Vooruzhenie Sili Russkogo Gosudarstva
v XV-XVII Veke
(The Armed Forces of the Russian State in the 15th - 17th Centuries)
A. V. CHERNOV
(This book is a detailed account of the important changes which
took place in the Russian armed forces during this period and could serve as
the major source of information on this subject except that it is badly marred
by the authors insistence that Russias armed forces developed
without any external influence and were at all times superior in quality and
techniques to all others. This is an extremely xenophobic and tendentious work.
It is filled with Russian chauvinism, not to mention Marxist preconception. It
is useful as a basic guide to the developments of the era, but every statement
should be checked. However, while the authors comments and conclusions
are biased, I believe that the numerical data on composition and strength of
forces are likely correct.)
I translated and sumarized these sections of the book in 1970 and offer this
now. The numbers at beginning of a paragraph indicate the page number in
The Russian Army developed independently. The bourgeois and
dvorianin historians of the 19th Cent gave too much credit to foreign
influences. Also they treated it separately from the history of the country and
did not discuss its class character, also not enough attention was paid to
economic factors and they didn't periodize properly. Also Professor Razin made
mistakes in the Kievan army due to non critical use of pre-revolutionary
7. In ancient Kiev the forces were called rat or
Voi Voinstvo and Voisko, Sila and polki. The army was composed of the
princes' druzhina and the boyar druzhina and the peoples' opolchenia.
The ancient Slavic tribes in pre-Kievan times had druzhina of tribal
princes. Kiev strengthened it. The princes' druzhina was divided into senior
(old) and junior (young) parts the older was the closest advisors. In peacetime
they were local governors and administrators, in war they were voevodes of
separate detachments, or all together in the force. On campaigns the seniors
gathered to the prince, to plan the campaign. They were the military council.
In service they brought their men. Their importance was not only personal skill
and experience but also the forces they commanded. This force was separate from
the princes' band and independent of the prince. It was a significant force in
the Xth century. The junior druzhina was the princes own band called
gridva, otroki, detskie, dvoryani. In peace they were household
servants and close assistants of the prince.
The internal organization is not given in the sources.
The seniors became landholders and had votchinas and became like vassals. The
juniors received service land while on duty. The conditions changed as they
gained land permanently. By the end of the l2th cent they were called dvorov.
The boyars also served the prince.
9. Their service depended upon separate agreements. The boyars
could serve any prince they chose. Several princes and boyars had several
thousands of men. There were wars between the princes and service to maintain
internal order and to suppress the population. There was not much foreign war.
The prince called up the people the voi militia organized in
'polki'. The polk organization existed since the founding of Kiev it was
organized in 10,000's all capable men in the thousand under the
head of the 1,000's man, The 1,000's were divided into 100's the sotnik and
into 10's the desyatnik they had elected leaders. There were similar
organizations in other early peoples. These organizations predated the princes
and was used by the princes to strengthen himself.
10. There was further development during the feudal period, all
units were called polk even the dvor and the druzhina. The city population
militia had horses if possible. The bourgeois historians say the druzhina was
the main force and the militia only exceptional but Chernov says the druzhina
was too small to be effective as an independent force. The prince lead his
druzhina personally in battle The militia's shortcoming was poor discipline,
but it was still effective.
11. The cavalry was the main part of the druzhina, the militia was
both mounted and on foot. In the first known campaigns of the Kievan princes
there were mounted and foot units in battle the infantry and cavalry worked
together. The cavalry sometimes was dismounted. The infantry was best in siege
and in defense of the city and also was used against the steppe nomads and the
west European knights. The main force in campaigns on the Black and Baltic and
Caspian seas and on the rivers were infantry.
Svyatoslav and Vladimir had artillery as well. During the feudal period there
was a change in the organization. The separate unit received the name polk.
There were usually three, the center and two wings, or sometimes five, the
center and four flanks. This helped maneuver and gave the possibility for
12. Alexander Nevsky at Chudovskoe Lake used a flank
In Moscow there was development of the militia and the great horse
dvor. The numbers in the prince's dvor increased. The service princes lost
independence. Both princes and boyars lost freedom and the agreement
relationship. The boyars lost land if they served another prince. The militia
of Moscow the rati was from the city population and that of the
local area also.
13. After the death of the 1,000's man, Vasilii Vel'yaminov, in
1374 this elected office was ended. The prince's power was strengthened and his
siege and technical capability was increased.
The first firearms were used in the 1382 defense of Moscow. They
appeared later in other principalities. By the end of the 14th century Russian
artillery was a part of the military force, at first defense and siege guns
were used and then field artillery. For a major war one princedom was
insufficient to field an army. There were agreements on mutual action among the
princes. In written agreements it was stated that others must help Moscow, but
it didnt always work out. Still it was a way to teach cooperation, and
helped subordinate the princes to Moscow. At Kulikova field in l380 there was a
successful united force.
Dmitri Donskoi had 400,000 men according to the chronicle he had
both horse and foot. It is one of the glorious pages in Russian military
history. The Russian forces gathered far from their Russian lands and
outnumbered by the Tatars under the leadership of leading military commander
Dimitri won a great victory. Although the Tatar yoke wasn't broken it took the
strengthening of centralization of all Russian forces and the liquidation of
the separate and diverse military forces to free Russia from the
14. The pre-revolutionary theory that the Russians copied from
foreigners for weapons structure organization tactics military art and
objectives is all false. At the same time the military art of the Slav peoples
developed an independent way in connection with concrete historic conditions.
The military activities of Svyatoslav already make clear the appearance of
original military art of the Russians. Its beginnings go back to the VI and VII
century, when the Slavs entered into the internationa1 arena and won over the
Avars and over Byzantium. The peoples militia played a big role in this, larger
role than in the West. This differentiated it from the West, The Russian
infantry based on peasants and city population in difference from the western
infantry could conduct independent actions. Such major battles as Russia won on
the Ledov shore, and Kulikova show the result of the joint strength of cavalry
and infantry. Russian battles in the XII and XIV cent also differ from the West
in that in the West units were in action singly and in Russia in battle
participated multi-mutual action all types of forces.
Chernov says the bourgeois idea of the influence of the Mongols is
also false. He says they were lower in level of cultural development and
18. The centralization of the Russian state under Moscow was a
question of military necessity to throw off the Tatars. What was needed was a
unified command. The process of bringing separate princes and their boyars into
submission was a military process of gaining their service more loyally. The
church also strengthened itself during this era. Also the peasants were
exploited. The process was completed by the end of the 2nd half of the 15th
cent. Economic and diplomatic measures were used with the help of military
The process of unification of the Russian land around Moscow
was speeded in battles against the foreign military dangers from the Germans in
the north west, the Kazan Khanate in the east, the Great Horde the remnant of
the Golden horde and the Crim Khanate in the south.
19. The princes and boyars resisted this process
20. Moscow alone had insufficient strength versus the enemies, of
necessity they sought unity. In the last part of the 15th cent the central
organization of the military forces was the chief activity of the Moscow
government. It was accomplished in two ways, by bringing the princes into
service and by increasing and strengthening the Moscow princes dvor. Many
princes came voluntarily and kept important privileges. Military service was
their chief duty. Of the 60 voevodes in the battle of Vedroshe under Ivan III
on 14 July 1500, 11 were princes. Their position depended on their ancestry
21. When all princes were serving Moscow the boyars had to also or
else be traitors. By the end of the 15th cent the political situation changed.
The right to leave gradually was lost (not formally). Some attempts were made,
the government took measures against this. The princes were made to swear
loyalty, and joint responsibility was decreed, other princes made surety for
each other. The lands of traitors were seized. The character of service became
regulated by the prince. He strived for a united state and for a single
service, that of the prince. The grand princes army was composed of lower
rank people, the dvoriani and deti boyars. The other princes' armies became
part of the state army. The deti boyars also joined.
23. They were also called Tverskis, Yaroslavski, etc in their own
locations. The difference between the Moscow and other town deti boyars. The
dvoriani were officially below the deti boyars before the 16th cent. The
dvoriani officially were the grand Duke's servants and depended on him, of the
1310 men receiving pomestie in Novgorod, 280 were service people of the boyars
and princes. Moscow tried to reduce the power of the princes by granting land
in the name of the government.
24. Thus the dvoriani and deti boyars were mixed in the Moscow
service. Former servants of princes became city dvoriane. The deti boyar title
was kept in the future by lower category of local service people of the middle
level ruling class. The service required a material basis. The natural economy
required that it be on a land and peasant basis. Thus the Pomestie developed.
It differed from the votchina.
25. The government confiscated the land from private owners and
independent peasants and made it into pomesties. The government stopped peasant
flight, at first it was limited to Yurevs day. The pomestnik had to come
at the call of the government armed and with a horse. The details are unknown.
This militia of horsemen was not only the ruling class but some of their
servants. The organization of the pomestnik militia was a major step. The size
of the force increased. Its political importance was it helped free the prince
from feudal dependence. He was the direct commander of the military force. The
disadvantages were it assembled only at war and danger. The gathering took
place slowly it took the government apparatus time to send the orders, usually
several months were required.
27. The members didn't receive systematic training, they brought
and purchased their own weapons so they varied with the cost and ability to
pay. The pomestnik busy at home didn't want to come. There was poor discipline.
The development of the military art required better organization. The army
laged behind requirements.
By the middle 17th cent a new series of government measures were
taken. Instead of the militia gathered only in war at the call of the veche,
representatives of the people began to serve in the capacity of pomestniki
service people varied by groups, the boyars, dvoriani and peasants.
When the state had a major war they called the city and rural
population as much as 1 warrior for every 2 or 3 workers. The basic unit was
the l00 households. The duty to serve was universal. The units also built roads
and bridges etc. With the artillery the service people was important as they
did all the supply work and the transport and service duties. Chernov tries to
show the importance of the people's part by saying they were the key to the
artillery which was in turn the key to the army. Also the people defend and
guard the cities. In 1501 the Livonian war the Pskov people defended the town.
In 1506 Nizhi Novgorod also was defended by the people who killed many Tatars.
In 154l the Crim Tatar attack on Moscow , the people prepared for the siege. In
1517 there was a famous incident when the Crim Tatar Khan with 20,000 attacked
Tula, The Voevode of the grand prince took a small detachment of people under
command of deti boyars in small units and destroyed the Tatars. Learning of
this the Khan retreated but the route was blocked. The infantry came out of the
woods and killed many Tatars. These were local inhabitants (he doesn't say
Cossaks) this shows the people could defend themselves and their land from
From the middle XV century the Cossacks appeared on the Dniper and
in the XVI century came the Don Cossacks.
30. In the beginning of the 16th cent appeared the pishchalniki
whose role is unknown and, confused with another group or name the
In 1510 Vasili III at Pskov sent from Moscow 1,000 Pishchalnikov.
He kept there 1,000 deti boyars and 500 pishchalniki, later Smolensk received
1,000 of the same from Pskov. In l5l6 the battle of Smolensk the voyevod called
for reinforcements and Vasilii sent more of these men. In 1518 - 1519 to
Polotsk were directed warriors from Novgorod and Pskov, among them were
Pishchalniki and pososhnie. They also defended the southern border. The Razryad
list for 1545 lists troops to call from Novgorod to Kazan in various classes.
The suburb 100's, ryadov, pogostov, polagalos, 2,000 pishchalnikov - 1 for
every 3 to 5 people.
31. They were divided into 100's under a sotnik, They were
predominately city people in distinction from the posokhi fielded from the
rural area. The people had to supply the arms and ammunition, and uniforms and
food. Also there were the kazennie pishchalniki who were supplied with weapons
by the government. They had a direct part in battle not subsidiary. In battle
they served on foot, some rode on horse to the battle. They were the first
infantry detachment using firearms.
Service people from the naryada artillery were a duty
detail. The use of artillery led to the increase in the naryad people and
gradually it stood apart from the other units. There were pushkarei and
pishchalniki, zatinshchiki who operated from the zatinni pishchalei.
The vorotniki guarded the city gates, there were also plotniki and
kuznets. In 1540 Toropts city had 5 pushkarei, 24 pishchalniki, several with
sons all living in 30 houses. Some places they lived in special suburbs, Their
pay is not clear, probably they had the right to trade and be artisans and had
other privileges. In 1545-46 in Novgorod there were 45 pushkarie and
pishchalnikov, They had to be ready for campaign. The artillery specialists
were paid well.
32. The Composition forces in the XV - XVI centuries.
- the local of dovoriane and deti boyars
- detachment of servants of the deti boyars of princes and
- service people in the naryad
- pososhnaya rat in 100's
The first three were horsemen the rest on foot. Plus the artillery.
The cavalry was the main part.
33. The numbers of the forces is not clear. The numbers were always
changing. Foreign sources say 150 to 350 thousand. These are not reliable. We
can say that in serious times the prince possibly could collect 200
In the 2nd half of the l5th century the polk became the
structure. Each army had three polki; the main, lead and rear. Then
there were five by adding right and left wing polki. In the middle 16th
century there were two more polki added - the special gosudarev
polk of service people of the Moscow ranks. This unit was under the
direct command of the grand prince and was his own force. If he was not present
they went into the other polki. Under Vasilii III came the ertaylnie
polk, a light cavalry detachment in front of the lead polk. This was a
reconnaissance unit and provided out guards on campaign. It is first seen in
the 1524 campaign to Kazan. The personnel were ad hoc. It was used most to the
south and east against nomads.
34. The division into 3 or 5 polki became not only the
campaign division as before but also at the place of formation the units of
dvoriane and deti boyars were put under service of the princes in definite
formation. All this was done by the Razryad. The word
Razryad in ancient Russia had many meanings. It meant any painting,
in military form it is from razryazhat, to distribute. Dimitri Donskoi
razryazhal, distributed, his forces into polki at Kulikovo, later
the office that did this in peacetime with formally written orders was called
by this name. The various soldiers were assigned to polki and sometimes
given instructions on the route to the meeting place et cetera.
35. The razryad did only the directing work, its task was important
in the consolidation and strengthening of the government. At the meeting place
or on the battle field the separate hosts were united. Already in the 1st half
of the XVI cent, there was the general rule that the main hosts from the
different princes united together and advanced guards from princes united with
advanced guards etc. This means that when the separate armies joined they did
so by uniting like units. This rule lasted till the middle 17th cent. The
polk had from 300 - 500 to several l,000's of men. In the Kazan campaign
of 1524 the advance guard polk had 5,000 men and the advance polk
Gradually the official divisions by the Razryad in the 16th and
17th cent. were the main, advance, right, left, and watch (guard) polki.
The battlefield order differed. The chronicle of the battle of Orsha, 8 Sept.
1514, where the voevode Chelyadnin put the main force in 3 lines and for
movement to the flank and rear of the enemy put strong horse units on both
36. It is likely that the lead polk was the 1st line and the
main polk the second line and the right and left polki were the
3rd line with the watch polk as a reserve. The main polk was the
center of march and the main unit on the battle field. The serving princes
commanded the polki and also the grand princes and boyars commanded. The
voevode of the main polk was commander in chief of the army.
The grand prince didn't trust the serving princes, so he tried to
put a Moscow boyar in command. There was a supply problem in food and
especially food for the horses. There were agreements made for supply when the
army operated in different a princes territory.
37. The introduction of artillery was a big step there was a shift
from iron to cast bronze cannon. Ivan III began the artillery industry in 1475
he had a cannon shop, in 1547 the cannon office was set up. By 1500 there were
several cannon works in Moscow. In 1494 Moscow had a gunpowder factory also.
Smolensk in 1483 had 17 pishchalie. At the end of the 1560's the caliber
varied from ½ to 5 funt in weight, the weight of the cannon from 2 to 16
The name of the cannon master Yakovlev was on the cannon of this
time. In the campaign of Tver in 1485 the Russians had artillery in the siege
of Viborg in 1496 much artillery was used. The pushka a large caliber weapon
was the predominant weapon it shot stone. The pishchal was smaller in caliber.
The in the first half 16th cent artillery was important at the siege of Pskov
1502 and Kazan 1505 and battle of Orsha 1507 and at Smolensk, The field
artillery of the 16th cent, was wheeled and horse drawn. The naryad was an
independent part of the army. At Kazan in 1506 the naryad was part of the main
polk the commander was Ivan Obolenski he had 3 special assistants. He was named
commander by the Razryad, like the other commanders. In 1524 at Kazan there
were two independent naryads the larger under the commander voivode and the
other under separate command also in 1530,1541, ans 1548.
