the offensive phase of operations under V.V. Golitsyn in the Crimean campaigns and under the young Peter I in the Azov campaigns.

            Having arisen as two elite infantry regiments of the soldatskii discipline, the select regiments changed in the 1680s into general-officer regiments [genera’skie polki], achieving the size of a later division. Created as Russian regiments without foreign officers, by the end of the century the select regiments lost their “Russianness.” In place of the special selection of personnel, their elite status was by the 1680s marked by these regiments’ permanent service state, as well as by their continuing connection with Moscow.

            During the governments of Alexis Mikhailovich’s children, the select regiments were in fact the only Russian infantry of the new style which was permanently in service. In their permanent garrisons only a thousand men from each of the select regiments were on constant duty, and just before military operations these would serve as a basis for deploying a regiment’s entire wartime strength. In this way, at this time the select regiments were becoming cadres of general-officer regiments, occupying a place between ordinary colonels’ regiments and voevod regiments, corresponding to later Petrine general-officer positions. The select regiments were Peter I’s initial military school and became the model for his own formation of guards units and the first regiments of a new regular Russian army.

            The role and place of the select regiments in the creation, development, and reformation of the new-style Russian army lie outside the bounds of the history of these two regiments. The significance of a history of the Moscow select soldiers’ regiments is increased by the disappearance of the archives of the Cavalry [Reitarskii], Streltsy, and the greater part of the Foreign prikazy which dealt with the organization and reform of the new-style forces. We will continue the present historical outline and organizational description of these two oldest regular regiments, dwelling in detail on lists of commanders, history of their flags, and the service dress of the select regiments. These articles will allow the construction of a reliable picture of the processes involved in building and reforming the armed forces in Russian in the second half of the 17th century. (To be continued.)





This article is illustrated throughout by engravings from the first printed Russian regulation, “Exercises and Technique for Training Infantrymen in Fighting,” translated and published in Moscow in 1647. This book was used to carry out the training of the select regiments in arms drill and maneuvers. The engravings were made in Holland on the order of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich.


Page 3: Aggei Alekseevich Shepelev, okol’nichii, duma general [dumnyi general], and commander of the First Select Regiment, 1687. Artist Oleg Fedorov.

            Archival documents allow the reconstruction of the court dress of duma generals in the second half of the 17th century, with A.A. Shepelev, commander of the First Select Regiment, as an example.

            30 December 1687 – Note in the kroil’naya book for year 195 of the Treasury office [Kazenyi prikaz] regarding the preparation in the prikaz of a gold caftan for the okol’nichii and duma general Aggei Alekseevich Shepelev for the 1687 Crimean campaign:


     For Aggei Alekseevich Shepelev is tailored a caftan: 2 arshins ½ vershoks long, 5 arshins in the hem, gores 11 ½ vershok; sleeves 1 arshin 6 vershoks long, at their base— half of 10 vershoks, around the elbows—half of 8 vershoks, in the wrist—3 vershoks full; collar—10 roubles full.

     For the cutting, use 12 arshins 2 quarters of gold baibareka clove at 3 roubles 50 kopecks an arshin. For lining, interior lamellar sable with sleeves, at a cost of 110 roubles. For trim—three paws of sables without paws and without tails for 140 roubles. Gold buttons are sewn on with rubies and emeralds—sent from the State Embassy office [posol’skii prikaz].

     Goblet of gilded silver with gorotskaya cover, weight—2 pounds 46 zolotniks], not used—2 zolotniks.

     On the buttonholes of the whole caftan are sewn 3 arshins of thick gold cord.


RGADDA, F. 396, Op. 2, Kn. 391, L. 52ob-53, 54ob.


[1 arshin=28 inches, 1 vershok=3/4 inch, 1 zolotnik=4 ½ grams]


Page 5: Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich. Portrait by an unknown artist, 1670s. (State Historical Museum.)


Page 7. Bandolier and powder horn [berendeika i porokhovnitsa]. (Materialy po istorii russkikh odezhd i obstanovki zhizni narodnoi, izdavaemye po Vysochaishemu poveleniyu A. Prokhorovym. St. Petersburg, 1883.)




Good Books.

