The Russian army

The Bibliothèque Nationale, however, preserves photo albums not only on the army of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, but also on those of other contemporary great powers. For example, of the Russian Empire. But while the previous album presented the soldiers of the Monarchy in only nineteen pictures, The Russian Army, compiled in 1892, contains a hundred large photos (it is worth clicking!). A telling difference. We are ten years after the German-Austrian-Italian Triple Alliance which isolated Russia, and four years after the first French loan to Russia, thanks to which the Russian Empire could begin the large-scale modernization of its army. In 1891, seventy-nine years after Napoleon’s defeat in Russia, for the first time the French fleet sails into the naval station of Kronstadt where, in the presence of Tsar Alexander III, for the first time they play in Russia the Marseillaise, which previously was considered a criminal offense. At the time of the compilation of this album they sign, to counterbalance the Triple Alliance, the first version of the Franco-Russian Alliance, which becomes final two years later, in 1894. Two more years later, on 5 October 1896 the first foreign trip of the newly crowned Russian imperial couple – as we have already shown it – leads to Paris. And from here the road is straight to the point when, twenty years later, in 1916 the people of France would meet on French soil the Russian army, hitherto only known from photos like those of this album. But this will be already the subject of another post.

In the second picture of the last row we find a cuckoo’s egg. In 1892 you would have searched in vain in the Russian army for the figure which strikingly looks like an operetta soldier. According to its caption, this is the uniform of the Preobrazhensky Regiment – at the time of its foundation, that is, in 1683. The regiment, founded by Peter the Great in the village of Preobrazhenskoye near Moscow as a personal guard, distinguished itself in a number of campaigns, and was considered the most elite formation of the Russian army. Only young aristocrats could be members of it – including the composer Mussorgsky. The regiment was disbanded after the October revolution. Its members first fought in Denikin’s army on the South Russian front, and then joined the émigré Russian army, founded in 1924 by Wrangel in Serbia and existing until the 1990s. But this is again another new story waiting to be told soon here along Río Wang.

7 comentarios:

Studiolum dijo... quotes it with the following commentary:

A great collection of photos of the Russian army from 1892, which was perhaps the most gilded age for hats and head-ware.

while the eyes of have been caught by the percussion cap shotguns of the Caucasian hunting battalion

Araz dijo...

Ah, thank you for sharing these, Studiolum. It would be great to learn more about each of the photos - about the Caucasians and especially the Tatar Cossack seemingly of Azerbaijan.

Studiolum dijo...

Hehe, Araz, I included the Tatar Cossack as a full image especially as an eye candy for you, being convinced of his being an Azerbaijani (as I have already exposed it in the Hungarian comments of this post), and hoping that it would invite you for a comment!

As to the Caucasian hunting battalion, however, I have no clue who they are and what they want :)

Studiolum dijo...

What an alluring introduction!

“You can fight, soldier man, but can you fight in a foot tall fur hat and a snappy outfit strung with tassels? Or a winged golden helmet and some casually draped suspenders? This 1892 photo album from Bibliothèque Nationale rustled up by the Rio Wang blog is fascinating. Who knew that future Czar Nicolas II was such a fox? With the Revolution still deep in the future, the Russian Empire army was undergoing a large-scale modernization, giving plenty excuses to pose in neat rows with their horses and fancy cannons. And, of course, those uniforms! See a few of our favorites in our gallery.”

Araz dijo...

Oh, thank you, Studiolum! The Caucasian hunters (Jäger) may not be all Caucasians, but it seems that this is 15th Tiflis Grenadier Regiment - one of the former Jäger Regiments.

Rebecca Meyer dijo...

I stumbled across your blog entirely by accident, but it is amazing! I was wondering if any of the photos included names of the gentleman? The reason I ask, my great great grandfather, John (Johan) Schumacher was a member of the Russian Imperial Guard for Nicholas (his daughter told stories of playing with the royal children while they lived in Russia - prr1908). It would be greatly appreciated.

Studiolum dijo...

Wow, that’s a great story. Unfortunately these photos bear no names, but if you write me at, I can try to find traces of your forefathers on the Russian net.