Handguns appeared in the 2nd half of the 15th century. In 1480 the
Russians had firearms against the Tatars. In the 16th cent they were called
39. The prince gained power by moving people from one uezd to
another. The service people wanted freedom from military service. All military
affairs were in the Razryad Prikaz. The assembly of forces took much time and
organization. It acted in the campaign of Novgorod 1478. The pomestie prikaz
handled the land allotments. The namestnik was the prince's lieutenant in the
local area and lead the local forces.
The reform of Ivan IV
43. The feudal reaction during Ivan's youth showed the strength and
dislike of the feudal forces for the central government. The uprising against
the feudal leaders by the people of Moscow in 1547 shows the peoples
desires. The reforms were taken to strengthen the Tsar. In 1552 Kazan was taken
as a result of the active foreign policy of Ivan. In 1555 the Siberian Tsar,
Ediger, made himself a vassal. In 1556 Astrakhan was taken.
The 25 year Livonian war showed that state aims could be achieved
by strong armed force. The existing force was insufficient. Ivan's reforms
designed to help this. The important military theorist Ivan Semevovich
Peresvetov advised reform. His work was important step I in military theory. He
recommended. reform and a strategic plan. He was a representative of the lower
level dvoriane. His idea was to make them the central element of the state
military force. The concrete measures were, he wanted. 20,000 guards with
firearms. He especially wanted the southern frontier defended, he would. lead
an active foreign p~1icy, He says this work had a bearing on the reform of Ivan
IV. Another reformer was Ermolaya. His idea was for the service people also, it
was more concrete than Peresvetov's. He wanted to improve the material
situation of the dvoriane based on a study of the real situation, The pomestie
was the basic support of the dvoriani, although money and. ?feeding were
also used. It needed. closer direct ties between the service and the land,
Ivans reforms connected with this aim, they were part of a wide reorganization,
his reign was almost constant war. 1549_to 1556 war over the Volga, 1558 on the
25 year Livonian war and then the constant Tatàr threat also. The
creation of the streltzi was the central measure in the reform. When they first
appeared is a mater of opinion. There are no eyewitness accounts left. Most
historians date them before 1550.
47. According to the letopises there were well trained streltzi at
the coronation in 1547. Chernov says that Marx showed in his chronological
notes that in 1545 Ivan established a permanent personal guard called streltzi,
as it was armed with firearms instead of bows and quivers.
Part of this guard in the guise of the central kernel he sent to
the army. Marx has been confirmed by Soviet historians.
In June 1546 Ivan sponsored to the the Kazan khanate a supporter of
Moscow the Kasimov Khan, Shakh Ali. He left Moscow on 7 April that year the
report says about that campaign that Shakh Ali was accompanied by 3,000 man
detachment of Tatars and didn't take with him any firearms or
48. Shakh Ali was in Kazan a month and was expelled by the Kazan
government of Khan Safa Gerei. The sources say that in the 2nd year after
expelling of Shakh Ali, Ivan went to Kazan with his voevodes Simeon Mikulinski
and Vasilii Obolenski Serebryani and a large army in which were firearms and
armed streltzi. So the streltzi took part in military operations in l546-47.
Therefore they must have been formed before then. In 1550 the vibrani
select streltzi detachments. The tsar selected 3000 to live in
Vorv'evskj. sloboda and have deti boyar officers. There were 6 detachments of
500 men each. The detachment called the stat'I was divided into 100's and
probably in 10's The head of each 100 was a sotnik from the deti boyars and
they received pay of 4 rubles a year, The creation of this select streltzi was
part of a wide reform closely related to the institution of the select 1000's
of the same year 1550. The 1000's were a detachment of select horse the select
streltzi were a 3000 ma n infantry detachment. Both~ were trained personnel of
a military guard and were a type of guard unit. The streltzi
differed from pomesti militia as they lived in a special place the suburb and
were payed a steady money salary. They approximated a regular unit. The social
status was different from the horseman dvoriani. The streltsi were selected
from the people mostly from the commercial taxpaying class.
49. The streltzi 50·man Stati existed until the 2nd half of
the 17th cent. Then they gradually changed to general regiments but the 100 man
companies remained. They lost their unique organization. Their first baptism in
fire in a big battle was the siege of Kazan in 1552. The letopis mentions
actions of streltzi there. To storm Kazan were sent the eptaul'nli, lead, and
great polki In front went the streltzi and Cossacks under their atamans
and sotniks. The streltsi were in the firefight when the Tatar horse made a
sortie against them. The tsar ordered the voevoides of the ertaulni polk to
They entrenched themselves on the bank of the river Bulak and kept
the Tatars from sortieing. The 2nd voyevode of the main polk, M. I.
Vorotinski was ordered with the entire polk to move gabbions against the
town. The gabbions were rolled toward the walls - moved about 50 sagen from the
city walls. The siege was conducted by use of trench and gabbion. The streltsi
covered the operation.
On Sat 27 Aug the voevoid N. Ya. Morozov was ordered to bring up
the artillery with the main force. Heavy artillery fire was conducted. The
streltzi were located in entrenchments in front of the gabbions and helped
cover the artillery despite casualties. On Sunday it was decided to attack from
the river bank of the Kazan river, the gabbions were moved forward.
50. The voevode sent the streltzi forward under command of Ivan
Ershov and the Atamans with the Cossacks. The streltzi fired their guns and the
Cossacks used their bows. A sortie was repulsed by the Mordvins. A
12-meter-tower was built and from it fire was brought on the city walls. Dry
wood was piled in the moat and dirt and then the streltzi led the attack.
Chernov says Sources show the decisive role in the attack was played by
the streltzi. The mounted boyars and dvoriani did not want to dismount
and attack city walls it was beneath their dignity.
In the Livonian war the streltzi also played an important part. On
31 Jan 1563 the siege of Polotsk began. The city was defended by fire. The
ostrog in front of the city walls was defended. It was on the river Dvina and
from an island the streltzi and pushkari opened fire. Two detachments of
streltzi were on the island. On 4-5 Feb. the gabbions were brought up and the
artillery emplaced. The streltzi covered this operation and the Cossacks and
boyar men also helped. The head of the streltzi was Ivan Golokhvastov. They
burned a bastion of the ostrog on the side by the river and penetrated through
the ostrog bastion but Ivan was not ready so he recalled the attack. They lost
15 men. The enemy tried to open negotiations to no result. The gabbions were
again moved forward and a round the clock bombardment of the ostrog was
commenced. The streltzi covered the front. On 9 February the ostrog was fired
and the defenders driven into th city. The ostrog was occupied with the
streltzi in the lead in a hand to hand fight. Reenforcements from he main ;polk
were sent in. After the capture fo the ostrog gabbions were set up all around
the city. On the night of 15 February the streltzi set fire to the city wall.
The troops were ready to attack but the city then surrendered. The success in
the siege was a result of active use of the artillery and the streltzi. There
were 12,000 streltzi at Polotsk. Previous sieges had been unsuccessful due to
lack of permanent trained infantry armed with firearms. The cavalry was of no
use in city fighting. The boyar men militia and pushkari were temporary men the
Cossacks had only bows. The trained infantry was essential for centralization
52.The streltzi had firearms, the dvoriani cavalry had only bows
and swords. Firearms had a big significance already. Chernov says this put the
streltzi ahead of western armies because they had only part of the force armed
with firearms in the west the rest had pikes. The streltzi were very
experienced and trained in war and could shoot accurately. They could even
shoot small birds with the hand firearms. A comparison of the streltzi and
pushchalniki shows both were infantry with firearms but the streltzi were
permeant and organized and trained and were better than the militia. So after
the streltzi did so well the pishchalniki disappeared as a force and the rest
of the infantry became foreign units.
The reform included the pomestie militia. This was the 2nd reform.
The dvoriani militia was the basic national force. It was the class support of
the autocracy. This strengthened their support. There were economic measures as
well as military training reforms.
53. Before the military reforms of the dvoriani in the middle 16th
cent there was an agreement on mestnichestvo. In the fall of 1549
Ivan began a campaign to Kazan. On the way the tsar called to himself the
religious leaders and began to convince the boyars and princes.
On the campaign that he sent to Kazan on national business in order
that there would not be differences on position between them. So on service all
served without place. He promised to decide all argument of place after the
campaign. For this fact that on campaigns it happened to convince the military
people of the necessity for unity and equality. The religious leaders were
called. This shows what harmful influence was mestnichestvo, on the
army. The compact did not have a good result and the boyars continued to fight
for place. Then the government decided to take legal measures. In July 1550 a
meeting was called for negotiations between the tsar and the metropolitan and
Negotiation came to two conclusions.
1.a decision concerned mestnichestvo in general. At the
beginning of discussions it was shown that in the polk the princes,
dvoriani and boyars had to be on service with the boyars and voevoid without
concern for place. In the agreement it was suggested to write down in the
service roster that if dvoriani and deti boyars served with a voevoid not by
family rank that it would not be a violation of family
54.The directive part of the agreement rather decisively placed the
question of mestnichestvo on the basis only of this one issue one
can conclude of the desires of the tsar to completely abolish
mestnichestvo ranks in the army. However further substance of the
agreement decisively lessened the strength of the 1st part. Further we read if
great dvoriane, on service with lower ranking voevode not by family ranks, in
future if the dvoriane was serving as a voevoide with other man he would not
have lost his rank, but would be senior by patrimony. So elimination of
mestnichestvo pretensions from the side of the private soldiers
toward their voevoide comaander was achieved. But the agreement left in force
and confirmed the pretensions between the voevodès. This agreement of
1550 did not fully eliminate Mmestnichetvo in the army but despite that
it had a big effect. The elimination between privates and between privates and
commanders helped strengthen discipline, and raised the authority of the
voevode especially and raised the military capability of the force.
2 The second part of the agreement was an accommodation of
mestnichestvo the ranks between voevodes with existing divisions of
the army into polki. In the service roster it was ordered to write where
the boyars and voevodes were to serve by polk. The first item - the main
voevode of the main polk was the commander-in-chief. The 1st voevode of
the lead polk, right and left polk and reserve polk were
below the main voevode. The 2nd voevode of the main polk and the 1st
voevode of the right polk were equal. The voevode of the lead and
reserve polki were considered to be not lower than the voevodes of the
right polk. The voevode of the left polk was not lower than the
1st voevode of the lead polk, but was lower than the 1st voevode of the
right polk. The 2nd voevode of the lead polk was lower than the
2nd voevode of the right polk. This means the 1st voevode of the main
polk was commander-in-chief and had subordinate to him all the voevodes of
the other polki. The voevodes of the remaining four polki were
equal and equal to the 2nd voevode of the main polk. Except for the
voevode of the left polk who was lower than the voevode of the right
polk. This subordination was slanderous because the right and left
polki were equally placed. Within the polki the voevodes were
subordinated by rank 1st 2nd 3rd .
55. The service place of the polk voevode was set up by
agreement of 1550 and existed till the middle 17th cent, until the end of the
old polk army organization. The agreement determined the voevodes and
improved leadership and settled arguments. Nevertheless despite the
predominance of the new system it was poorly learned by self conceited and
presumptuous boyars. Mestnitchestvo continued to exist and the
government had trouble applying the agreement.
The next measures of Ivan's government were for organization of the
militia to organize a select 1,000. On 1 Oct 1550 a agreement of the tsar and
boyars was made on the selection of 1,000 deti boyars. The agreement involved
placing the 1,000 on pomesties within_60-70 versts of Moscow in the Moscow,
Dmitrov, Ruze, Zvenigorod and other town areas. The selected people were moved
from their previous holdings which, however, they did not loose. There were 3
classes of pomestie, 1st of 200; 2nd of 150; and 3rd of 100 chetverts in size.
In all there were 1,078 people given 118,200 chertverts of land in pomestie
These people were listed in the special thousands book
which is still available for study today. The names include many well known
princely and boyar families. Service was hereditary. For many this was a large
social promotion bringing them close to the tsar. The composition of this
select group included former soldiers of separate princes and boyars. It had a
big political significance. They had to be ready for service. They left the old
places where they had local influence.
56. The 3 part division failed later. The Ukase of 1587 established
all in equal 100 chetvert areas or 150 desyatines in 3 fields. This Ukase in
entirety entered in the Uloshenia of 1649. These people spent their time near
Moscow except when on service. In peace time they were sent as governors of
cities heads of projects such as construction of forts etc. In wartime most
were polk voevodes and heads of 100's, heads of streltzi, Cossacks,
militia, and artillery. Many were middle level commanders and in the
tsars suite. There were quartermasters and officials who checked roads
and bridges and supplies. They were also directors of the prikazi and mere
namestniks and volost rulers. They conducted the census and did civil
57. They began to form a new group of people, and were called vibor
or zhilistvo and began to integrate into the old prince and boyar group. They
are included in the dvoriani book of 1551. They strengthened the Moscow tsar by
being a cadre he could rely on. They were linked to local soldiers in other
areas and served close to the tsar like the streltzi. The agreement of 1550
began the reorganization of the service of dvoriani and boyars and reached
final form in the Ulozhenia on service of 1556. In 1556 came the agreement on
abolishing feeding and on service. The system was much abused. In
connection with feeding a new system was established. A sum called
Okup was paid to the treasury. The appearance of okup
was a large change in the government apparatus. A special financial organ was
set up called the chertvergi. The abolishment of ?kormelenia and
elimination of the rule of mestnichestvo led to great change in the
boyars. Now they were the tsars servants and dependent on the treasury
not on mestnichestvo with their own money. The money, okup, gave
the government the ability to pay the warriors in cash. The agreement of 1566
decided also the question of service. The title is Uloshenia on
Service. The central place was the decision on connection of land and
service. The owners of votchina and pomesties had to serve. Those with from 100
chertverts would serve 1 man with horse and full armor and on campaign with 2
horses. For service they also received a steady money salary. If did not serve
they paid money to the person to serve instead. The Uloshenia of 1556 set norms
of military service for land. The pomestie of 100 chetverts sent 1 man. It made
even service from pomesties and votchinas an obligation. For the votchina and
pomestia this meant that the votchina holders who had served the Udelenie
(semi-independent) princes now had to serve the government. This brought to
service more land owners and increased the size of the force. The government
strengthened the political and economic status of the service.
59. Pomestie holders received judicial rights direct from the tsar.
The reforms took power from local boyars and princes into the hands of the
tsar's namestnik who had central control. In the aim of the reforms there was a
pronounced dvoriani character.
This was a part of the military reforms. After the reform most land
stayed in the hands of the boyars. The dvoriani was dissatisfied with the boyar
rule. The boyars didnt like the tsar favoring the dvoriani and didn't
like his autocracy. The boyars realized the necessity of strengthening the
central power but they wanted to participate in the central government. To
preserve their privileges they interfered with the reform. Having large
military forces they could control the obedience of their own serfs. They
didn't need the help of the central government like the others did. In 1553
Ivan was sick and placed the question of his successor before the boyars. Many
refused to swear allegiance to his young son Dmitri.
60.Preferring Prince Vladimir Andrevich Staritski. Vladimir and his
mother prepared armed force in case of dvoriani revolt and. gathered their deti
boyars and distributed pay. They coordinated secretly with other princes, This
event showed Ivan he could. not depend on the boyars or princes. In battle the
boyars tried to use their feudal privileges to leave,.
61. In the spring of l564 during the Livonian war Prince Kurbski
went over to the enemy side. He was a voevode in wartime. It had a big
political significance. In Jan 1564 the Russians lost heavily on the River Ule
near Orsha because of negligence of the voevodes, Ivan also discovered a plot
In the fall of l564 the Krim Khan helped Poland government to
attack Russia. All this strengthened the boyars and meant they were close to
treason. Ivan took extraordinary measures. He formed special detachments that
he could trust. At first 1,000 men later 6,000. Still later 15,000 to
It was made up of small land owners and service people. Had no
connections to boyars and princes or their a relatives. The purpose was to
defend the tsar's power. The backbone was the city dvoriani. The oprichnina had
direct participation in the war on the south and west border. In 1565 at
Bolkhov the voevode of the oprichnina was sent. The process further spread and
strengthened the oprichnina as it was separated from the regular army. In 1568
when the Zemski polki were stationed on the west border for the campaign
on Lifland the defense of the southern border was only done by the oprichnina
force. There were three main oprichnina polki, the main, lead, and rear
- each had voevodes. There were three oprichnina polki at Mtsensk and 3
at Kaluga and at the appearance of the enemy the units were ordered to unite
each to like unit.
