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(polkovnik), a military officer’s rank in the armed forces of the USSR and certain other states.
The rank was instituted in the USSR on Sept. 22, 1935. The corresponding rank in the USSR Navy is captain first rank. In Russia the rank of colonel was first instituted in the mid-16th century in the strel’tsy (semiprofessional musketeers) troops and in the 17th century in what were called the regiments of the new order. The commanders of regiments in the Ukrainian cossack hosts and in the Zaprozh’e Sech were also called colonels. The corresponding rank in the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic is Oberst; in France, Great Britain, and the USA it is colonel.