            Recently our scholars and book publishers gave two genuine gifts to all persons interested in Russian military history, these being the first time valuable foreign sources from the Time of Troubles are being published in Russian. The first is Istoriya Moskovskoi voiny, which was written by a Pole who took part—Captain Nikolai Marchocky, who later served from 1608 to 1612 in the forces of the False Dmitry, the crowned hetmen Zholkevskii, and in the Moscow garrison. The translation from the Polish edition of 1841, the excellent scholarly commentary, and introductory essay were done by Ye. Kyksina. This book is part of the series Russkaya istoricheskaya biblioteka from the Moscow publishing house ROSSPEN. The second publication, larger in size, is Istoriya desyatiletnei shvedsko-moskovskoi voiny, covering the Swedish war with Muscovy in the early 17th century. It comes from the pen of the Swedish royal historiographer Juhan Widekind (1618-1678). The first translation of this book with commentary was compiled by the end of the 1930s by collaborators at the Leningrad branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences’ Institute of History using two Stockholm editions—one from 1671 (in Swedish) and one from 1672 (in Latin). This was supplemented in 1985-1990. In 2000, finally, the book was published in Moscow by the academic press “Pamyatniki istoricheskoi mysli.”



[1] Chet’ or chetvert’ — One of the four (later five) financial departments in Moscow in the 16th and 17th centuries that collected taxes from certain regions (“quarters”) of the state to pay salaries to military servicemen.  - M.C.

[2] Stol’nik – A court rank just beneath members of the duma; originally, one of the tsar’s servitors at the table (stol). - M.C.

[3] Okol’nichii – A court rank just beneath boyar; one of the advisors around (okolo) the tsar. – M.C.

[i] Khristensen Sven Oge. Istoriia Rosssii XVII v. Obzor issledovanii i istochnikov. Moscow, 1989. Pages 24-26.

[ii] Malov, A.V. Sotsial’nyi sostav moskovskikh vybornykh polkov i vopros o prirode voiska novogo stroya (na primere moskovskogo polka Aggeya Shepeleva). Politicheskie instituty i sotsial’nye straty Rossii (XVI-XVIII vv.). Thesis. International Academic Conference of the RGGU. Moscow, 1998. Pages 82-85.

[iii] General Manstein. Memóirs of Russia, historical, political, and military, from the year MDCCXXVII, to MDCCXLIV. London. MDCCLXX. (1770). Page 401; Le general de Manstein. Memóires historiques, politiques et militaries sur la Russie, depuis l’anee MDCCXXVII, jusqu’a MDCCXLIV. Leipzig, 1771. Pages 554-555; Le general de Manstein. Memóires historiques, politiques et militaries sur la Russie, contenant les principales Revolutions de cet Empire, et les Guerres des Russes contre les Turcs et les Tartares; avec un Supplement qui donne une idée du Militaire, de la Marine, du Commerce, etc. de ce vaste Empire. A. Lyon. MDCCLXXII. (1772). Tome second. Page 354; lastly a Russian-language edition: Kh. G. Manshtein. Zapiski o Rossii // Perevoroty i voiny. Istoriya Rossii i doma Romanovykh v memuarakh sovremennikov. XVII-XX vv. Moscow, 1997. Pages 258-259. In the very first (1770) London edition of Manstein’s notes, there were many errors and mistakes made in the translation into English and the preparation of the manuscript for publication, and therefore we check the text of the first editions against the Leipzig and Lyon editions, which were in the original language.

[iv] Brix, Heinrich Otto Richard. Geschichte des alten Russischen Heeres-Einrichtungen von den Frühesten Zeiten bis zu den von Peter dem Grossen gemachten Veranderungen. Von Brix, Rittmeister. Berlin, 1867. Page 298.

[v] Yakovlev, L. Russkie starinnye znamena. Opyt istoricheskogo issledovaniya o russkikh starinnykh znamenakh. Moscow, 1865. Pages 77-80.

[vi] Nikolaev, N.G. istoricheskii ocherk o regaliyakh i znakakh otlichiya russkoi armii. T. I. Velikoknyazhestkii i tsarskii periody. St. Petersburg, 1898. Page 73.

[vii] Bobrovskii, P.O. Istoriya Leib-Gvardii Preobrazhenskgo polka. T. I. St. Petersburg, 1900. Pages 7-8.

