(1) A system of frontier security, used primarily along Russia’s southern frontiers until the 18th century. Storozhevaia sluzhba originated in the tenth century. Its purposes were to reconnoiter and to warn of raids by the Peche-negs, the Polovtsy, and, later, the Tatars. From the 15th to 17th centuries, it was borne by sluzhilye liudi (state servitors) of various categories and by cossacks. In 1571 it was given a formal organization on the basis of rules developed by the voevoda (military governor), M. I. Vorotynskii.
Storozhevaia sluzhba was carried out by storozhi (lookouts) from observation posts and by stanitsy (small mounted detachments) sent out from frontier forts, such as Putivl’ and Ryl’sk, into the steppe for the period from April 1 until the onset of winter. These lookouts and detachments maintained communications with each other and with their fortresses, scouting and signaling the enemy’s approach. In the 17th century, regiments of the “new order” were enlisted for storozhevaia sluzhba. In the 18th century, storozhevaia sluzhba was replaced by troops who manned the fortified frontier lines.
(2) In the Russian Army in the 18th and 19th centuries, measures undertaken to safeguard troops from sudden enemy attack while on the march or at rest. Storozhevaia sluzhba involved reconnaissance, march security, and outposts.