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About an order of appointment to positions of generals and officers of the Russian army at the beginning of the 20th century

vestnik of the Military university. 2007. May. Page 81 - 86.

Special release "Officer of Armed Forces in modern Russian society"

A.A. fat tail


Various aspects of formation of domestic officer corps are among current problems of military and historical science. The main results of a research of the order of appointment to positions of generals and officers of the Defense Ministry of the Russian Empire operating at the beginning of last century are reflected in this article.

The Russian officer corps made in troops "a special class" 1 to which the state assigned powers of authority on the organization of activity of various army structures. One of military theorists of the beginning of last century colonel P. Rezhepo as follows defined a role of officers of armed forces: "... they bring up, they a source of knowledge, they are the highest chiefs and in them pledge of victories and defeats" 2.

The states of the Russian Defense Ministry were approved as the emperor and contained in the uniform Arch. At the beginning of the XX century the structure of positions which developed from the moment of education of officer corps of the Russian army underwent minor changes. According to official figures, for January 1, 1914 in the Russian army there were 45956 positions of officers, from them: 37323 (81.2%) - ober-

officer, 7370 (16%) - the headquarters - officer and 1263 (2.8%) generalskikh4. They were provided in infantry, cavalry, artillery, engineering, railway and Cossack troops and also in institutions and institutions of military-training, military and judicial and quartermaster departments. Besides, there were so-called "corps of officers: the General Staff and engineers - military and local" 5 which were subject to completion by exclusively officer shots which had vocational education.

For the military personnel who received primary officer ranks the obligatory appointment was provided in front parts for execution of positions younger ofitserov6. To each of them the circle was defined by the commander of a company

duties which appeared in orders by a part. Usually junior officers were entrusted with the management of a platoon or semi-company, they could also conduct classes in one or several disciplines with certain categories of the lower ranks or be responsible for one of sites of company economy.

In parts also various administrative positions relied: the aide-de-camps, treasurers managing weapon, clerks of regimental vessels, etc. who had to be replaced with subaltern officers. A variety of duties which performance in the Russian army was assigned to subaltern officers to the shtabs-captain's rank inclusive, testified to need of versatile initial training of officers.

In the Russian army the position of the company commander was considered as the first independent command position. In the Charter of internal service it was written down: "The commander of a company operates the part entrusted to him in every respect" 9. The analysis of functions of commanders and chiefs of higher army structures up to the Minister of War showed that they had to carry out similar duties in the increasing scales at appropriate levels.

Psychology and pedagogical activity, along with administrative, was the main for all commanding persons of the Russian Defense Ministry. The law obliged each commander to study constantly the subordinates, to train them in military science, to care "for development in the troops of a martial spirit entrusted to it and for maintenance in them military valor" 10. Besides, the officers performed administrative functions. Besides command positions the staff list provided for the officers a great number of others connected with staff, teaching, rear, legal, etc. types of activity.

At the beginning of the XX century the tendency to complication of duties of officers was observed that it was connected with changes in military science.

First, after introduction in the country of a general compulsory military service of a position of junior commanders began to be completed generally from among persons of conscription service. The unter-officer link weakened. The lieutenant colonel of the General Staff M.G wrote alkyne about it: "Nowadays it is impossible to rely on a shot of corporals, they often are replaced, are besides insufficiently developed" 11. It agrees

to statistical data, at the beginning of last century only one-two unter-


the officer in parts were sverkhsrochnosluzhashchy. Therefore the main part of work which was performed earlier by the unter-officer ranks which were profes-

the sionalny military personnel, it was assigned mainly to junior officers.

Secondly, emergence of new samples of weapon and military equipment caused transformations in organizational and regular structure of troops. The number of officer positions of a technical and engineering profile increased, the corresponding bodies were formed. The leadership team needed to master ways of their interaction and use in a fighting situation.

Thirdly, growth of number of the army of peace time which exceeded a million barrier promoted increase in load of the top administrative management of armed forces (head departments of the Ministry of Defence) and military districts (military district administrations).

Follows from an above-mentioned that officers, "serving on calling", played an important role in life of army and made "special estate in the state" 13 that predetermined introduction for them a special order of passing of military service.

By the beginning of World War I Russia had wealth of experience in the sphere of military and personnel work. Its accumulation went within two centuries.