[viii] Ibid. Istoriya 13-go Leib-Grenaderskogo Erivanskogo Ego Velichestva polka za 250 let. Ch. 1. St. Petersburg, 1892. Page 4. Appendix 1, page 3.

[ix] Chernov, A.V. Stroitel’stvo vooruzhennykh sil russkogo gosudarstva v XVII veke (do Petra I). Moscow, 1949. Dissertation manuscript for a doctorate in history. Pages 420-21.

[x] Chernov, A.V. Vooruzhennye sily Russkogo gosudarstva v XV-XVII vv. (S obrazovaniya tsentralizovanogo gosudarstva do voennykh reform pri Petre I). Kratkii ocherk. Moscow, 1954. Page 150.

[xi] Rabinovich, M.D. Polki Petrovskoi armii 1698-1725. Kratkii spravochnik//Trudy Gosudarstvennogo orden Lenina istoricheskogo muzeya. Vypusk 48. Moscow, 1977. No. 75-77. Pages 23-25.

[xii] Palasios-Fernandez, R.O. “O proiskhozhdenii tsvetov petrovskoi leib-gvardii”. Tseikhgauz, 1996. No. 5. Pages 4-7; “Muzykanty vybornykh moskovskikh soldatskikh polkov. K voprosu o noshenii zapadnoevropeiskoi odezhdy v Moskovii XVII veka. Tseikhgauz, 1998. No. 7. Pages 7-9.

[xiii] For more details on the formation of the select regiments see: Malov, A.V. Nachalo vybornykh polkov – predshestvennikov petrovskoi gvardii//”Za veru i vernost’” 300 let Rossiiskoi Impreatorskoi gvardii. Thesis from the conference of 11-12 December 2000 at the State Hermitage. St. Petersburg, 2000. Pages 56-59.

[xiv] As a rule, the term nachal’nye lyudi in the second half of the 17th century is understood to mean the command personnel of the new-style army in the ranks from lieutenant to colonel. The term preceded the 18th-century understanding of an officer class.

[xv] The phrase used here—sluzhilye po otechestvu—is a comprehensive and more accurate term for the service class of landowners (dvoryane, deti boyarskie, and others) who in the 18th century would for the most part combine into a single noble class.

[xvi] Zheladki—a term for Polish soldiers that became established in Russian in the 17th century. In the Polish Commonwealth zheladki or zholnery were hired soldiers who manned the western European style regiments. Etymologically, the words zheladak and zholner had the same western European origins as the Russian word soldat.

[xvii] Novopribornye – chosen (drafted, recruited) for the first time into military service. Usually this term was used in reference to soldiers of the new style or in regard to drafted service personnel who were for the first time being enrolled or transferred to one of the social groups (streltsy, cossacks, pushkary gunners, and others).

[xviii] Bobrovskii, P.O. Istoriya 13-go… Page 7.

[xix] RGADA, F. 110. Op. 1. Razryad I. Kn. 6. L. 91, 139, 141-141ob; Razryad. II. 1658g. No. 1. Ch. I. L. 1-3, 11-13, 19, 21, 201, 217, 346.

[xx] RGADA, F. 141. 1671 g. No. 168. L. 1; No. 169. L. 1.

[xxi] “Quire” [v dest’] is a reference to the format of the ordered books.

[xxii] Shalamai (sholomai, shalomai) - the words most commonly used in the 17th century for a fife, reed pipe, or “fiola.

[xxiii] RGADA. F. 141. 1671 g. No. 168. L. 1-5; No. 169. L. 1-3.

[xxiv] Malov, A. Perevod s galanskovo pis’ma, chto podal boyarinu Il’e Danilovichu Miloslavskomu raitarskovo stroyu polkovnik Isak fan Bukoven, kak vsyakikh chinov uryadnikov vosprosit’ pro ratnoe uchen’e, chto vsyakomu uryadniku v ratnom stroe podobaet vedat’. I protiv tekh vosprosov—otvet. Rossiiskii arkhiv. Istoriya Otechestva v svideltel’stvakh i dokumentakh XVII-XX vv. T. VI. Moscow, 1995. Page 7.