62. In 1569 the defense of the south was by both the Zemski and
oprichnina units, there were 5 zemski units at Serpukhov, Kolomna, and Kashir.
And oprichnina units at Kaluga - the main, lead, and storoshevoi - and at Rzhev
the right and left units. In 1570 all five oprichnina polki moved to
Tarus and the voevode of the oprichnina was at Kaluga. The razryad documents
indicate that for the defense of the south in operations the Zemski and
oprichnina armies were united according to standard procedure main to main et
In 1571 the 5 oprichnina polki with their voevodes
were at Tarus and the voevode of the oprichnina was at Kaluga. After 1571 the
oprichnina polki disappear from the military lists of the southern
frontier. The Oprichnina took part in the Livonian war also. At the siege of
Revel on the campaign of 1577 there were 1,280 oprichnina and 5,190 zemski
streltzi. The oprichnina was a full military force equal to the zemski force.
It was included in the razryad organized in polk the same and had
voevodes et cetera. For administration it had special institutions. In 1565
Ivan ordered his boyars and dvoriani to Aleksandrovski sloboda. At the head of
the oprichnina was a Razryad prikaz similar to the analogous zemski
63. The oprichnina took the boyars and princes lands.
They were moved to the frontier where they had no connection with the people.
The class nature showed in the replacement of the big by the small landholders
the large holding and udels were broken up. With the oprichnina disappeared the
multi-leveled detachments of military servants.
64. By the beginning 1570's the oprichnina had fulfilled its role.
Then the attack in 1571 by the Krim khan showed that the division of the army
into two parts was bad and the independent oprichnina did not do well so in
1572 it was officially ended, but really units continued until the end of the
Military reforms of Ivan IV NAVY
65. Ivan knew that he needed a navy to achieve success in the
Livonian War. He took measures to increase trade in the west and organize a
navy during the war. In April 1557 he began construction of a city at the mouth
of the Narov River below Ivangorod. Foreign merchants were to trade there. At
first the Russians advanced toward the Baltic and by May 1558 near Narva the
Russians had their outlet to the sea.
66. Ivan wanted to make Narva a naval and trade base to replace
Revel and Riga. He began a fleet. But the western neighbors were worried and
blockaded Narva. First a Swedish fleet attacked , then Poland sent privateers,
Ivan decided to retaliate with privateers. He hired the Danish corsair, Kuruted
Rode, to whom he sent orders in March 1570. The appearance of the corsair
operating as a privateer for Russia bothered the other countries. In 1570 the
Reichstag, at the behest of Prussia ordered the imperial fleet to stop Rode,
but no success was achieved. However the independent cities began to attack
Rode. Then the Swedes overtook Rode near Copenhagen and he lost several
67. In August 1570 Ivan sent an army to siege Revel. It was a
strong fortress and naval base held by Sweden. The siege lasted 7 months but
was not successful because with only land forces Ivan couldn't blockade the
port. His hopes for a port were lost. His privateers had to be based at Lubeck
and the Danish ports of Bornholm and Copenhagen.
Lubeck and Denmark concluded a peace with Sweden and agreed to
eliminate the privateers. In Sept 1570 the King of Denmark arrested Rode and
his ships. This showed that a fleet without a base needing to use foreign bases
is always a risky business.
The Russian government got the Englishman, Jerome Horsy, in Russia
in 1572 to secretly build 20 ships at Vologda but nothing is known of the
results. All this shows Ivan's strong desires for closer contacts with the
REFORM OF THE FRONTIER GUARD SERVICE.
68. After the conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan the Turks and Crimean
Tatars did not like the loss. The sultan ordered the Tatars to war. Selim II
was sultan. During the Livonian war the southern border was weak, and the
border danger continued. The Tatar raids continued. Moscow needed more strength
to continue wars in the west and defend the rear in the south.
69. The reorganization of the southern border defenses was
intrusted to the military commander of great renown, M. I. Vorotinski, a boyar
voevode, who was appointed commander of all the border service. In Jan- Feb
1571 elected deti boyar representatives from all the southerner towns with
border service came to Moscow. Vorotinski reported to the Tsar. An unknown
Summary of military situation at end of 16th century
75. The military strength had increased as a result of the reforms.
The army consisted of the service people by heredity and those by selection.
The first group service people of the Duma included the boyars, okol'niche,
dumnie dvoriani. Service people of Moscow included stol'niki, stryapchi,
dvoriani of Moscow, zhil'tsi. Service people of the cities included dvoriani,
deti boyars, dvoriani by court list and city dvoriani. The second group
consisted of streltsi, Cossacks, pushkari, zatinshchiki, vorotniki, kazenni
kusnetsi, plotniki and others. There were also church attached people and the
Service people by heredity
76. The main group was the city dvoriani and deti boyars. By the
1556 charter service for these people began at age 15, before that age they
were considered ho be not grown up. The boyars and other duma officers met with
the dyaki of the prikazi periodically for the purpose of enrolling the new
recruits. Sometimes this was done by the local voyevode. Upon arriving in the
town the boyars had to organize elections of the local service people. Then
they used questionnaires put to the men to be enroled to determine their
property status and service capability. The base pay of the new men would
depend oh their status as determined at this interview. The paymasters
determined from the questioner how large a pomestie and what money payment each
new recruit would receive. The pay depended on ancestry, property status and
the service to be rendered. The pomestie varied in average from 100 chertverts
to 300. Or from l50 desyatins in 3 fields to 450 desyatins.
And the money varied from 4 to 7 rubles a year. In the course of a
man's service the size of both types of payment would be increased. The
government watched to see that lower class people did not enter the ranks of
the dvoriani. The military demands of the country, especially the defense of
the southern border, which needed large quantities of manpower, forced the
government to enrol as deti boyars people of non-boyar or dvorianstvo lineage,
such as the Cossacks, In general the southern frontier was in such need of
military forces that the government paid less attention to linage there. The
new recruit often passed at the same time before a general review Of the local
service people. At this review the recruit had to show the service people his
credentials for service, le his horse and. arms and his men, and what his lands
were and his financial status. All these affected his ability to fulfill the
service. As a result of the review a list was made in each city called the
77. This term first appeared in the reform in 1554. In the militia
organization the desyatnya played a important role. By this list the government
counted the dvoriani and called them to service and released them. All the
units were kept listed in the Razryadni Prikaz. The Prikaz kept all the
statistics on pay death etc from one remuneration to the next.
For the pomestie Prikaz the desyatnya served as the basis for
distributing the land in accordance with the rules. The number of serving men
in each city and uezd depended on the land available. Thus in Kolomna in 1577
there were 310 dvoriani and deti boyars, in Pereyaslavl Zalesk in 1590 there
were 107 men, in Murom in 1597 154 men.
The large cities had the most men. Novgorod had over 2,000 formed
in 5 companies, Pskov and Smolensk had over 479 men. Depending on birth,
property, service duty the dvoriani and deti boyars were divided into groups
select, court, and city were the categories.
The select dvoriani were the privileged part of the uezd service
people by patrimony. In peace time they served their turn by roster in Moscow
at the Tsar's court under the name of zhil'tsi They guarded the
Tsar's court and fulfilled various duties of a military or administrative
nature. In war they entered the Tsar's polk or were the tsar's bodyguard. Or
they were appointed heads of the hundreds in the pomestie militia.
The court deti boyars had a middle position between the select and
city dvoriani. From this group the select dvoriani were chosen. The largest
group was the city or polk dvoriani. The pay these men received varied
considerably both as to size of pomestie and to amount of yearly cash payment.
The pomestie varied from 20 to 700 chertverts and the pay from 4 to 14 rubles a
year. The pay depended on rank, in the military conquest. The congress itself
is of interest. Possibly the first such congress of the frontier forces. It was
designed to make use of the experience of the frontier people in order to
design a new structure of defense.
78. The select dvoriani received the highest pay, from 350 to 700
chertverts of land. The court dvoriani were next, from 350 to 500 chertverts.
And the city dvoriani received 20 to 500 chertverts. The pay varied by
territory according to government directives and according to the fulfillment
of duties. Good service earned higher pay, poor service might result in loss of
In the 2nd half of the 16th century service was divided into local
service performed in the city in time of siege, and polk or field
service performed on campaign with the army. City service was performed by
small landowners with 20 chertverts and by men not fully capable of field duty.
(In case of incapacity the dvoriani lost part of their land). The Siege (city
)service was performed on foot. Those on duty received no additional cash
payments. For good service the dvoriani could be selected to go on field
service with a corresponding increase in land allotment and a cash payment.
Field service was for a campaign (far), or for the defensive lines on the
frontier. This was called near service or shore duty referring to
the Oka river line. In peacetime the field service was mostly this border
The Moscow service people (stol'niki, stryapchi, Moscow dvoriani,
and zhil'tsl) were in a more privileged situation that the city men. They
received land from 500 to 1000 chertverts, and cash from 20 to 100 rubles.
Besides this, many of them had a votchina. In peacetime they had diplomatic
military or administrative duties. They were voevodes in towns. In military
times part of the Moscow service people were the Tsar's polk and part
were in the other polki. In the other polki the Moscow
chins were commanders, voevodes or heads of hundreds. There were
23,000 Moscow service people at this time.
79. The Duma chin (boyars, okol'nichni, duma dvoriani)
had the highest command duties in the Army. They commanded polki and the
main polk and were voevodes of larger cities. The boyars and okol'nichni
had pomestie of 1000 to 2000 chertverts, the duma dvoriani had 890-1200
chertverts of land.
The number of other ranks was as follows; okolnichni
15, duma dvoriani 6, boyars 30 under Boris Gudonov but usually 15 to 20. When
called to service1 the pomestniki of one uezd formed at the assembly point for
that uezd in their 100's. All these then formed into the designated
polk. At the end of service the dvoriani and deti boyars returned home,
the 100's disbanded to be called again for the next campaign.
At the head of a 100 was a local man or a Moscow dvorianin
appointed by the government or the polk voevode. This commander served
only on campaign. All men came on service mounted with their weapons and their
serving men. The servants outnumbered the pomestniki.
There is information on the status of the dvoriani from a review
held in 1556. This shows the middle level pomestniki had 100 to 250 chertverts.
All the dvoriani came to the review with horses, many had two. The weapons
carried were as follows; bow 41, lances 19, ax 1, rogatin 9, 152 were unarmed,
49 had armor. Total was 222 men. At the review there were also 224 dvoriani
mens servants. Of them 129 were unarmed. The remaining 95 had the
following weapons; bow and swords 15, bows and rogatin 5, bow and lance 2, bow
41, rogatin 15, lance 16, pishchal 1. Of the 224 45 had defensive armor. This
indicates that there were as many servants as pomestniki and that they were
The way the cavalry changed at the end of the 16th century is shown
by the desyatnya lists. At Kolomna in 1577 there were 283 dvoriani
and deti boyari, also middle income people. At their review they were better
armed that those at Kashir. Almost all had a weapon and nearly all had both a
bow and saber. The review was accompanied by trials of arms. The pomestniki
were receiving cash payments as well as land. They had already been on
The variety of weapons carried by the dvoriani shows that the
government could not establish requirements specifying what weapons were to be
carried on service. At the end of the 16th cent the government tried to
increase the military effectiveness of the dvoriani cavalry. In 1594 at a
review in Ryazhsk the majority of dvoriani had pishchalya, (firearms). The
attempt to arm all with firearms and create permanent 100's organized and ready
was a temporary measure. It did not succeed. In the 17th century the dvoriani
cavalry was still poorly armed and unorganized. It also had poor discipline.
The government tried to do something. It removed dvoriani from their pomesties
and cut their salaries but this did not do much good.
The poor service and even absence from any service at all continued
and reached a mass character. The government used strict punishments. The
disintegration of the dvoriani militia resulted in their being replaced in the
Seredonin gives a clear characterization. The number at the end of
the 16th century was 25,000 men with a average of 200 chertverts of pomestie
and or votchina. They came on service with 2 men each. This made a total of
75,000 men. But with 200 chertverts of land the pomestniki had to, according to
the Ulozhenia of 1556, bring not 2 but one armed man; because those with
100 chertverts only came alone. This means a total force of 50,000 not
The remaining books show for the end of the 16th cent that the
dvoriani and deti boyars actually did not even bring the required number of
men, therefore the number of troops was even lese than 50,000. These men who
served by patrimony were under the Razryad Prikaz. Its function was the
direction of military affairs. The Pomestie Prikaz controlled the land and
hence the supply for the dvoriani.
Service people by selection
82. The first group of these were the streltzi, Moscow and city.
Information on the streltzi is very limited, mostly foreign observers' reports.
Fletcher said there were 7,000 Moscow streltzi, of them 2,000 mounted. Margaret
said there were 10,000 streltzi in Moscow divided into Prikazi of 500 men each.
The heads of these units were independent and reported directly to the
government. The Streltzi Prikaz was the central administrative organ. The
prikazi were divided into 100's, 50's, 10's at the head of which were golovoi,
sotniki, 50's men and decurians. Their day-to-day duty was to guard the Tsar's
court. The foot streltzi were on guard service by weekly turns. They also were
sent to other towns to strengthen the garrison. In war they took part in
campaigns. They received money and bread 4-7 rubles a year and 12 chertverts of
oats and l2 of rye.
Their commanders were from the dvoriani and deti boyars. They
received 3060 rubles a year and a pomestie of 300 - 500 chertverts. The
sotniki received 1260 rubles, the decurian 10 rubles. In border towns
there were garrisons of 20 to 100 streltzi. These were mostly on the northwest
border such as Pskov and Novgorod. There were fewer on the southern border
because there the government had other people such the Cossacks. By the end of
the 16th century the streltzi were an important element of the army. They had
increased to 2025,000 men.
83. It is hard to judge the social background of the streltzi from
the sources. They came from local people as a rule. But in Kazan 13% were
arrivals from elsewhere. At Sviyazhk only 8% from outside. 0nly free people
could be streltzi, not servants or peasants nor taxpayers. They were volunteers
in good health who could shoot. Their children went on into the service. It
became a hereditary permanent lifelong service. Only the elderly, wounded, or
incapacitated could leave. In peacetime they were on garrison. They guarded the
walls and towers and city gates and the government buildings. They guarded the
saltpeter works, convoys of money or prisoners and ambassadors. In war the city
streltzi were designated to the various polki. On long campaigns the
foot streltzi received state horses or money to buy horses. Their weapons were
the arquebus, berdish and saber. They received these weapons from the state,
and also received 1-2 lbs of gunpowder, lead, and gunpowder flasks. They
conducted regular drills and practice.
Jenkinsson said that they, in Dec. 1557 in Moscow, put up targets
and conducted practice. Ivan and his suite participated.
The streltzi formed 5 ranks each with his weapon on his left
shoulder and fuze in right hand. They fired on a ice rampart 6 x 9 x 12 till it
was almost destroyed. They were in designated formations and had uniforms. It
is clear that the mass ware formed in line to use line tactics. In 1605 at
Dobrinicha they used line order so the infantry could fire with maximum number
85. In the west line tactics were used first by the Swedes later in
the 30 years War. At Dobrinicha the streltsi in line fired volleys and
repulsed the Polish cavalry. It shows the Russians used line tactics 50 years
ahead of the west.
The streltzi lived in special suburbs, in the town or outside. Each
man had his house, yard and garden. They had land allotted to the unit for the
use of individuals for farming. There were variations in the size of this area
according to rank and from town to town. The streltzi also engaged in trade and
small industry to earn their living. This reduced their military preparedness.
Their business and trade affairs made the streltzi part of the common people.
They considered themselves as such in the struggles versus the higher lords,
hence they sided with the population in the uprisings which marked the
86. The Cossacks entered the ?selected' group in the 2nd half of
the 16th century. They had a complex organization and composition. After the
conquest of Kazan and of the Chuvash, Mordvin, et cetera, some of these entered
the Russian forces as non Russian Cossacks with their own national detachments
under national leaders, murzas, and princes. They were not in the Russian
polki but were united into separate polki when assembled in large
numbers. Usually they formed the lead polk and the advance
In the 16th century there were on duty the following Cossack
groups; free Cossacks, Yaitsk (Ural), Volga, Don, and Ukraine.