Regulation of an order of completing of officer positions was carried out on the basis of the documents consolidated in books "Completing of Troops and Managements, Institutions and Institutions of the Defense Ministry" and "Service on the Defense Ministry", the Arch of Military of Postanovleniy14 operating at that time.

Management of the system of arrangement and completing of the corps of officers was in the emperor's hands. He not only approved the relevant normative legal acts, but also daily signed orders on movements of officer ranks. Only the head of state had the right for production in any of ranks and appointment of officers and generals to key posts in army. So, Nicholas II personally selected candidates for positions of the Minister of War, his assistant and general inspectors. Candidacies of chiefs of Head departments were presented to the emperor by the Minister of War. Similar appointments were made out by decrees to the Ruling Senate.

Unlike the existing chinoproizvodstvo order, official appointments could be made not only by the head of state, but also some army chiefs. So, to commanders of regiments (detached battalions) -

the Leningrad Region was granted the right of appointment in the parts of the subordinated officers at a position to commanders of battalions (companies) inclusive.

All office-work concerning selection of officer shots and official appointments in army was concentrated in one governing body - General staff. About concrete appointments to positions and assignment of officer ranks it is possible to judge by texts of orders on ranks of military which came down in annually published separate collections.

In the Russian army there were three forms of appointment of generals and officers at a position: transfers, transfers and secondment.

In Russia the service in one regiment was traditionally encouraged. About it P. Rezhepo wrote: "The more in army of moving of officers from one part in another, the bezoshibechny it is possible to tell that the army leads still abnormal life" 15. The similar point of view was shared by the main part of officer corps. Therefore, as a rule, places of the decreased officers were usually taken by brother-soldiers.

Such appointments in one part, an institution or establishment of the Defense Ministry were called transfers. They were made according to orders of the closest chiefs who had for this purpose the relevant rights. Also for vacancies distributed graduates of military colleges.

Office need forced to address also such form of motion of officers on service as the translations presenting movements of officers from some parts and institutions to others despite the negative relation to them.

The author established the reasons of implementation of the translations of officers. It was demanded by organizational and regular actions: formation and disbandment of military units, increase or reduction of established officer posts in them. Besides it was only this way possible to make replacement of officers who served in the remote regions with adverse climatic conditions. The right of the translation was granted to all officers who served five years in the Turkestan and Priamurye military districts. To them to change there arrived officer shots from other districts, most often central.

The translations and at personal requests of officers were allowed. But in such cases for subaltern officers the procedure of acceptance in other part was similar, as well as for the officers arriving on service from a stock or otstavki16. Similar pe-

revoda were made also in others of a type of military forces or services, but only in the presence of vacancies.

In case of impossibility to staff the being available vacancies with officers of the part the emperor the translations from other parts were allowed. Especially they practiced in infantry regiments. In them it was necessary to have 75% komandi-


a ditch of companies in the captain's rank. Therefore the captains who were not holding the positions corresponding to a rank were transferred to other parts if there was a requirement of replenishment of company commanders to the specified norm.

In army also the so-called translations "for advantage of service" became. It extended generally to the headquarters officers and generals who deserved promotion, but in their part or establishment there were no free vacancies or necessary positions. As encouragement of army officers could transfer to household troops. Commanders of cases had the right to carry out selection of seniors the headquarters officers to infantry shelves. Such appointments were made by orders on districts if the candidate served in the same part, and the translations - orders of the emperor.

All issues of the translations of officers were agreed through General staff. If such movement was made in one type of military forces, then solutions of chiefs of divisions, in other cases - the consent of that Head department in which submission the military unit or establishment where the candidate for the translation served consisted were required.

In the Russian army except transfers and transfers the order of secondment of officers for temporary execution of positions was legislatively defined. Studying documents showed that such method was used in two cases.

In the first case the affiliated officers, temporarily fulfilling certain functions, at the same time had training for specialty, new to them. It was a peculiar stage of selection of officer shots in some parts, institutions and institutions of the Defense Ministry. In particular, for the translation in special a type of military forces and in household troops the obligatory term of secondment to them the translated officers was established by the law. For example, for artillery and guard it made one year. Before transfer in the General Staff the officers who graduated from the Nikolaev military academy were obliged to prokomandovat a certain term a company and also not less than four months - battalion. For this purpose according to the order they otkoman-

dirovyvatsya in bodies. Questions of the translations of the officers elected chiefs of military schools to educational and educational work were solved finally after two years' secondment. During this period they were registered taking up positions.

