Semenovskii Regiment Uprising

Semenovskii Regiment Uprising


a revolt against brutality and regimentation started by soldiers of the Seme-novskii Life Guards Regiment in St. Petersburg in 1820.

The immediate cause of the revolt was the inhuman treatment of the soldiers by the commander of the regiment, Colonel F. E. Shvarts. On October 16, the men of the 1st Company lined up for roll call at their own initiative and in the name of the entire regiment addressed a complaint to their superiors against the commander of the regiment. On October 17 the company was tricked into laying down its arms, led out of its barracks, and imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress. The 1st Company’s actions were supported by the soldiers of the entire regiment, who refused to carry out orders, demanded the removal of Shvarts and the freedom of the arrested soldiers, and called on the soldiers of other regiments to elect commanders “from among your fellow soldiers.” Handwritten proclamations circulated in the guards’ barracks.

The uprising was savagely suppressed. The regiment was disbanded and remanned with entirely new personnel. The nine “ringleaders” were sentenced to hard labor, and many soldiers were sent to remote garrisons: 172 to Siberia, 276 to Orenburg, 35 to the Caucasus, and about 400 to army regiments in other areas. Some former soldiers of the Semenovskii Regiment took part in the Decembrist Uprising in 1825. The Semenovskii Regiment Uprising was the first such outbreak on a large scale in the tsarist army.


Chernov, S. N. U istokov russkogo osvoboditel’nogo dvizheniia. Saratov, 1960.
Fedorov, V. A. Soldatskoe dvizhenie v gody dekabristov (1816–1825 gg.). Moscow, 1963.