Government dealings with the Don Cossacks began in the 1570's. The
government purpose was to insure that the Don area and then the Azov and Black
Sea areas entered into the sphere of influence of Moscow. The Cossacks were
asked to guard the governments ambassadors and the merchants in the area
and were paid, usually in saltpeter and lead.
By the end of the 16th century the government tried to take the Don
Cossacks under direct control, but was unsuccessful. Tsar Mikhail Feodorivich
reminded the Cossacks of their treatment under his predecessors, especially
Boris Godunov and tried to win their loyalty. The Cossacks were forbidden to
engage in trade or artisan work and forbidden to go to Moscow or even to the
border towns to see relatives. Beginning in the 17th cent the Don Cossacks took
an active role in the peasant wars. There were Cossacks in the Pretender's
army. Another Cossack area was on the Volga. These were mostly ex Don Cossacks.
They went by boat to the Caspian and helped the government at Kazan and
Astrakhan. But then they interfered with government trade on the Volga and
tried to gain control of the river so the government sent troops against them.
In the 1580's Cossack detachments under the attaman Nerchai attacked the Nogai
Tatars and destroyed their capital at Saraichik then moved on to the Yaik
(Ural) river. They thus began the Ural Cossacks. By 1591 they already were
serving in the government service. Other Volga Cossack detachments were on the
west side of the Caspian and moved to the Terek river area. They became the
Greben Cossacks. A detachment of Cossacks under Ermak, 600 started the Siberian
88. The free Cossacks were in government started by Ivan IV. On the
1550 campaign against the Nogai there were bands of Cossacks under the Grand
Duke. They were active at Kazan, and also in the ?shore patrol against
the Crimean Tatars. In the Razryad list of 1575 there were Cossacks with the
lead and main polk. Also in the Livonian war, on the Polotsk campaign of
1563 of a total force of 43,000 there were 5,550 free Cossacks or 13% of the
The Cossacks were about like the streltzi in organization. They
served by selection under the leader who picked them. The leader
was directly subordinate to the city voevode or the regional voevode. The
normal composition of a unit was 500 men divided into 100's, 50's, and tens.
There were the same functions and jobs in the units as in the
The total number of city Cossacks was 56,000. At the end of
the 16th century the government began to increase the number of city Cossacks
selected from the free people. They had the same eligibility requirements
as the st±eltzi. They received the same government
89. In 1590 4O0 men were taken from the village of the
SpasoPrilutski monastery to be Cossacks.
The direction of all city Cossacks in the state was in the hands of
the stre1tzi Prikaz. In the southern cities the direction of Cossacks was
transferred to the Razryadni Prikaz which controlled all border troops. The
streltsi Prikaz selected the recruits for service and released them, paid them
money, moved them around, sent them on campaigns and was their highest judicial
institution. It appointed the heads of larger units and of hundreds. This
applies only to the city Cossacks. The Relations with the Don Cossacks and
others were handled by the Ambassadors Prikaz.
Puskari and zatinshchiki
89. This was a special military group, not streltsi. They were of
two types, Moscow and city. The city pushkari lived on pomestie. The Moscow
pushkari received greater support. The pushkari and zatinshchikik were selected
from the same layer of population as the streltzi. The call to service was made
by direction of the government in determined conditions and by commissions of
the serving pushkari.
90. Each pushkari coming on service swore to fulfill service in the
artillery in peace and war, to be loyal to Moscow state, to refrain from
drinking, to not steal from the Treasury, not to divulge secrets of artillery
science. Those bringing in new recruits answered with their heads for those
they recruited. Probably they were taught artillery affairs after being on
duty. The excellent service that was rendered at Kazan and in the Livonian war
shows the result of good leadership and high technical level of the artillery
men. The training methods are not given in the sources. There was a yearly
shooting practice for the tsar. The number of pushkari and zatinshchiki in
separate cities in the 2nd half of the 16th cent varied from 2-3 in Mazaisk and
Korel to 33-34 in Kazan and Opochk. There where there was significant artillery
in the south there were 5 in Venev and 48 in Tula. The total number is not
In peace time they guarded their weapons and did various jobs
connected with artillery. They tested new weapons, prepared and transported
gunpowder, supervised the preparation of shot. Where there were no gate guards
or blacksmiths etc. They guarded gates or repaired guns etc. They were armed
with pishchali, handguns. They received money and food for pay, and land. In
the middle of the l6th century the Moscow pushkari received 3 rubles a year and
l ½ puds of salt a month plus flour and clothing worth 2 rubles. On
campaign they received supplementary rations. The city pushkari received 1
ruble a year and 2 puds of salt and 12 chertverts of rye and 12 of oats.
Sometimes money was interchanged for food. At some cities they did not get
land. The size of the land allotments varied from 1/2 to 6 chertverts each.
Many also were busy as artisans and tradesmen.
91. Service people of the same rank were gate guards, blacksmiths,
gunsmiths etc. The gate guards in most cities were a separate group but in
others they were not. They lived in their own houses in town or in the
countryside or in special suburbs. In Kazan, Pronsk, Degilov there were suburbs
of smiths. Their duty was to service and repair the fortress guns. They also
received land. Probably they did not differ from the regular taxpayers. The
Pushechni Prikaz later the Pushkaruki Prikaz controlled these people. This
prikaz did all the usual functions.
93. Besides these there also was the pososhnaya service. This was
the general labor service which helped move supplies, carry equipment and
ammunition, and move the cannon. In Pskov in 1560 from each 100 men 22 men were
called. This service was on foot or horse. In peacetime and war when ever they
were called the government payed them in cash. The numbers called were very
On the Polotsk campaign of 1563 with the 43,000-man army there were
80,900 on pososhnaya service.
In 1577 with an army of 35,000 there were 13,000 serving in the
pososhnik service for the artillery alone. This was a significant group in the
wars of the 2nd half 16th cent. They did military service duties, mainly as
service for the artillery and its movements. The horse mounted pososhniki
brought the shells and powder and supplies. They did military engineering
duties. At Kazan they were ordered to build bridges. At Polotsk they repaired
roads, pulled boats, prepared sacks of dirt, sandbags, for the siege. The
taxpaying rural village population predominated in this service. They also
constructed the abatis.
The city population also had garrison, and siege duty in their own
town. The southern border towns men were called to guard duty along with the
With the growth of the military force of the state the
participation of the people grew. Military service of the people had first call
by demand of the government. Any independence of the people in military affairs
Numbers and organization of the Russian force.
There is no data for the 2nd half of the 16th century. The foreign
sources give various and fantastic figures such as 100 to 900,000 men. This is
unbelievable. They used oral witnesses not having good contacts. It is
commonplace in ancient and medieval accounts when a witness is confronted with
huge numbers beyond his comprehension to give such enormous figures.
C. M. Seredonin concluded that the army was 75,000 the dvoriani and
their men, 10,000 Tatars, 20,000 streltzi and Cossacks, 4,000 foreigners for a
total of 110,000 not counting the datochniki and pososhniki. This is closest to
reality of any previous figure. But some of his conclusions can be considered
official information. On the Polotsk campaign there were about 60,000 plus
80,000 pososhniki. In the Livonian war of 1577 the total was 4O,OOO men. In
1578 it was 48,O0O. Mobilization of 3555% of the total number of
eligibles for military duty for one campaign would be about right.
Of the 60,000 on the Polotsk campaign 29% were dvoriani and deti
boyars, 29% were boyars men, 20% streltzi, 12% Cossacks, 8% Tatars and
Mordvin, and 25% from the cities.
95. It follows that service by hereditary was 29% and service by
selection plus the boyars men was 71%.
The pre-revolutionary literature said that the main force was the
cavalry of the deti boyars. Also in Soviet literature this was said , but it is
not true. The main force was the lower class. In the middle 16th cent the size
of the force increased by the organization of various select groups. Especially
the streltsi and city Cossacks were increased. The main permanent cadre was
from these two groups, more so that the dvoriani militia. The streltsi and
Cossacks were better armed and orgaized.
The dvoriani militia remained the class base of the government and
kept the leadership positions, but they gradually lost their importance as a
fighting force in favor of the mass of the people. Likewise the division of the
force into service by patrimony and by selection was
not just a military designation but a class one. The service by
patrimony were the ruling class, the select ones were the mass. The
select men were always privates, never leaders.
96. The dvoriani when on duty as privates were landowners. The
selection men received money, food and land. Their major pay was
land. But the patrimony men received private land as property with
various duties and lived on the land using serf labor. Gradually they became
private hereditary land owners. The select men received land in
units tenure collectively and used it only while on service at that city. And
he lived by his own work on that land.
By arm of service, there were 4 types; cavalry, infantry,
artillery, and service (engineer, transportation).
All dvoriani, service foreigners (Tatars), mounted city Cossacks,
and town council men were cavalry.
The streltzi, foot city Cossacks, and council men,
All pushkari and part of the pososhni people.
Service of the rest of the pososhni people.
97. By numbers the largest was the cavalry and 2nd was the
infantry. This was a transition period. The shift was from cavalry to infantry
predominance in the 16th cent. Each type of service had its central organ of
direction there was no single military direction until the beginning of the
18th century (Peter).
The dvoriani had no structure. The streltzi had one, as did the
The dvoriani was called by order of the government through the
local voevode or special officer of the Prikaz, to the assembly point.
The pososhni was also called in this way. The Streltsi and Pushkari
Prikazi received the order from the Razryad Prikaz on how many of their men
would be needed and the time and location. At the same time as the call, the
tsar would name the voevodes for the campaign through the Razryad
98. The chief voevode received, together with his designation from
the tsar via the Razryad, and order describing who was the enemy and from what
city and territory the service people would participate this the campaign and
when and where they were to assemble for each polk, who would command
each polk and the artillery etc; the pay and supply data, also the route
of march of each polk and the plan of action. He also received an order
naming the military lists of service people and voevodes in the polki.
For the detailed work each voevode had an appointed dyak from the Razryad. They
and their assistants were the staff of the polk, receiving in the 17th
century the title of Razryadni shatra. The polk voevodes received their
orders in similar fashion.
Having received his orders and designation, the voevode and his
retinue went to the assembly point to check on the activity and inspect the
horses and arms, verify the composition of the polki, et
The polk voevodes were dividing their units into 100's,
10's, et cetera. The heads of 100's, the sotnik was appointed by thevoevode in
the middle 16th century, no longer elected, or appointed directly.
The government of Ivan tried to improve the organization of the
dvoriani militia and strengthen military discipline. Thus appointment of the
100's leaders had a big significance. This helped to reduce family ties in the
appointments and local favoritism.
99, During the Livonian war these leaders of 100's were able to
carry out independent missions succesdful1y maintaining discipline. The rest of
the army went to war in the same organization as in peace. The 5 polk
organization was kept. This old organization was adapted to the new demands of
strategy and tactics. This meant that in composite polki the basic
tactic was for the streltsi to strengthen by firepower the polk
objective. It called for close cooperation of the streltsi and arty with the
l00. Chernov says that foreigners try to calumniate the
Russians military capacity. He says Russian victories at Kazan and in the
Livonian war show their superiority and the superiority of their
Weapons were improved in the 2nd half of the 16th cent. The
artillery was especially successful. Russians began manufacture of forged iron
and cast bronze cannon. The master Andrei Chakhva in 1586 made the caliber 890
Tsar cannon, the largest in the world. The weight of the tsar cannon is 2450
pud ie 39,300 kg. and it shot a stone weighing 850 kg. or a metal one 1965 kg.
He also made other cannon. Russia was the leading nation in Europe. It lead the
west in technical ideas of ordnance manufacture.
The artillery museum has a smooth bore iron cannon of this period
that is breach loaded. (We have an extensive folder on the magnificant Museum
of Artillery, Engineer and Signal troops in St Petersburg.
In the 16th century they made multi-barreled firearms called
corok, used in 1555 3 centuries before the mitralleuse which only
came in the west in the 19th century.
(Typically of his comments, Chernov ignores or does not know of the
Itallian organ guns of this era)
Shooting practice was conducted each winter on the target range at
wooden frames. There was fortress, siege and field artillery. The fortress had
small, medium calibers. The siege cannon were large. (An illustration of this
is in Razin's history).
The field artillery went with the main polk. The hand
firearms became important also. The matchlock was invented at the end of the
15th cent. Had disadvantages, it was dangerous and lighted poorly. In the 16th
century the Russian arms masters invented a new firearm lock the wheellock of
Widespread use of firearms was a result of the growth of metal
working and the further development of artisan working skill. The center was
Tula. Powder was also improved.
The special Pushchni Prikaz handled all questions of artillery and
powder. The Oruzhenie Prikaz controlled handguns. And the Ronni Prikaz made
defensive armor and swords and such.
The Birth of the Regular Army
133. During the 2nd half of the 17th century there was a period of
development in the army. Social and economic changes and political changes
accompanied these developments.
The absolute monarchy was established. This ended the zemski sobor
and the boyar duma. There was a growth of bureaucracy and administrative
organs. The Ulozhenia of l649 set the theory of absolutism. The military force
was a weapon for the strengthening of absolutism. There were peasant uprisings,
a military force under central government control was needed.
134. In the 1630's the government organized new dragoon, soldier
and 'reiter' regiments. In 1633 the truce ended with Poland and the government
began preparations before then for military action to reconquer the lost
territories in the west. Smolensk was the key city. It was a first class
fortress. The Russians tried to get allies of Sweden and Turkey but
April 1630 in Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Uglich, Vologda, Novgorod and
other towns the order was received calling to service all deti boyars of the
service list, They were called to Moscow and organized into 2 regiments of
1,000 each under foreign colonels. All were promised pay of 5 rubles a year and
food money of 3 kopeks a day. Also each was issued by the government a firearm,
powder and lead. This was a new form regiment. The government intended to form
new regiments of deti boyars who could not serve as cavalry in the old style
field polki because of poor economic conditions. The government also planned to
make them into infantry regiments.
135. By Sept. 163O the number of men signed up for infantry service
was less than 60. It was not successful as the deti boyars did not like the
idea of infantry service. So the government widened the recruitment to include
Cossacks, Tatars etc. By Dec 1631 there were two soldier regiments totaling
3,323 men. Then each unit had 1,600 privates, 176 officers and NCO's. Each regt
was divided into 8 companies under a Colonel, Lt. colonel, major and 5
captains. In each company there was a Lt., ensign, 3 sergeants quartermaster,
quartermaster-sergeant, 6 corporals,, doctor, scribe. interpreter, 3 drummers.
200 privates divided into 120 musketeers and 80 pikemen.
Beginning in 1632 the number of soldier regiments was raised to 6.
The government began to attract free people as volunteers into the regiments.
The last 4 regts. were formed mostly by volunteers. The first 4 regiments
formed by Aug. 1632 participated in the campaign on Smolensk. The last 2
regiments were sent to Smolensk in June 1633. We don't have information on how
the foreigners taught the Russians. It apparently took only a few months
training to learn the drill. Simultaneously the governmnnt tried to train
Russians to be the junior officers.
Experience in forming the first regiments made the government
decide to reform the cavalry also. In the middle 1632 they began the formation
of reiter regiments of 2,000 men. This formation was more
successful, by Dec 1632 the regiment had 1,721 privates of dvoriani and deti
boyars and with its commanding officers the regt reached its 2,000 men. Then
the government raised the number to 2,4O0, by forming in the regiment a dragoon
This success was due to: 1 the reiter service was considerably
better for the deti boyars so they volunteered.
2 Reiter service paid double the infantry service. -3 rubles for a
pvt plus 2 rubles a month for the horse.
The reiter regiment of 14 companies was headed by rotmisters and
there was a regimental staff. When going the war the government formed another
dragoon regiment. Two soldier regiments and a separate soldier company formed
of Datochni people.
The total number in a dragoon regt. was 1,600 men 1,44O of them
were privates. The regt was divided into 12 companies of 120 pvts. each. The
dragoons received from the government a horse, weapon, and 4 rubles a year for
clothing, saddle, and monthly food, the weapons were the pishchal or musket and
the lance. The regt. had its artillery of 12 small cannon with artillerymen and
24 cannon balls per gun in the supply. During the 3 1/2 years before the war
and during the war the goveThe regiments were much better prepared for
war than the old army. During the war l632-34, the new regiments participated
in the siege of Smolensk to the end of the war. At Smolensk there were 2,567
men or 1/4 of the 6 regts strength, of a total of 34,500 men not counting
servants at the Smolensk army. The regiments therefore didn't make up a
decisive number, but their superiority was obvious so the government decided to
expand the program. After the war the government was busy strengthening the
southern border. In 16367 construction of towns, outposts, forts, and
frontier fortifications continued. The old abatis were repaired and frontier
service troops strengthened.rnment formed 10 regts of the new type for
a total of 17,000 men, of them at the start of the war 6 soldier regts of 9,000
men were ready.
