Regiments of the New Order

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Regiments of the New Order


(polki novogo stroia), more correctly, regiments of the foreign order; military units formed in 17th-century Russia on the model of Western European armies.

There were infantry, mounted infantry (dragoons), and cavalry (reiters) regiments. Two infantry regiments were formed in Moscow in 1631, and six more infantry regiments, one dragoon regiment, and one cavalry regiment were formed during the Russo-Polish War of 1632–34. At first they were made up of deti boiarskie (lesser gentry), sons of strel’tsy (semiprofessional musketeers), “willing freemen,” and cossacks. The senior officers were mainly foreigners. The regiments were disbanded at the end of the war.

Regiments of the new order were formed again during the Russo-Polish War of 1654–67 and became the main part of Russia’s armed forces. The infantry and dragoon regiments consisted of datochnye liudi (conscripts for life). The cavalry regiments were made up of dvoriane (nobility or gentry) and deti boiarskie with small landholdings or none at all. They were paid a salary for their service, although some also received land grants. More than half of the commanding officers were Russian dvoriane. The regiments were partly disbanded in peacetime. In 1681, there were 33 infantry regiments with 61,000 men and 25 dragoon and cavalry regiments with 29,000 men. The units constituted more than half of the Russian armed forces in the late 17th century. From then until the early 18th century, they were used to form the regular Russian Army.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.