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Entries / Guards


Categories / Army. Navy/Garrison

GUARDS, life guards, elite, privileged military unit. The Russian Guards were established by Peter I in 1700, when the Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky regiments gained the title of life guards. In 1711 the guards were placed as being a higher rank than the army. In 1730 the Izmaylovsky and the Cavalry regiments were incorporated into the Guards. Over the 18th century the Life Guards Company and the Cavalier Guards Corps enjoyed the same rights as those of the Guards. In 1806 a divisional system of the Guards was introduced. In 1813 the Guards Infantry merged into a corps, and in 1916 - was divided into two corps, temporarily comprising of guards regiments. In 1813-83 there existed a division of the Guards into the Old and the New (the latter having seniority over the army), in 1883 the seniority was removed from the Guards. The Guards participated in the Great Northern War (1700-21), the war with France (1805-07, 1812-14), and the war with Turkey (1828-29, 1877-78), WW I (1914-17). From the middle of the 1720s the Guards were permanently quartered in St. Petersburg (except for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Cavalry Brigade, stationed from 1815 to 1914 in Warsaw). The Guards presence in the city had impact on all the spheres of activity, creating the image of St. Petersburg as of the military capital. By early 1914 the following Guards units were located in St. Petersburg: Preobrazhensky Life Guards Regiment, Semenovsky, Izmaylovsky, Chasseur, Moscow, Grenadier, Pavlovsky, and Finlyandsky Regiments, Guards Company, Cavalier Guards, Cavalry, Cossack, Ataman and Combined-Cossack Regiments (see corresponding articles), as well as guards artillery and special units – Field Engineer Regiment, Gendarme Division, Palace Grenadiers Company, and His Imperial Majesty's Escort; in the suburbs of St. Petersburg - Guards Rifle Brigade, Cuirassiers of His Majesty's, Cuirassiers of Her Majesty's, Cavalry Grenadiers, Dragoon, Hussar and Ulan regiments (see relevant articles below). On the Guards entering WW I (1914) reserve battalions of all the divisions had been deployed in Petrograd, intended for reinforcement. Some of these battalions (from the summer of 1917 - reserve regiments), recruited in 1916 from conscripted workers and irregular officers, participated in the February and October Revolutions of 1917. In 1918 the Guards were liquidated. From 1796 the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral was the All Guards Chapel. See the map on p. 182.

Reference: Антонов Б. И. Императорская гвардия в Санкт-Петербурге. СПб., 2001; Петербург военный XVIII - XIX веков: [Сб.]. М., 2003.

G. V. Kalashnikov.

Peter I, Emperor

The subject Index
Preobrazhensky Life Guards Regiment
Semenovsky Life Guards Regiment
Izmaylovsky Life Guards Regiment
Cavalry Life Guards Regiment
Life Company
Cavalier Guards Regiment
Great Northern War of 1700-21
Chasseur Life Guards Regiment
Moscow Life Guards Regiment
Grenadiers Life Guards Regiment
Pavlovsky Life Guards Regiment
Finlyandsky Life Guards Regiment
Guards Company
Cossack Life Guards Regiment
Ataman Life Guards Regiment
Sapper Life Guards Battalion
Palace Grenadiers Company
His Imperial Majesty's Escort
Guards Rifle Brigade
Cuirassier Life Guards His Majesty’s Regiment
Her Majesty’s Cuirassier Life Guards Regiment
Horse Grenadier Life Guards Regiment
Dragoon Life Guards Regiment
Hussar Life Guards Regiment
Uhlan Life-Guards Regiment
Holy Transfiguration Cathedral


Holy Transfiguration Cathedral

HOLY TRANSFIGURATION CATHEDRAL, located at 1 Preobrazhenskaya Square. An architectural monument construction by order of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna (architect M. G