The government resumed creation of the new regiments in 1636-7
soldiers were sent to the southern border polki. December 1637 in
connection with the preparations for war with Crimea the government informed
the cities that all people formerly in Russian field army service in soldier,
reiter, and dragoon service were recalled for service in the spring. Thus began
the 2nd stage of the organiztion of the regiments. In the spring 1638 on the
southern border the big work began of strengthening the abatis and building the
138. To defend the southern border the government called to servioe
4,000 dragoons and as many soldiers. The dragoons were successful in enrolling
in Moscow and the soldiers in the towns, All were put on rations, for the deti
boyars it was 7 deneg a day and for the free men not formerly on service 6
deneg; and 3 rubles a year. The dragoons had the same pay, and received weapons
and military equipment from the government. The attempt to recruit soldiers
(infantry) in this way was not successful and free men did not want to serve.
Then the government turned to forceful methods and took datochni
The dragoons and soldiers formed by the fall of 1638 were sent to
the southern border. There were 5,055 dragoons and 8,658 soldiers in
these regiments. But they didn't serve for long. On 1 November 1638 all the
dragoons and soldiers were sent home and taken off the payroll and their
weapons were collected.
In the spring of 1639 the call to service was repeated and in Sept
the troops were again sent home till the spring. This continued as the yearly
practice. Therefore these troops were new in their formations and drill but
traditional in their temporary service only during the season of maximun danger
from Tatar raids.
The government gradually realized that temporary service was not a
very good method. The assembly took too long and cost too much and the military
capability of the troops was lower than that of the permanent streltzi and deti
boyars. Temporary service took only chance people who during the summer months
could not receive much training and might not be the same individua1s the next
139. The military discipline was very low. Therefore the government
tried a new method. In 164248 the peasants of a series of villages in the
Voronezh, Lebedyanski, Sevski and other southern uezds were taken from their
pomestniki and put into dragoon service. These peasants had to learn the
dragoon service drills in their towns on a once a week drill schedule so as not
to interfere with the harvest and their ability to pay taxes. The government
sent officers and weapons to the villages. They were armed with dragoon
carbines and swords. Besides training, the peasants had to go to the border
guard tours on their own horses.
Thus from the peasants of the southern border the government
created a new type of dragoon who was somewhat better that those on the ration
pay. They served and supported themselves on their own land so instead of
making service people into landowners the government was making peasant land
tillers into service people. They were called ?poselennii dragoons This
shows the government's, efforts to improve the quality of the dragoon structure
and support these dragoons on a more permanent basis. Furthermore it didn't
require any government expenditure for salary. For patrol and guard duty these
local people were more interested in their own defense and were better informed
on the locale than the temporary people taken from other towns had been. The
key role in this was played by the people from Komaritski Volost in the Sevski
uezd as it was the strategic volost which bordered on both the south and
140 In August 1646 all peasants in Komaritski Volost were taken
into dragoon service. They kept their land and were freed from taxes. From each
household one man was taken. The total was over 5,000. Each dragoon had to have
a good horse, pishchal, saber, and spear or ax and supplies for himself and his
horse. The Komaritski dragoons were formed into 3 regiments of 6 companies each
of 300 men per company, but there were insufficient officers.
In 1653 before the beginning of the war in the Ukraine the
government conducted an inspection of the peasants in the regiment. It showed
that there were 5,551 horsemen with firearms and 5,649 infantry with their own
firearms and spears and 3,641 unarmed men for a total of 14,841. The foot
troops were relatives of the horsemen and made up reserve and garrison
This measure shows the willingness of the government to gamble on
the loyalty of the peasants in the very regions where the peasant uprisings in
the time of troubles had started. The military necessity of arming
these peasants must have been overwhelming.
In the war with Poland 1654-67 the Komaritski regts took an active
part and suffered heavy losses and their lands were wrecked by the Tatars. This
service proved to be excessive burden for the peasants. The government in 1680
had to turn them into regular soldiers and they continued to serve in this
capacity until the 18th century. During the war the dragoons disappeared from
the southern frontier and from the peasantry. This disappearance showed that
the government was wrong in establishing the system. The peasant economic base
was insufficient for him to serve away from home and for long field campaigns
and still maintain his farm.
141. They had to serve on horseback with their own equipment and
weapons. Thus the government equated them with deti boyars who had more land
and a larger money payment, (and often their own peasants).
The result was that the land was not worked and the men lost their
horses and weapons and had no replacements so they finally fled from service.
In order to ease the duty of the dragoons they passed off ½ to one third
of their service responsibility to others for a payment or for part of their
land. The result was that service again was temporary and not well
At the same time the government tried another method to form units
of dragoons. They called deti boyars, streltzi, Cossacks, Ukrainians and others
from the border areas and made them into dragoon units. Till the middle 17th
century the dragoons were called only for border service. During the war for
the Ukraine the number of dragoons was increased. In 1653 the government called
6,000 men from the border towns. They suffered heavy losses. In 1658 in
Belogorodski razryad polk they planned to form 5 dragoon regiments with
a total of 7,300 men but only obtained 5,000 men for 4 regiments. The
government called again at the end of the war for men and had 3,390 dragoons
converted into town duty status.
142. The government did not consider the dragoons to be essential
so by the 1680's they were dropped from the service on field duty. On the
battlefield the dragoons could be considered infantry or cavalry. They required
careful organization and training. But their training was haphazard and
training brief so they could not be considered of equal value with the soldier
or reiter regiments. And the dragoons supplies were even worse than that
of the soldiers. Their weapons at first included the pishchal or heavy
flintlock musket. They used these well on foot but couldn't use them on
horseback. So in the middle
17th century they were rearmed with the light musket called dragoon
muskets or carbines. But the government did not have enough new weapons so in
1653 they were sent on campaign with the old weapons. Besides the musket, the
dragoons had swords, or a lance.
143. The government decided to use soldier regiments on the
northwest frontier formed like the dragoons on the southern border. In 1649 by
a ukase in Olonts peasants were taken, one man per household or 2 or 3 from
large families. If they had land they kept it and they were freed from taxes.
In all 7,9O2 men were taken and formed into 2 soldier regiments. Another center
of formation was Sumerski Volost in Staroruski uezd. All peasants called to
service were formed into 1,000 man regiments. These were all put on border
duty. However when the war with Poland started they were required to go on
campaign duty. The result was that soon all able-bodied men had been called and
at home only the unfit men were left. They had to ask for some relief in order
to harvest the crops. In Oct 1662 the government ruled that no more peasants
would be called. After the war the rest were released. During the war the
soldier duty was gradually widened to include all taxpayers. In the northwest
towns the soldiers were taken by force from their households.
l44. The numbers varied about one man per 25 households or one male
for every 3 adult males. During peacetime some soldiers were sent home, some
sent on border duty. Those on border duty received pay like the
On the southern border the soldiers formed units from the city
people. Duty on the southern border was more difficult. The assessment was one
or two men from a family of 3 or 4 men, due to the smaller population in the
southern areas. It was a local measure of border defense, but in wartime they
were called away to the front.
At the height of the war the government took general measures. In
November 1658 they called to soldier duty from the whole country, besides the
frontiers one man per 25 households. 18,000 men were called. If a man deserted
his area had to replace him. In July 1659 the government made a 2nd levy with
the same conditions and 15,577 men were inducted. In December 1660 a third call
on the basis of one man per 20 households was given. By Sept. 1661 17,423 men
had been inducted.
All together in the 3 calls a total of 51,000 men were taken. The
pay cost 25,830 rubles and the food 43,423 chertverts of bread. The total
number of men called in the war was over 100,000 for the soldier
There were 55 soldier regiments on duty in 1663 in which
there were 5060,000 soldiers. In peacetime the total dropped to
2025 regiments or 25-30,000 men.
The soldiers were armed with the pishchal ( later with muskets, the
flintlock or the matchlock fusil) and with swords, pikes and the berdish. The
sword was used for training. All weapons were from the government. The
regiments had a few grenadiers each.
Reiters, Pikemen (meaning lancers) and Hussars.
To the middle 17th century the reiters were exclusively dvoriani
and deti boyars. In the Polish wars there were changes. In March l654 a ukaz
established the Reiter Prikaz which controlled the inductions into reiter
service of deti boyars without pomesties and not already on service. It was
forbidden to take men already in service because they would have left the
soldier or the polk hundreds service and change to the reiter if they
146. But later military necessity forced changes in the practice.
In the 1659-60's the deti boyars and dvoriani on polk service in the
south had 2,050 men transferred to reiter service. During the war the
government began to take Cossacks and taxpayers and servants of landowners and
monasteries into the reiter service.
This resulted in a change in the social composition.
The reiters were armed with carbines, 2 pistols, sword. A second
type of horseman was the lancer. They had lances and pistols.
Their service rules were the same as the reiters. The lancers were
first used in the south in 1659. In 1662 in Belgorod polk there were 2
independent lancer regiments. In the reiter regimens there was a lancer
squadron and in the lancer regiment a reiter squadron. In all in the 1680's
there were 22,130 lancers on duty. Later the hussars also appeared in the
northwest towns. In 1662 the 1st hussar regiment under Lt. Col Nikifor Karaulov
had 20 officers and 350 dvoriani. In 1673 the hussar regiment had 5 companies
of 417 men and in 1679 465 men.
149. The hussars were armed with the pike and pistol, a lighter
lance than the lancer. The lances on the southern border and hussars on the
northwest frontier ware all under the Reiter Prikaz.
In 1631 there were the following foreigners on service in the new
regiments; 4 colonels, 3 Lt. colonels, 3 majors, 1 quartermaster, 13
rotmiesters, 24 captains, 28 Lieutenants, 25 2nd Lieutenants, 87 sergeants
corporals etc. for a total of 190 men.
After the Polish war of 163234 some foreigners were dismissed
and some left Russia on their own. The government began to regulate the use of
foreigners and hire only the better people and it didn't let them leave. The
government demanded a letter of recommendations and proof of service to show
the military experience and capacity of th foreigners. The majority were not
very good, they were under educated some had fled battle, some were sent to
Russia to spy for their governments. Some deserted to the enemy. The government
put Russians with them to learn the art of war. During the war of 1632 34 there
were Russian officers too.
150. In 1639 on duty on the southern border there were 316 foreign
officers and 428 Russian officers from the deti boyars. In 1649 in the reiter
regts there were 200 dvoriani in the supervisory ranks. In 1653 Moscow raised
700 musketeers from the old soldiers and sent them to the southern towns as a
unit. In 1662-63 the majority of officers in the rank of captain and
below were Russians. In 1674-8 the reiter regts on duty had 6 Russian colonels
and 2 foreigners. Soon all were Russians.
In Dec. 1675 in Belgorod there were 14 reiter regiments and in
Putivl 2 regiments and all had Russian colonels.
In June 1677 General-major Agei Alekseevich Shepelev had been the
commander of a soldier regiment since 1657. In 1678 he was a general-lieutenant
and March 1680 a general. Other Russian colonels followed Shepelev up the
ranks. In 1678 General Major Krovkov, Kosagov, and General Zmiev were on
Russians gradually replaced the foreigners. In 1681-82 foreigners
made up 10-15 % of all supervisory personal. During the Poland war all leaders
received ration pay. A General received 90-100 rubles a month, a colonel
2550, Lt col 1518, a major 14-16, rotmeister 13, Captain 9-11,
Lieutenant 5,8, and 2nd Lieutenant 4-7 rubles. Pay for reiters was more than
for the soldier regts. Pay for dragoons was about the same as for soldiers. The
pomestniki calculated pay by the household, 10-35 kopecks per household
depending on the military rank and duty and pay grade.
153. In the 50 years 163070 the new regiments were developed
in difficult and complicated manner. The government used two methods to create
the new regts, the induction of dvoriani and deti boyars; and the selection of
streltsi, Cossacks and artillerymen. To create the new regts the government
began with the select men by taking volunteers but with no results so the
government began to use compulsion also but peasants into the cavalry and
infantry. All had a legal duty to serve the country. Recruitment was not the
same as in western Europe. It was not a mercenary army but an army based on
obligatory service of all. Service was considered to be for life. This was not
new as service of the dvoriani had been for life. Also the streltzi served for
life. What was new was the taking of taxpayers into life time service.
154. In peacetime the number on duty was reduced. Some were sent
home on the condition that they be ready for rapid call up when needed. But
most were kept on duty. All men on duty received ration pay and cash salary,
and cloths and weapons and supplies.
The most frequently used new units were the soldier, reiter and
dragoons. The government under valued the advantages of dragoons, with its uses
as both cavalry and infantry. By the 1680's the dragoons were eliminated as
separate army units, except in the west were dragoons continued. Elsehwere they
were converted into infantry.
The infantry was now three times more numerous than the cavalry.
There were regiments of 1,600 men in the infantry and 1,000 men in the cavalry.
Each regiment had 10 companies and each company had 3 sections commanded by
corporals. The independent battalion of cavalry had 3 companies. General
military preparedness increased. Units now had permanent organization, better
training. Peter, in his ukaz of 30 March 1716 credited his father, Alexei, with
the beginnings of the regular army in 1647.
155. Thus the regular national army appeared first in Russia and
afterwards in western Europe.
Composition of the Army in later 1600's
156 The Ulozhenia of 1649 established service for the dvoriani and
deti boyars beginning at age 18. The new men were enroled in the lowest rank of
service. The previous rule of enrolling a man in the rank of his father was
abolished. Only the Razryad Prikaz could promote the town deti boyars and
dvoriani and from them into the select group of dvoriani. The new man was put
into reiter or soldier regiment after an inspection of his property condition.
Pomestniki who were incapacitated by low mental capacity, were widowers etc. or
living in poor conditions could send peasants instead of serving according to
the law of 1649.
Finally in 1675-78 the government insisted that only those whose
fathers had served go on service themselves. The children of non-serving
fathers were not allowed. Military necessity forced the government also to take
peasants into the cavalry force.
Pay for the inductee was 40 chertverts of land and 3 rubles to 350
chertverts and 12 rubles. Pay depended on social status and circumstances. They
also received further payments on various occasions so that some city dvoriani
received 1000 chertverts and 90 rubles. Many did not receive their legal due.
Some city dvoriani received 5 to 3040% of their due.
In 1675-77 the dvoriani and deti boyars on the southern towns were
1,078 men owning 849 peasant families, less than one each.
In 167980 the dvoriani in Atemar owned from 1 to 3 families
each but many had none. There was not enough land to give the Pomestniki
enough. Within the dvoriani group there was a struggle for land. The Moscow
court dvoriani won. There was also a struggle for peasant workers. In 1649 the
government strengthened serfdom in the interest of the dvoriani. The land
actually given didn't correspond to the legal norms. This was a symptom of
decay of the system. Much pomestie land was converted into votchina.
Peter's law shows that this had happened before his time. Money
payments were used more and more to support the landless dvoriani, but the
government didn't have enough money either. The pay was 5-17 rubles a year
during service. The poor life of the deti boyars led to the dissolution of
their militia. They had the duty to come on service with horse and arms even
though their condition continued to worsen. All considered it their assignment
to serve on horse and not of foot. Their armament became worse. The government
considered the arms of the dvoriani poor in the time of troubles and demanded
that they get good weapons. It demanded that they have a pistol, carbine or
musket and besides that a bow and arrows.
160. But this did not come about. In 1645 in the regiment of the
voevode D. P. L'vov there were 665 pomestniks of whom 425 had pistols, 44 had
carbines, 16 had carbines and pistols, 7 had matchiocks, 79 had bows and
arrows, 87 had sabers, one had a rogatin, 6 had no weapons. Thus only 75% had
firearms. In 1675 in Kostrorna only 92% of the dvoriani had pistols and sabers.
As they stopped using bows most merely used pistols instread of the carbine.
The result was they could only fight in hand to hand battle.
The second group of service people were the streltzi.
162. During the 17th century the streltzi grew in size; from 8,000
in 1637 to 22,500 in 1681 in Moscow. Five-to-ten % of the streltzi participated
in field campaigns and they made up 4-12% of the active forces. This shows that
the growth of the streltzi during this period was not due to external needs.