Secondment of officers practiced in the second case for performance of certain duties without appointment to the post. For example, in

the beginning of 1914 at cavalry and Cossack regiments were created horse


machine-gun teams. For execution of duties of junior officers in them it was planned annually from division regiments serially to affiliate two officers. And the constant officers of shooting school were in a termless business trip and were registered in the parts over the state.

The right of permission to sending out on business of officers was granted to chiefs of divisions, commanders of cases and top military commanders of districts. Business trips were subject to the approval over six months by the Minister of War. All issues of secondment for the translation were resolved through General staff.

Before changing official position of the officer or general, it was necessary to find out its suitability for service in new quality. For this purpose in army there was an annual certification of officers. Certifications were subject all line officers of active service. The same from them who was at command positions were also certifying for the officers subordinated to them.

The order of carrying out certification was accepted in 1912 19 At first the complex of actions for determination of office, intellectual, moral and physical qualities of each officer was held. Discussion and the adoption of certifications, starting with company commanders, took place jointly at decisive opinion of the senior chief. Then on the basis of the drawn conclusions decisions on further office use of each officer were made. By results of such form of selection the worthy increases in ranks and positions joined in the corresponding candidate lists on increase. To the contrary, officers who received negative estimates following the results of certification were excluded from these lists.

For bias of certifications for the law the responsibility relied. However in memoirs literature have confirmation the facts that commanders sometimes went for violations, positively certifying unworthy such assessment ofi-

a tser "in hope to get rid quickly of him by means of new, the highest on -


values without troubles and complaints from offended".

Assessment of office activity of the highest command structure was made by the Highest certifying commission. In the activity it is the management -


it vatsya by the relevant provision adopted in 1913. Its chairman was the Minister of War. Work of this body had advisory nature as the final decision was always made by the emperor. For example, P. Rezhepo and A. Denikin noted that "dismissal on certifications of the highest ranks at us in army the phenomenon very rare" 22 while "all army knew nesostoya-


the telnost of many of these chiefs was also surprised to their appointment...".

In general, contents and conclusions of certifications had applied value for definition of candidates for officers, worthy, according to command, promotion, i.e. receiving the next rank or appointment to a higher position.

It should be noted that the order of passing of officer service provided strict observance of the principle of the sequence of the chinoproizvodstvo established still by Peter I. It meant that "in peace, even in wartime" nobody could "be made through a rank or, besides ranks lower, directly in the highest" 24. Such order respectively extended also to the sequence of passing of positions.

the Graduates of military schools who received the lieutenant's rank (a cornet, horunzhy), had to begin service only with appointment to front positions and it is obligatory to serve the term by one and a half times exceeding time of their vocational education in troops.

By production in the following ranks and also when assigning to positions from the commander of a company above, the crucial role was played by sequence, i.e. the place of the officer in the list of applicants. Receiving the first officer rank was a sequence reference point for each officer. Lists of seniority of officer shots were kept in everyone chasti25.

The interdependence of a position and rank was caused by a concrete hierarchical step which was occupied by the officer or the general. For each category of officer shots the rules of production and appointment were established by the law. So, for example, for subaltern officers to the shtabs-captain inclusive the military rank had the taking priority value. Owners of these ranks could

it to be allowed, generally to performance of duties of junior and official officers to a regiment.

For production in captains and the first headquarters - the officer rank was required appointment to corresponding dolzhnost26. For vacancies of commanders of companies, battalions and others, equal to them by the rights, were appointed seniors on a rank. But if on certification conclusions they did not correspond to these positions, then candidacies of the officers following on seniority were considered.

Since a position of the commander of a separate part and to the top military commander of the military district of appointment were made according to candidate lists which were formed in General staff, and to positions which intended to replacement with general-staff officers - in the Head Department of the General Staff (HDGS).

For transfer in candidates for certain positions the higher administration did the corresponding representations. For example, on commanders of regiments and crews - chiefs of divisions and other higher commanders as subordination, on chiefs of divisions - commanders of cases, etc. Selection of candidates for the highest front positions as it was stated above, the Highest certifying commission was engaged. For each position the law defined the selection criteria.