The growth was mostly due to their use in suppression of internal disorders.
The 1st major uprising was in 1648; part of the Moscow streltzi participated on
the side of the uprising and part suppressed it. There were uprisings also in
Kozlov, Chelnavski, and elsewhere.
In 1649 the streltzi revolted.
In Pskov in 1650 the streltzi participated in a uprising. Also in
Novgorod. In 1662 The Moscow streltzi and soldier regts mutinied.
In 1668 9 prikaz's of Moscow streltzi helped the government
liquidate the hetman Brukhovetski. They also participated on both sides in the
Stenka Rasin revolt.
The streltzi were a mixed force, some were wealthier than others.
The uprisings of the period were mostly centered in the towns and the streltzi
were part of the town population so they participated.
164. Another reason for their dissatisfaction was the poor pay they
received, worse than the soldier regiments. They were jealous of the status of
the new regiments, The governments efforts to teach the streltzi new
techniques and drills of the new regiments was resisted and unpopular. The
government tried to get the streltzi into condition to support themselves, but
this was also unpopular. The streltzi were so busy supporting themselves they
could only be called for local duty. But the process of calling them for
foreign service was increased.
The third group was the Cossacks. Their numbers grew in the 17th
century. There were 20,000 by the middle 1650's. More and more relatives and
children of Cossacks were put into service. It became a lifetime and compulsory
165. Their service was in the polki, on frontier guard and
in town garrisons. The men in polk service were in the best position. In
the war of 1650-67 the Cossacks also served in reiter, lancer, dragoon, and
soldier regiments. As a result, the Cossacks disappeared from the polk
service. In the 1680's 7,000 were still on garrison duty in the border towns.
These acted as a reserve for the field regiments. The Ukrainian Cossacks,
Cherkass, also played a big role. The government formed units from Cossacks
fleeing from Polish oppression across the Dnieper. There were 5 units in the
1600's; the Ostrogozhski 1652; the Izumski 1685; the Kharkovski 165960;
Akhtirski 1657; and Sulgski 1658-60.
166. Besides these regiments there were others at Voronezhski,
Bulikleiuki, Poltavski etc. Each regt settled on a territory and had a town and
fort. All military organizations in the Ukraine were attached to these
regiments. Each regiment had 100's and 10's. A colonel was in charge elected by
the elders and privates. The colonel had all power. The Cherkass polki
were a major military force. In 1662 4 regiments had 8,000 men. On the
Chigirinski campaign of 1678-79 the Cherkass regiments had 13,535 men and also
13,360 in garrison.
The Campaign Field Army in 1632-1680
169. The force of M. B. Shein in 1632 consisted of Dvoriani 11,688
(34%); Streltzi 1,612 (5%); Cossacks 2,215 (6%); Tatars 1,667 (5%); Foreigners
3,744(11%;)soldiers 10,962 (13%); Reiters and dragoons 2,700 (8%); Cherkass 0;
unknown 0; total 34,588.
The force of V. V. Golitsin in 1680 consisted of; Dvoriani 10,819
(8%); Streltzi 23,533 (18%); Cossacks 370 (.25%)s Tatars 0; foreigners 0;
soldiers 43,204 (33.5%); reiters and dragoons 34,614 (26%); Cherkass 10,530
(8%); unknown 6,230; total 129,300.
The total force grew 5~6 times plus the addition of the forces of
the Ukraine Hetman. By the end of the 1670's the government could yearly send
200,000 men on campaign. It was the largest army in Europe. The streltzi
increased along with the new regiments. The streltzi in garrison and police
guard duty as well as on field duty.
There was little change in the artillery. The other service people
were mostly switched to the new service, but the old type units did not
disappear completely. Many returned, to garrison duty.
Organization of the Armed Forces
Before the middle of the 17th were no permanent field army
organizations. The streltzi and Cossacks were permanent, but not united into
larger units. The dvoriani units called Razryadi at that time. In the 17th
century the number of razryad increased and became permanent and organizations
even when the men in them went home. In the l640's in the southern border towns
and part of the Ukraine there was organized the Belgorodski Razryàd and
a government measure to strengthen the southern frontier. During the war the
number of such Razryad increased. In the 1650's the Novgorod and Smolensk
razryad were formed and in the 1660's the Sevski razryad and Kazan razryad. In
the 1670's the Tomsk and Tobolsk Razryads were created. In 1678 the Tomsk
razryad was converted into the Yeniessai Razryad. By the 1680's there were 10
razryads. This term designated a military district. Each consisted of a
government controlled town and area.
171. Each razryad had a polk of service people on 100's
duty. The total number of men in the Belgorod razryad was 23,000; and there
were 10,000 in the Novgorod razryad. Each razryad also had men on garrison
service, In Belgorod the garrison was 50-60000 men. The voevode was head of the
razryad and of the civil government.
Each razryad polk had several regiments of various of the
new type units. In 1658 the Belgorodski razryad polk had 3 reiter regts,
5 dragoon regts, 7 soldier regts, a Streltzi Prikaz, 2,000 dvoriani on 100's
service. In 1663 the Sevsk Razryad polk had 14 reiter regts, 2 dragoon
regts, 8 infantry regts, and 2 polki of the 100's service. The
organization of the razryad was a major organizational step in the creation of
permanent territorial military units. It was made possible with the new type of
regiments. This changed the structure of the field campaign forces. At the
beginning of the Polish war, in the 1650's, the government organized the force
on the old form. In 1654 military operations were conducted by 5 polki,
the State, Main, Lead, Storozhevoi, and Ertaul. In each of these polki
there were several soldier, dragoon and reiter regiments as well as the service
people on 100's service organized in their 100's and militia.
172. During the war the designation by the old title was dropped as
the pomestnik militia died out and units were referred to by the razryad
polk instead. The new structure was first seen in 1668-69 in the
campaign against Doroshenko in the Ukraine when Russian forces were divided
into the Sevsk, Belgorodski, and Smolensk Razryad polki. From then on
the forces were formed by Razryad polk except for the bolshoi (great)
polk of state troops in Moscow. In 1674 in the Right bank Ukraine the
forces were organized with the great polk in the center, the Novgorod
Razryad polk on the left flank, and the Belgorod and Sevsk Razryad
polki on the right flank.
In the campaign of 1678-79 the Great, Novgorod, Kazan, Ryazan,
Sevsk, and Belgorodski polki participated. This permanent structure
helped improve the military training and skill of the troops. The basic
administrative unit remained the regiment. Several regiments were within a
voevode or general polk and the voevode polki were united into a
Razryad. (sometimes called boyar) polk. The Razryad
polk was an independent unit. It was under the command of the voevode of
the great polk who was commander in chief of the army. The Razryad
polki stayed in existence during peacetime while the great polk
173. The weapons improved during this period. An important
improvement was made in the firing mechanism of the flintlock. The powder pan
had a deficiency in its cover which was improved so as to protect a the
(In another example of his Russian chauvanism) Chernov says that
the introduction of the flintlock preceded its use in the west. He quotes
Engles that the flintlock appeared in the west in 1670 and says that Russian
artisans invented one before this but that this invention was not used in
practice. The inventiveness of the Russian artisans surpassed the technical
capability of the countrys industry.
The troops used pishchal, musket, carbine, pistol. The pishchal was
similar to the musket but the latter was stronger, longer and heavier and of
larger caliber. There was no change in the old weapons except that the shpaga
type sword appeared with the new regiments. They were used by the foreign
instructors only for instruction but not in combat. They disappeared in the 2nd
half of the 17th century. In the 17th century each arm of service became
independent and had its characteristic weapons.
The government demanded that the service people bring their weapons
according to their branch. Actually this requirement was not met. But the new
type regiments were supplied by the government. It was essential for the new
type regiments that they had uniformity of weapons. It was not possible to
teach the soldiers how to handle a multitude of different weapons requiring
different movements. And the supply problems would have been too
There were important changes in the artillery. The introduction of
cast iron cannon was an important advance.
176. The use of grenades was tested. At an inspection on Jan 21
1673 witnessed by the tsar and the foreign officers the grenades greatly
impressed the observers. The artillery had a great shortcoming in having too
many calibers. There were 3 kinds of artillery; fortress, siege and field. The
most numerous were the fortress. In 1678 in 150 towns under the Razryad Prikaz
there were 3,575 cannon, The fortress artillery was of medium caliber and small
caliber. In the Russo Polish war 1632-34 the artillery participated both as
small field artillery and as large siege artillery. At Smolensk there were 256
cannon, two times as much as Ivan IV had at Kazan.
There was an organizational change in the artil1eyy. It was divided
into the siege part of 50 guns , and the field of 206 cannon. The field
artillery was attached to the great polk under the chief voevode. Each
regiment also had 6 to 12 regimental cannon.
During the war there also appeared the horse field artillery
especially in the dragoon regiments.
During the 30 years war in Europe the new high angle fire mortars
came into use. Stone cannon balls went out of use and iron cannon balls of 15
to 30 pounds weight came into use. The siege artillery became better, less
clumsy. The wide spread use of the regimental artillery in the soldier
regiments resu1ted in artillery being attached to the streltsi prikazi
In the 1680's each regiment increased its cannon from 2 to 7 up to
5 to 21. The caliber of the regimental artillery was smaller than the field
arty, 1 to 3 pounds. The Russian field artillery army had 350 to 400 cannon on
campaigns. The artillery park usually had 100 to 200 cannon. In quantity the
Russian regimental artillery in the 17th century exceeded that of any other
country in West Europe. This was the result of major actions to improve the
production of weapons. The center of production was Moscow, where there were
1OO masters employed besides numerous blacksmiths and others. But they could
not make enough weapons. The shortage of iron made the government take
measures to increase the production base in the country. Expeditions were sent
to the Urals and the Volga area and we e successful in finding iron. Still, the
distance and other problems kept production below the demand. Sole factories
could not keep with the newest techniques and lost out competitively.
179. The increase in new regiments and streltsi raised military
expeditures. In the period 1630 - 1670 expenses on military support in
peacetime went from 275,000 to 700,000 rubles or from 4 to 12 million rubles of
the value of the beginning 20th century. Military expenses mainly supported the
personnel. Military expense was over half of the state budget. Besides the old
military tax the government introduced new taxes in the 17th century to meet
military demands. The largest was the streltzi foodmoney tax
collected - to pay the streltzi. With the formation of new regiments a new tax
was instituted, for them. It was levied on each household and on each artisan
and merchant. The military taxes provided half of the military expenditures in
the budget. Thanks to them the government could pay the costs and still have no
deficit despite the increased costs. Another tax was the bread tax which was
paid in food collected and given directly to the troops. It amounted to 10
million Pud of grain a year.
Adminisration and Control
181. Administration and control was very complicated due to the
many layered prikazi. Under Ivan IV there were 8 prikazi dealing with military
affairs; the Razryad, Streltsi, Pushkari, Foreign, Pomesti, Kazan, Ordnance,
and Armorers. In the 1680's there were 18 such prikazi including all the
previous except the Armorers, plus the Artekarski, Little Russia,
Polonyanichni, Ambassador, Reiter, Collection of Streltzi Food, Siberian,
Smolensk, Stvolni, Secret Affairs, Rations. This did not count the
temporary prikazi and those eliminated by the 1680's such as the
Armorers, City Affairs, Treasury, Musketeer Affairs, Panski, Polk
Affairs, Ratni Affairs, Prikazi for gathering taxpayers, food, money et
181. While keeping old prikazi the government created new ones.
This resulted in functions being divided between them increasing the
complications. The central government became more complex with the increase in
size of the country and new military maters.
In 1637 the Siberian prikaz was separated from the Kazan Prikaz.
Prikazi were added for Litov and Smolensk with the conquest of these areas in
1656 and 1673. The Ukraine was governed by the new Little Russia
182. The creation of new regiments caused changes also. The Dragoon
Prikaz was organized to govern the Dragoons in 1646. In 1649 the Reiter Prikaz
was established for reiters and lancers. The growth in use of firearms resulted
in the creation of the Musketeer Prikaz in 1654 and the Prikaz of barrel
affairs in 1647 (for musket barrels). To gather money for the soldier's pay
special prikazi were set up.
The Prikaz to collect warriors pay in 1637-54
The prikaz on Money affairs in 1654
The Bread Prikaz in 1655;
The Prikaz to collect streltzi bread in 1672 and the Secret Prikaz
in 1655- 1676.
RESULTS OF THESE CHANGES
The Dvoriani and deti boyars on 100's service were simultaneously
controlled by the Razryad, Kazan and Siberian Prikazi. Those on reiter and
lancer service were controlled by the Razryad, Reiter, Foreign and their own
Oblast Prikazi. The dragoons were controlled by the Razryad and foreign
Prikazi. The soldiers were under the Razryad, Foreign, Streltzi and their
Oblast Prikaz. The Cherkass were controlled by the Razryad prikaz; the streltzi
by the Streltzi, Razryad and the Oblast prikazi; the artillerymen by the
Pushkarski, Razryad and Oblast Prikaz. The Hetman's forces were called into
service by the Little Russia Prikaz. The Don Cossacks were controlled by the
Ambassador's Prikaz. Moreover, to organize the forces special temporary prikazi
were set up and often the non-military prikazi entered the picture( Yamski,
Monastary, Bolshoi Palace etc.)
In the period 1630-1670 major changes took place in he Russian
army. The size of the campaign army was increased and the forces of the Hetman
of the Ukraine were added, giving an army 5 to 6 times larger than before. By
the end of the 1670's the government had 200,000 troops. It was composed of old
type razryad service men and new units. The percentage of dvoriani dropped from
34 to 8% of the force, the percentage of retier and dragoons increased from 8
to 26.5%; soldiers increased slightly from 31 to 31.5 % and streltzi went from
5 to 18% of the army. Infantry in total increased from 47 to 54% of the force.
The new regiments increased from 60 to 75 % of the field army. The
administration was conducted from the center by a network of prikazi and in the
provinces by a series of razryadi. (militazry districts).
The territory of each razryad had a permanent force which continued
to function in peacetime. Each razryad polk had several regiments of
each type. The razryad could be created because of the creation of the new type
regiments. The field army changed its structure from the old 3 or 5 polk
formation to the new territorial polki of the razryadi. These were also
permanent units maintaining better military preparedness. Success in the
production of weapons aided the arming of the army. Iron came into wider use in
cannon, The field artillery improved and horse drawn artillery came into use.
The government was able to finance all this by the institution of special
Reforms of the 1680's
187. In the 1680's both the old and the new system coexisted. The
war for the conquest of the right bank Ukraine went on for years with no
result. There were yearly campaigns involving large numbers of forces, but no
victory was achieved. The major battle for the defense of Chigirin turned out
to be unsuccessful. This war showed the deficiencies in the army.
The first reform was in the military districts in 1680.
Changes were made in the selection of the service people. The
selection consisted of an inspection of the men, then those having the greater
material economic support and having equipment in good repair were allowed to
enter the reiter or lancer service. The rest of the dvoriani and deti boyars
were sent into the soldier regiments. Also, all the reiters and lancers not
belonging to the dvoriani class were sent to the soldier regiments. From the
taxpaying class men were sent to the soldier regiments. These men were selected
by the landlord or from among the number of relatives and neighbors who had the
duty of supporting a soldier and the burden of service. If a soldier died he
was replaced from his group. A significant change occurred in the situation of
the service people on city service; that is the streltzi, Cossacks and people
of artillery rank. All these people were ordered enroled as soldiers. They had
been serving on a yearly temporary field service basis. Since many people on
city service fulfilled this service with land and without salary, they were
allowed to fulfill their new service every other year in the regimental field
service and alternate years in the city. While on regimental field service such
soldiers received a cash salary equal to the permanent soldiers.
The Moscow streltzi were preserved, but they were reformed into
1,000 man regiments and distributed to the razryads. The officers of the
streltzi were renamed; head became colonel, Lieutenant Head became Lieutenant
colonel, sotnik became captain. The 100's organization within the streltzi
regiments and also the office of the ten's and fifty's leaders remained as
A general analysis was made as a result of which an enumerated list
was created by which service people in the regimental service were distributed
into the 9 razryadi (military districts). The 9 were: Moscow, Seversk (also
called the great polk as these people made up this unit), Ryazan,
Belgorod, Tambov, Kazan, Smolensk, Vladimir, and Novgorod. The Tula razryad was
officially abolished( it had ceased to exist in reality anyway); and the
Moscow, Vladimir, and Tambov razryadi were newly formed.
Thus one of the basic aims of the reform in the 1690's consisted of
creating a net of military districts. Until then these districts had existed
only along the frontier, but after the reform they were applied to the entire
territory of the country. However, in this list the Siberian Razryad was
excluded and not effected by the reform.
189. In all 9 districts the service people consisted of the
following: soldiers in 4l regiments 61,288 (37%);
Moscow streltzi in 21 regiments 20,048 (12%); lancers and reiters
in 21 regiments 30,472 (18.5%); Cherkass in 4 regiments 14,865 (9%); men on
100's service 16,097 (10%;) plus Moscow ranks 6,385 their men at arms 11,830
(7.15%); taxpayer horsemen 10,000 (6%) total 164,666 men divided into 81,336
infantry (49%) and 83,264 cavalry (51%). Besides these, on the general list
there were the Cherkass of the Hetman's force 50,000 with which the total
reached 214,600 men.
In the general list the service people not counting the Moscow
district were divided into cavalry 43,908, infantry 76,158 and Cherkass 14,865.
This means that in the basic composition of the service people the infantry was
1 1/2 times larger than the cavalry, but in the regular regiments the soldier's
regiments numbered 2 times more than the lancers and reiters. The Moscow
district on the other hand had mostly cavalry men.
All the aforementioned service people (not counting the
Hetmans force) were divided into 9 districts numbering from 7,871 men in
Smolensk to 34,000 in Seversk district. In each district except Moscow there
were service people belonging to all the basic categories. Not all the
districts listed in 1680 turned out to be viable. The independent existence of
the Tambov district was recognized to be unnecessary and in 1681-82 it was
united into the Belgorod district, which significantly increased its territory
and number of troops.
With regard for the changes occurring in territorial composition
and numbers of districts between the reform and the Crimean campaign we will
attempt to evaluate the essential character and importance of the military
district reform of 1680. First of all we must remark that the reform spread the
net of districts and spread the experience of their existence to the central
territory. As a result of the reforms all the European part of the state except
for the far north was divided between 8 districts, each of which united several
cities and uezd's. Not all the districts had the same military significance.
The central districts, Moscow and Vladimir, due to their location didn't
receive a final organization and did not fully participate in campaigns. But
all the above mentioned districts continued to exist until the beginning of the
190. The service people on regimental service were reformed into
the a district polk of the district in which they served. This
organization did not receive final form in all districts and not all districts
sent polki as independent units on campaigns, but the presence of such
polki in peacetime as well as in wartime on the territory of the entire
state improved and quickened the formation of the campaign forces and
strengthened the military power of the state.
The organization of a permanent Great Polk, until then
created for each campaign, and the location of it on the territory of one of
the frontier districts(Seversk) transferred the direction of forces from Moscow
to the frontier, and brought the command of the forces closer to the central
mass of the troops and increased the military preparedness and effectiveness of
The reform established the composition and numbers of the district
POLKI. The number of the cavalry (lancer and reiter) regiments was preserved
and the number of infantry regiments significantly increased by the inclusion
in the district polk of all Moscow streltzi and a massive transfer into
soldier regiments of the town streltzi, Cossacks and people of artillery
190. The district POLKI remained as established until the 18th
cent. The experience of organizing these POLKI the direction and command of
them in peace and war time was similar to the formation of the forces under
Peter I into the general's commands or divisions and
The military district reform of 1680 was conducted toward the aim
of improvement of the composition and organization of forces to remove the
deficiencies in structure and direction that existed before the reform. One
must also mention the weaker side of the military district reform. The basic
shortcoming of the reform was that it didn't destroy the presence of the two
systems of military forces. The increase of regiments of the new order was
preserved but they didn't completely replace the service people on 100's
service. The government due to financial considerations decided not the
liquidate the old pomestnik cavalry militia.
Although that calvary was dispersed into the district polki
and did not have an independent military significance, it nevertheless
negatively influenced the militA further negative side of the reform
was the preservation of the Moscow streltzi, which for all of their existence
had been connected with the old regime. The distribution of the streltzi into
the military districts merely worsened their economic and legal position.
Another result was that this remnant of the old organization entered into all
the elements of the new force bringing its short comings with it.ary
capacity of the army. This was shown in the Crimean campaign.
Also, the inclusion in the soldier regiments of exstrelzi,
Cossacks, and other service people of city service lowered the quality of the
regular infantry organization, since these people performed their soldier
service not permanently, but every other year. On the other hand, the reform
didn't abolish the razryad service people, town streltsi, artillerymen and
others who existed in their old form until the 18th cent.
Reform of the Administration of the Armed Forces.
191. Closely connected with the military district reform was the
reform of the central military administration. This reform consisted of several
separate Ukases the essence of which were to strengthen the central control of
the military forces. The most important Ukase was the one of 12 November 1680
by which all military people on regimental service (except those located on the
territory subordinate to the Oblast Prikazi of Siberia, Little Russia, and
Kazan), were shifted to control of the three Prikazi; Razryad, Reiter, and
191. As a result of this change service people were removed, from
the control of the Novgorod, Smolensk, Great Court and other prikazi, which
almost completely lost their military functions. Significantly, the Streltzi
Prikaz retained its control of the remaining Moscow streltzi.
Control of the military people was divided between the Razryad,
Reiter, and Foreign Prikazi in the following ways; The Razryad Prikaz
controlled all service people on regimental service in the districts of Sevski,
Belgorod, Tambov, Novgorod, and Smolensk,; and all reiters and mounted service
people in the towns of the central Volga valley. Besides that the Razryad
Prikaz controlled the service people of Moscow rank and the dvoriani and deti
boyars on 100's service in the central region. This means that in control of
the service people the Razryad Prikaz had to act mainly as an oblast Prikaz
like the Siberian, Kazan, and Little Russian Prikazi. In control of these
districts it was in effect controlling all the service people in the border of
192. In the remaining area, that is the central territory, the
cavalry of reiters and lancers were controlled by the Reiter Prikaz and the
infantry (soldier regts) by the Foreign Prikaz. The project of centralization
was strengthened by the appointment on 7 Nov 1680 of the Boyar N. U. Dolgoruki
as head of the Razryad, Reiter, and Foreigh Prikazi. Thus all service people of
regimental service were subordinate to one leader.
There were great difficulties in putting the Ukase of 1680 into
practice. Succeeding legislation showed the sheer changeableness and unsteady
position of the government on this issue. This changeableness is the clear
result of the struggle for power between the governmental parties of the
Narishkin and Miloslavski families and the shift of supreme power from Fedor to
Peter then to Peter and Ivan jointly, and finally to Peter, Ivan, and Sophia
together. The struggle of the governmental groups strengthened the conflicts
between the prikazi which were struggling to widen their functions, sometimes
to the detriment of the general state interest. As a result, the most important
measures of centralization of military control made by the government of Fedor
Alekiseevich did not receive full implementation.
For this reason the weakness of the measures taken to centralize
military control resulted in the same deficiencies remaining as before. The
government could not create a single system of control, but kept the existing
100's territorial system. All the military people on the designated territories
were under control of one Prikaz. And at the same time kept the system of
control of separate prikazi for each branch of the forces in which each type of
unit was controlled by one prikaz throughout the entire territory of the state.
Therefore the reform didn't achieve a clear cut delineations of functions
between the Prikazi.
The 2nd basic deficiency in the measures for centralization was the
attempt to revive and spread the importance of the Razryad Prikaz. The Razryad
Prikaz had come into existence in the period of the organization of the
pomestnik cavalry. Therefor in the process of the fall and elimination of the
pomestie militia the Razryad Prikaz gradually lost its dominant position in the
system of control of the military forces. The Razryad Prikaz by retaining
control of the pomestie and the votchiniki was in it essence closely connected
with the old military organization. Therefor the attempt by the government to
widen the military functions of the Razryad Prikaz, to subordinate to it the
new units, to divide these people between the Razryad and Reiter and Foreign
Prikazi was doomed to failure.
We must consider that such attempts to subordinate the new
regiments to the Razryad took place in 1665 during the war in the Ukraine.
Finally the government had to renounce this idea. The centralization of the
military administration specified in the reform of 1680 was not accomplished.
The government did not decide to undertake the deep reform really needed. The
division of the military administration and control of the army among several
prikazi lasted until the beginning 18th cent.
Elimination of "Mestnichestvo"
One of the reforms of the 1680's was the elimination of
Mestnichestvo. On 24 Nov. 1681 Tsar Feodor Alekseevich ordered the
boyar V. V. Golitsin to improve the military service and administration. Under
Golitsin's leadership a widely based military commission was created composed
of representatives of the commands, generals and colonels, dvoriani and deti
boyars. The commission had to propose a program of measures for strengthening
the military forces. Very important missions were placed before the commission
but little concrete was done. The commission tried to eliminate existing
deficiencies. These deficiencies included the existence of the two military
systems and the presence of elements of the old military organization.
The question was posed. In what military structure should the
Moscow ranks, stolniki, stryapchini, Moscow dvoriani, and zhil'tsi be
placed. The commission said that these people should be put on regimental
service, but formed not into 100's but into companies under rotmiesters and
these companies formed into regiments. In each regiment would be 6 companies of
60 men each. This suggestion was accepted by the tsar, who ordered a list made
up of who would be the rotmeisters and lieutenants. For this the commission
prepared a list of the Moscow ranks. To do this the commission ran into
trouble. Many of the ancient families did not get onto the list of leading
people because of the smaller number of years of membership of these families
of the hierarchy.
l94. In order to eliminate this family struggle the commission
urged the elimination of mestnichestvo. On 12 January 1682 the tsar
created a special commission on this issue. Its members were from the Boyar
Duma and representatives of the church. Many members were interested in
preserving mestnichestvo but after a speech by Tsar Feodor,
Golitsin and the church men urged that it be abolished, so the rest of the
members agreed. Thus ended a system that had been effect for almost 200 years.
The system had been a great evil and had done much damage to the military
forces. Its elimination was a major political victory for the government. That
it could be eliminated without more struggle than this shows the loss of
influence of the boyars. From now on success in advancement was to be connected
with success in service.
The entrance of the Moscow ranks into the company and regimental
organization and the end of mestnichestvo ended the activities of
the commission of V. V. Golitsin. The entrance of the Moscow ranks into
regimental organization did not mean that they were the same in status as
ordinary service people but it was a step in the gradual liquidation of the old
195. The reforms of the 1680's were conducted for the further
improvement o of the organization and composition of he Russian
In essence the reform of the military district system attempted to
extend the military district system to the entire area of the state on the
basis of the experience of the districts on the border. As a result the
government could create a structure organization and composition and general
number of military people of regimental service in peacetime and create
permanent forces of large units such as were previously only formed in wartime.
The essence of the reform was the strengthening of the central control by its
concentration in 3 prikazi and the subordination of all three to one man. The
dynastic political struggle and the streltzi rebellion complicated the reform
and prevented its completion.
The reforms of the 17th century showed their effects in the
organization of the Russian forces in the Crimean campaigns of l687-89. These
campaigns were undertaken by the government to fulfill its duties undertaken on
its entrance into union of European states against Turkey.
In the first Crimean campaign the forces were formed in 5
polki; Great, Sevski, Kazan (Lower), Novgorod, and Ryazan. The total number
of troops reached 112,902 men(not counting the Hetman's forces and servants).
The Moscow ranks and dvoriani 8,712 (7.5%); Lancers, reiter, hussars 26,096
(23%); Cherkass 15,505 (13.5%); Soldiers 49,3633 (43.5%); streltzi 11,262
(10%); plus a small number of gentry, Cossacks and others. The cavalry numbered
52,277 (46%) and infantry 60,625 (54%). Units organized in the new style
numbered 75,459 men (67%).
196. For the second campaign there were 117,446 men not counting
the Hetman's troops and the bondsmen. The breakdown by type was nearly the same
as on the first campaign. Comparison of these figures with the composition of
the troops in 1680 shows that of the 143,000 men (not counting bondsmen) shown
on the list, on campaign were 82% of the army; or all lancers, reiters and
Cherkass; 86% of the soldiers; about 66% of the Moscow ranks, dvoriani and deti
boyars; and half the streltzi. This means the more militarily prepared units
were those of the new order that was at almost full strength in peacetime and
they are the ones who went on campaign. The composition and organization of the
forces in the Crimean campaign shows the achievement of the government and also
the weak side of the military organization.
The lancers, reiters, and soldier regiments made up nearly two
thirds of the force. They were regular regiments and made up the backbone of
the force in peace and war. The existence of regular regiments allowed the
creation of the permanent larger units the razryad, and the voevode corps from
which were formed the campaign units. The presence of the permanent regiments
of new type strengthened the defense of the border, and improved the formation
of the forces and their military preparedness. The new type units were a
permanent force the government used in internal politics also. The growth of
permanent regiments went with absolutism. The main deficiency was the existence
of 2 systems. Even though the old type units were small in number they still
resulted in a dual administration, supply, control, recruitment etc. and
reduced the overall effectiveness.
Campaign on Crimea
197. The first one was organized by May 1687. On 8 May the forces
moved out on campaign in 4 columns from the river Nerlo on a front of more than
a verst and a depth of 2 versts. In the center was the infantry and on the
flank of the infantry moved the wagons. There were 20,000 vehicles. Besides the
supply wagons was the artillery and on the outside of all was the
In the advance guard. the 5 streltzi regiments were in the center
with soldier regiments on the flanks. At the river Samara, the Hetman's force
joined the army. The forces moved south across the Kolomak, Orel, and Samara
rivers to Konski Vodi where they were located on 12 June. They covered 300
versts in 7 weeks. South of Konski Vodi the steppe was burned by the Tatars.
The attempt to cross the burned steppe without fodder and water was
unsuccessful. The forces returned and by the middle of August reached the Nerlo
The government considered the weakness of the organization of the
campaign and tried to improve things for the next campaign in 1689.
In 1688 the fort Novobogoroditsk was built on the river Samara at
its junction with the Dnieper to defend the Ukraine from Tatars and as a supply
base for future campaigns. 350,000 puds of supplies for the support of troops
were placed there. In order to avoid steppe fires the next campaign was ordered
for the spring. At the middle of March 1689 the forces left the river Vorskl
toward Konski Vodi in the same formation as in 1687. In Novobogoroditsk the
soldiers received food for two months. Surmounting obstacles enroute such as
steppe rivers, the forces by the middle of May reached the Black Dolini river
and on 20 May reached Perekop. The commander, V. V. Golitsin, decided not to
attack Perekop fortress and instead of military operations began negotiations.
On 21 May the forces started the return journey.
Despite the failure of the campaign they showed the state of
military experience of the 17th cent. It was the first mass campaign on the
Crimea. The huge military force with a large supply column and artillery
successfully crossed the dangerous steppe, which was depopulated in the 17th
cent, and for the first time appeared before Crimea. To even undertake such a
campaign was a difficult test of military preparedness.
198. On the way to Crimea and on the way back the troops beat
off all attacks of the Tatars.
There were various reasons for failure. S. N. Solov'ev considered
that the difficulty of a steppe campaign was insurmountable. Some say the fault
was Golitsin's because he did not have leadership talent. The forces had very
poor reconnaissance. There was failure to consider the obstacles on the first
campaign On the 2nd campaign the obstacles were overcome, the forces left
earlier and thus avoided the fires. Almost without loss they crossed the steppe
and reached Perekop. Golitsin conducted himself at Perekop so badly that there
were rumors of his being a traitor to the Khan.
Military forces of Ukraine in 17th century
199. From the middle 17th century after the unification of Ukraine
with Russia the military forces of Ukraine - Cossacks - entered into the
composition of the Russian state military forces. In the Ukraine the Dnieper
and Zaporozhie Cossacks known to history from the 2nd half of the15th century.
They were local Ukrainian population. The continuous military danger from the
south, especially was increasing on the lower Dnieper after the organization of
the Crimean Khanate. Only the bravest people were attracted to live there. But
the numbers of Cossacks grew at the end of the15th century after the union of
the Kievan princedom in 1471 with Lithuania and the placing there of a voevode.