Usually representations with petitions for transfer in candidates for official increase became after annual camp collecting. After their approval by the Minister of War and emperor, candidate lists of applicants for concrete positions were formed. The sequence depended on seniority of officers in their last ranks. But there were also exceptions. So, candidates for commanders of battalions of engineering troops were entered in lists on seniority in ranks of lieutenant colonels; in commanders of crews and to general-mayorsky positions of the General Staff - in ranks of colonels. However selection of candidates for the highest command positions starting with the chief of a division and the highest staff positions was carried out at a personal discretion Nicholas II.

It should be noted that candidate lists were constantly corrected. Commanders of parts and higher chiefs represented in General staff of data on the sick officers and also the officers who did not justify former certification conclusions or changed a sort of service. Such candidates were excluded from the general lists.

Appointments to all positions according to candidate lists were made by the Royal orders, i.e. the orders signed personally by the emperor. At the same time there was a certain order of replacement of vacancies which was strictly defining proportionality of appointments of representatives from different candidate lists. For example, for each 5 vacancies of commanders of cavalry regiments the following quotas were established: "1 - from guard, 2 - from the General Staff and 2 - from army..." 27. After three cycles, i.e. 15 appointments, it was allowed to provide one place for replacement to the candidate of variable turn which aide-de-camps, officers of administration service, etc. entered

For each of groups of the officers divided on categories of ranks, a type of troops or services, belongings to army or guard the features of a chinoproizvodstvo, selection and placement were established. A variety of candidate lists created uneven conditions for office growth. For example, terms during which officers on average reached the colonel's rank were: for graduates of academies and persons with titles of count, the prince, the baron - 19.5 years; for serving in guard - 21 years, and in army parts - 28.5 years; for holding not front positions - 25 let28.

The order of arrangement of officers operating in the Russian army on positions, according to the author, had a number of shortcomings which affected, both the office growth of officers, and the organization of personnel work.

The aspiration to increase on an office ladder played importance in attitudes of the officers which consciously chose as the profession military work. The existing rules of appointment to positions often did not allow worthy officers to realize completely the professional potential in the conditions of army service.

The defining factor for office increase in officer shots was the seniority in a rank. Therefore to the officers who showed high abilities in practical activities, but not coming into force of the developed circumstances in number of leaders in lists of seniority, it was almost not possible to make successful career. The general M.V. Alekseev gave the following assessment to a similar order: "Everything is constructed on a formation; both the idler and the fool, and the noble knight of business - everything trudge in a column, equaling on ranks and in a nape" and as a result "all of them perish with their talents, abilities exclusive sometimes, under gne-

system volume also leave service, receiving in an award the lieutenant colonel's rank, at best - the colonel" 29.

Office growth of officers was sharply slowed down also big duration of obligatory service in positions and a high age limit of a period of service for resignation. At the same time to be fair it should be noted that the established obligatory service life of performance of duties of commanders at various levels of army structure promoted gradual accumulation by officers of experience of the leading activity.

When forming military elite a protectionism factor, considering mentality of the highest officials, obviously played an important role. What, in turn, on the first place at selection of candidates for general positions put personal devotion and ability to prove to be before the emperor, and not professional competence and high moral qualities. Absence of network of military schools for training of the persons occupying the headquarters - officer and general positions, assessment of education level of candidates for promotion on existence of the diploma received at the beginning of service led to the fact that this criterion was less appreciated with an office growth. The general M. Grulev estimated this trend as follows: "The administration not always shows taste and interest in scientific data as a military science and therefore appreciates such bents at the is subordinated a little -


Certain problems in personnel work were created by representation to officers of the right of early transfer to the reserve, transfer to other departments. In theoretically this way it was planned to exempt army from incapable ranks. In practice everything turned out opposite. Officer shots sought to be transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, boundary protection and civil institutions in which material security and an order of service favourably differed from army. These departments had an opportunity to choose to themselves the best shots which were prepared by the Ministry of Defence.

The regular attachment of officers to parts also created difficulties in personnel work. Quite large number from them served in headquarters and other institutions of the Defense Ministry, being considered affiliated while were registered in the regiments over the state. A possibility of appointments of officers to administrative positions which were subject to replacement with officials aggravated a problem of not completeness of front positions in troops.