This move strengthened serfdom of the people to the Lithuanian gentry. Escaping
from feudalism the freedom loving people left to the frontier. The Cossack of
the 15th and 16th centuries was a military man, a hunger and fisherman. They
gathered under the head of elected attaman. They settled in the southern
Dnieper area beyond the rapids. They built forts - a sech - where they defended
themselves. This was the center for Zaporozhski Cossacks. The existence of a
fortified base strengthened the Cossacks in dealings with the Polish
government. In the 1st half of the 16th century was the real beginning of
Cossack government. The Lublin Union of 1569 of Poland and Lithuania in the
Pospolita resulted in Ukraine falling under control of Poland. The
Polish King needed a military force of Cossacks and tried to subordinate them.
King Sigismund Avgustus ordered hetman Yuri Yazlovetski to select from Cossacks
a detachment for government service, naming them a special determined yearly
salary and organization norms and service conditions. Yazlovetski in 1572 had
300 men. At that time the estimated number of Cossacks in the area was 3,000.
Yazlovetski started registered or town Cossacks officially into government
service. From that time began the division of Ukranian Cossacks into city and
Zaporozhni. Yazlovetski was not successful at bringing all Cossacks into order.
Cossacks continued to independently raid Crimea and the Khan
demanded of the Polish government to repress the Cossacks. King Stephan Batory
ordered them driven out and frontier governors ordered them cut off from
supplies. To save themselves they began to move to the Don. Thegovernment
program turned out badly. When they needed frontier military help they had to
get Cossacks again. In 1578, 1582, 1587, and 1590 temporary Cossack units were
formed. Whenever miltary danger passed the Cossacks lost support.
Cossack freedom subverted serfdom, so landlord gentry demanded an
end to the Cossacks. In Polish Seim in 1592 a project was discussed for cruel
repression against the Cossacks. But it was not passed by the Seim. However,
the government and Ukrainian administration actually put in force a repression.
Many uprisings occurred. In 1596 the Seim declared the Cossacks to be traitors
and demanded the confiscation of Cossack property. However that program turned
out badly also. The local population helped the Cossacks. The Uprising of Ivan
Bolotnikov was a typical peasant and Cossack activity. Then in 1648-54 there
was war in Ukraine led by Cossacks and also city and peasant
All Ukraine population was against the Polish Pans. The Organizer
was Bogdan Khmelnitski in 1647 he appeared from Zaporozhie. He made and
agreement with the Crimean Horde - Turgai Bea for assistance. The Polish
government prepared and in 1648 Hetman Pototski had 30,000 men on the Dnieper.
He reported that the Cossacks had 3,000 but when he reached Ukraine they had
100,000. The government began military operations. In a battle near Korsun the
kings troops were defeated by Cossacks. Victory was the signal for a
general uprising of Ukraine in the middle of 1648. All Ukraine was cleared of
204. Zborovski Agreement in August 1649
For Ukraine there would be districts of Kiev, Chernigov and
Bratslava. There would be 40,000 Cossacks in 16 regiments. (See table). The
forces were independent with an elected hetman and headquarters at Chigirin.
The rest of the people were under the kings government - so two systems
of government existed. The agreement was a big victory for the Cossacks but the
rest of the poeple remained again under their land lords.
Cossack Forces on the Basis of the 1649 Agreement
19 - 100's
18 - 100's
16 - 100's
19 - 100's
22 - units
14 - 100's
22 - 100's
19 - 100's
17 - 100's
19 - 100's
14 - 100's
16 - 100's
19 - 100's
10 - 100's
7 - 100's
For a total of 16 regiments with 37,745 men or 28,845 according to
other sources. Of the 16 registered regiments 9 were on the right bank and 7 on
the left. The numbers per regiment varied from 991 to 3,333. In all regiments
there were 249 110's with from 34 to 47 men each. The regiments were named for
the 4 major towns and the 100's for the smaller towns. In 1649 only those
participating in the war were registered. Later, when he Ukraine was united to
Russia, there were 17 regiments, 10 on the right and 7 on the left
The Force of the Zaporozhe was set at 60,000 in 1654. In January
1654 the government took a census of all the population and found 127,338 adult
males, of whom 62,949 were Cossacks, 1,898 Cossack elders and gentry, 62,454
city people and peasants et cetera, 37 monastery people. This shows why the
figure was et at 60,000 and shows that for each Cossack there was a serf or
city person who were the taxpayers. Such a number of taxpayers could not
support so many Cossacks with taxes so the Cossacks were paid only when on
service. The make up of the regiment varied, depending on the place and area
and density of population. In the towns and cities the Cossacks and local
people lived together and had their own duties and leaders. The Cossacks had
atamans and the others had (boit and burtistr).
Each regiment had a colonel, two esayl (clerk) xorunshii, odoznii,
and sotniki. Each 100 had a xorunshii. The regment had musicians. The force had
a hetman - clerk, 3 military judges, and artillermen.
204. There was war again in 1651-53 and the Poles won at Berestech
and made a new peace agreement. The new peace agreement destroyed the Cossack
independence and reduced their number to 20,000. In 1652 the Cossacks again won
at Ladizhin and Zhvaants. A new peace of 1653 resulted in Cossacks regaining
The Russian government and people helped the Ukraine. Many Don
Cossacks served in the forces and Russian peasants also served. Russia helped
with food and arms and military supplies. The Ukrainian people asked Moscow for
help and defense. In 1630's many Ukranian people moved to Moscow territory.
Moscow put them into border service. In 1650's there were 5 Cherkass -Cossack
regiments in Russian service.
Boghan Khmelnitski asked for a Union and Tsar Alexei was interested
but internal uprisings prevented action. In 1653 when Moscow heard that the
Ottoman Sultan was interested in Ukraine, it speeded up action. On 1 October
1653 the Zemski Sobor agreed to take Ukraine and on 8 January 1654 there was
the agreement of Pereayslav on union. Chernov writes that the Zemski Sobor
represented the will of all Russian people as did the Rada represent all
Ukraine. (On any other issue he would write that this was an instrument of the
207. More discussion about 300 years of joint struggle of Russians
and Ukrainians together against foreigners. This includes mention of Poltava
battle against the Swedish interventionists.
208. In 1812 war the Ukrainian people and others of the country
under the leadership of the Russian people defeated Napoleon.
The agreement of January 1654 gave the Cossacks freedom and independence. There
were now 60,000 Cossacks on the rosters, to be paid yearly. There were 80
cannon at Korsun. All taxes went to support this force in the Korsun area. The
Cossacks supported this local tax. Taxes were colleted in cities by local
officials. The Russian government handled only foreign affairs. Each regiment
and 100's governed a local area as well as had military duty. The hetman and
leaders had civil government powers.
After the Andrusovski Agreement the Cossack list on left bank was 30,000 men.
This lasted until 1687. The actual number in the force approached 50,000 and
was over half the adult male population of left bank Ukraine. The main source
of Cossacks was the Cossack children. The Cossacks were forbidden to enroll
serfs and taxpayers. Thus Cossacks became hereditary and for life. The main
difference between Cossacks and taxpayers was they owned land and could have
flocks. They could have vine culture and didnt pay axes. They had to be
ready for military service. Besides Cossacks on the list there was city
service. There were free volunteers, people not already on a list. Volunteer
units formed like others.
The difference of volunteer units from others was mainly that
volunteers were not called Cossacks but comrades. (Tovarishty) They were not
considred a lower class, however, just different.
The second difference was that volunteers were not settled. They
served in temporary quarters.
The third difference was the volunteeers under ful support of the hetman had no
other existence. The Hetman had to support them - volunteers became a pernanent
service. During war for the right bank Ukraine these regiments had an active
role in operations. In peace they had guard duty on the lower Dnieper.
The Hetman used them for interior guard. In 1676 Samoilovich ordered Colonel of
a regiment to gather his regiment at Starodub and secretly observe the
elections of starshini. The Hetman did not want to take Cossacks from their
farms and homes. for continuous frontier duty. So he used the volunteer
regiments. Volunteer regiments were in his hand and a better military force.
The Zaporozhe force in peace only had a few 100's on duty. In war they had
5,000 men. This varied during the seasons. Summer had increased numbers of
people from cities. Winter was when most left for the cities and towns. Only a
guard was left at Zaporozhe. The center was Chertomlitski Sech. In 1672 this
was located between the Progni and Chertomlik rivers with river and swamp on 3
sides to make it difficult for Tatars to cross.
By the Adrussovo Agreement the Zaporozhe were subordinaed to both Moscow and
Poland. The continued dual control lasted until 1686 when an ?eternal
peace with Poland the Zaporozhe became part of Russia.
217. The period under study was the period of the organization,
spread, and strengthening of the centralized multinational Russian state. The
centralized state reached the determined level of economic and political
development of the Russian apanage principalities and was strengthened in
battle with the feudal divisions of Russia. An important aspect of
centralization was the struggle with external military dangers, the battle for
independence. In the process of organization and strengthening of Russia the
centralized state was also formed and the military forces were
The two basic classes of feudal society determined the composition
of the military forces. The ruling class of feudal landowners and the exploited
class of taxpayers. The level of participation of these classes in the military
force varied during the period.
In the period of feudal division of Russia the military force of
the princedom was basically the princes and boyars druzhina and the
peoples militia. The druzhina was a permanent class force of feudalism on which
the princes power depended. The people's militia was called out only in
time of war. It participated in major wars and in its numbers it was the
decisive factor in the makeup of the army. In the process of organization of
the central state the princely and boyar druzhina was the kernel of the militia
of dvoriane and deti boyars ( the pomestnik militia).
In the organization and strengthening of the central state the
pomestnik militia was a similar feudal militia force like the previous
druzhina. The class essence of the pomestnik militia did not change in the
course of its existence.
During the organization of the central state the people's militia
was eliminated by the great princes power. The prince called the
population to military service only in case of serious military danger. He
regulated the extent and character of such service. The pomestnik militia was a
The government tried to remedy the absence of infantry by using in
military operations the (pososhni rati) but these people who were
assembled periodically and were assessed from the taxpayers had no preparation
or experience in military maters. At the beginning of the 16th century the
government tried to create from the taxpayers a more capable detachment of
infantry, the Pishchalniki, who were armed with firearms. However this
temporary formation was entirely dependent in its supply and sustenance on the
population which was obliged to support it, and weak in its mastery of
firearms. This meant they could not match the permanent infantry. Such
permanent infantry were the streltzi organized under Ivan IV and composed of
taxpayers. The wars in the 2nd half of the 16th century showed that with
permanent streltzi armed with firearms the military capacity of Russia was
greatly improved. The streltzi were placed on permanent service and had
permanent organization in peace and war. They were the embroyo of the regular
forces. With the appearance of service people by selection and
general increase in number of troops the relationship between the various arms
of service changed also. The domination of the dvoriani cavalry was
characteristic of the army of the 2nd half 15th and 1st half 16th
century. Then infantry gained more and more importance. In numbers it was still
less than the cavalry, but it grew rapidly. In the 2nd half of the 16th century
came the break even point.
The organization of the forces underwent less change. The formation
of the forces by polk which was established during the feudal period
remained the basis of the military organization of the centralized state. The
forces in the form of a 3 polk (Great, lead and guard) of 5 polk
(adding right and left) existed until the middle 17th century. These
polki were composite, each was made up of several polki to the
middle 16th century and sometimes additional formations. To the 3 or 5
polki in the middle of the 16th century sometimes were added additional
formations such as the ertaul (light cavalry unit) and the State polk.
The appearance of service people by selection having their own units did not
change the larger units or general formation of the army. The streltzi and
Cossacks were in units of l00''s and entered the POLKI of dvoriani militia
enlarging them but not changing their name or location in the army.
219. All army organization until the middle 17th cent was
temporary. It was called up during preparation for war and dismissed after the
war. In the process of development of the industrial strength of the country
the technical equipment of the troops was improved. Firearms were introduced
The increase of artillery was especially important. The Russian artillery
started defensively as fortress. artillery, then siege weapons were added and
in the first half of the 16th cent field arti1lery made its appearance. From
then on it participated in all campaigns. In about 100 years the Russian
artillery moved forward so fast that in its technical aspect, and quantity it
surpassed western countries. (No examples of Russian artillery being decisive
or even a major help are cited). The permanent infantry streltzi
was armed with hand firearms. This gave the infantry a great advantage over
cavalry armed only with bows and arrows.
Command of all the military forces of the state was in control of the supreme
power, the grand prince. Military administration and control was divided among
several independent central organs (prikazi). A single unified military
administration was not created in Russia until the reign of Peter. Local
military control was connected to the corresponding local organs, prikazi, that
controlled civil affairs in the areas.
220. In the struggle with Polish and Swedish interventionists in
the beginning 17th century the Russian forces turned out to be insufficient in
military capacity and could not drive them out. The main element of the army
consisted of the dvoriani and deti boyars and it withdrew and did not fight
because they were busy defending their own class interests in the peasant war,
and some went onto the side of the Poles.
The streltzi turned out to be more effective in morale and military
capacity. They showed heroism in defending their country, but they were
distributed among many towns and did not have an independent importance on the
battle field. Part of the service Cossacks remained loyal to the government,
but also they did not have importance.
The struggle with the foreigners fell to the population in mass.
The people's freedom movement from 1608 to 1611-12 was a general national
movement. After the end of this war the government tried to recreate its forces
in the previous structure. The government carried the same number of service
dvoriani as at the end of the 16th cent, but nearly half of these service
people were not fit for service due to their poor economic position. They could
only serve in the garrisons and defense of towns. The system of pomestnik
landownership and the composition of the pomestnik economy could not support
the service of the pomestnik.
The small number of dvoriani on polk service was aggravated
by their indiscipline and poor armament. In the postwar years significant
improvement in the number of city streltzi was made. Evaluating the streltzi
morale and military capacity in the war, the government gradually began to
increase the streltzi.
A significant change in the condition of the Cossacks occurred. The
government separated out the service Cossacks from the taxpayer peasants and
town people and put them in small detachments in many towns. The government
gave them some material support and put them under their own military
administration. As a result the Cossacks played a greater military and
political significance than they had had during previous times.
As a result, the Cossacks lost the military and political significance that
they had had during the war and were transformed into service people of the
town and siege service. After the war of 1612 the number of service people was
equal to that in the 16th cent, 100,000 men, but of it only 20,000 were on
field duty. It follows that at the beginning of the Russian Polish war of
1632-34 the government did not have enough military forces.
Preparing for the war with such forces, in the opinion of the Moscow
government, required the Russians to organize their forces using the experience
of the best West European countries, as they could be related to the concrete
conditions of Russia.
A reorganization was undertaken in the 1630's and the first phase was the
creation of regiments of the new form; soldier, reiter, dragoon, and lancer. In
the period before Peter the regiments of new style underwent a complicated and
difficult development. The experience of organization and military operation of
these regiments gave a positive result. The soldier, dragoon, and reiter
regiments entered the structure of the Russian army and gradually became the
dominate part of the forces.
The superiority of the new regiments over the old units was that
the new regiments were a permanent force with military people in them receiving
systematic training and being fully supported. This was a regular army in
Russia that appeared much earlier than in west Europe.
The organization of new type regiments and their rapid growth in
the period of the war with Poland and later carried a deep rooted change in the
structure of the Russian forces. This change was that the main significant part
of the soldiers of the old organization were transferred to the new regiments
and the remainder of service people were put on town service.
222. The streltzi continued to serve parallel to the new regiments.
The streltzi gradually were changed into troops for internal security guard. As
a result of these changes the regiments of new type made up 75% of all service
people on field duty, and the number of the field army increased 5 to 6 times.
By the end of the 1670's the government could quickly send on campaign 200,000
The organization of the new regiments had deep rooted changes in
the organization of the military forces. In the middle 17th century a
permanent, larger military unit in the form of military districts and their
corps was developed. Each Razryad polk (corps) consisted of several
soldier, dragoon, and reiter regiments. The organization of the razryad polk
and its existence in peacetime became a possibility as a result of the new
regiments. The organization of the milttary district and its corps changed the
organization of the campaign army. During the war with Poland in 1654-67 the
old form of 3 polki finally disappeared. The new formation was the
corps. This greatly increased the military capacity of the country. In the 17th
century great success was achieved in the military forces, armament, and
The permanent forces demanded a state supply. For supply of service
people cash and food payments were needed and the government created a
permanent cash and food tax state wide. This tax was essential to having
permanent forces. Thus, the ability to levy taxes was a requiremenmt for
creating large armed forces.
The military forces of Russia in the 17th cent had serious
deficiencies. First was the perseverance of the 2 systems. The new regiments
did not eliminate the old. The double system required double supply and
administration. Second, there was no central unified command and
administration. Peter's reforms were already in preparation by his
fathers and brothers administrations.