Thus, absence in the Russian army of a uniform order of service by officers and also some of its elements had negative impact on office motivation of officers and created certain difficulties in military and personnel work. In total with severe conditions of service, weak material security of junior officer ranks, falling of prestige of military service in the first decades of last century it created the situation promoting the raised decrease of officer shots, in particular an ober-officer link of army infantry. At the beginning of the second decade of the last century some measures promoting faster advance of officers were taken. However for complete elimination of office stagnation and to reduction of number of the young officers leaving army it was required to take more radical steps, but conditions which developed after the entry of Russia in World War I did not allow to realize the being available plans.

1 Cm: Military encyclopedia: In 18 t. Pg., 1914. T. 17. Page 233.
2 Rezhepo P. Neskolko thoughts on the Officer question. SPb., 1910. Page 1.
3 See: Arch of states of military and overland department: In 4 princes of SPb-Pg., 1910-1914.
4 See: A.G. Kavtaradze. Military experts on service of the Republic Sovetov 1917-1920

M, 1988. Page 22. Percentage with the total number of officer positions is counted by the author. - Bus comment

5 See: Set of Military Resolutions of 1869: In 24 princes SPb., 1907. Prince 5. Page 7.
6 The junior officer - the name of primary officer positions in the Russian army. Officers who on the state held such positions were also called subaltern-officers.
7 See: Collection of all army regulations: In 2 TM, 1916. T. 2. Page 35.
8 See: Arch of states of military and overland department: In 4 princes SPb., 1910. Prince 2. S. 39, 43, 47, 51,
55, 59, 63, 67, 71, 193, 199, 223, 475, 551.
9 Collection of all army regulations: In 2 TM, 1916. T. 2. - Page 36.
10 Set of Military Resolutions of 1869: In 24 princes SPb., 1907. Prince 7. Page 6.
11 M. Galkin. New way of the modern officer. M, 1906. Page 23.

See: Rezhepo P. decree. soch. Page 4.

13 Military encyclopedia: In 18 t. Pg., 1914. T. 17. Page 234.
14 See: Set of Military Resolutions of 1869: In 24 princes SPb., 1907. Prince 6, 7.
15 Rezhepo P. Neskolko thoughts on the Officer question. SPb., 1910. Page 20.
16 At transfer of subaltern officers to front parts, under the law, the opinion of a meeting the headquarters officers and company commanders of these parts was surely considered. Vote on approval or a deviation of candidates of applicants for service was carried out to parts without participation of her commander. In more detail see: Military encyclopedia: In 18 t. SPb., 1911. T. 4. Page 369.
17 G.V. Golov. Service on the Defense Ministry. Pg., 1917. Page 100.
18 The order on Defense Ministry No. 132 of 21.01.1914//Orders on the Defense Ministry for 1914 of Pg., 1914. Page 207-210.
19 See: Provision on certification of the military personnel. SPb., 1913. 79 pages
20 A.A. Brusilov. My memoirs. M, 1963. Page 71.
21 See: MalinkoV. The help book for officers. M, 1917. Page 57-58.
22 Rezhepo P. Neskolko thoughts on the Officer question. Page 14.
23 A.I. Denikin. Essays of the Russian distemper. Crash of the power and army. M, 1991. Page 91.
24 Set of military resolutions of 1869: In 24 t. SPb., 1907. Prince 7. Page 57.
25 Seniority - the general period of service of the officer in each rank, both in calendar, and in preferential calculation, the place defining it in candidate lists on production in the following rank. At the beginning of service of each officer its sequence on the right of receiving the following rank in many respects depending on prestigiousness of higher education institution from which it graduated also personal final point was established. Further advantages of office growth were got by officers who had a big period of service and had no collectings. - Bus comment
26 Since March, 1914 such requirement became optional to receiving a rank of the captain of army infantry and artillery. In these types of military forces the captain's position could be received both captains, and shtabs-captains, however as the first it was preferred. Similar rules were established also for colonels and lieutenant colonels. - Bus comment
27 The order on Defense Ministry No. 27 of 11.01.1914//Orders on the Defense Ministry for 1914 of Pg., 1914. Page 90.
28 Rezhepo P. Officer question. SPb., 1909. Page 17.
29 For honesty, for the sake of love for our expensive Russia. (Letters of the general M.V. Alekseev to the son Nikolay)//the Source. 1997. No. 3. Page 16.
30 Tsit. on: M.V. Grulev. Topic of the day in life of army//Educational work in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. M, 1995. Page 235.
Christopher Blake
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