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Topic: Semyonovski Guards  (Read 3975 times)
« on: November 08, 2009, 01:22:34 PM »
mclisa Offline
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Could someone please give me the spelling of the name in Russian (i.e. cyrillic), and the approximate pronunciation phonetically in English, with the stress indicated?  I studied Russian, but it's been more than twenty years ago.  Because I don't know where the stress is, I can't figure out the pronumciation on my own. 

My second question concerns the regimental uniform.  I've just read a reference to Alexander I in a "green and red" Semyonovski uniform.  The accompanying portrait, where the uniform he's wearing may be a different regiment), doesn't seem to fit this descrption.  Could someone please describe the Semyonovski uniform for me?  I"m especially interested in the early 1890s.

Finally, can anyone point me toward a good source on this regiment in English?

Thank you!

mclisa 
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McLisa
Reply #1
« on: November 09, 2009, 12:31:11 AM »
Mike Online
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The regiment's Russian name is Семёновский лейб-гвардии полк. As always in such words, the stress is on the letter ё, i.e. SemYOnovskii.
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Reply #2
« on: November 09, 2009, 12:41:25 PM »
Daniel Briere Offline
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In the early 1890s the regiment wore the « Russian style » uniform introduced by Alexander III in 1881 (1882 for the Guards) who wanted to simplify the Army uniforms and give them a more Russian look than the previous Prussian inspired ones. They were based on the traditional Russian peasant « kaftan » coat and baggy trousers. He also introduced a new style of headdress ; a small round pill box cap in fur (astrakhan wool for officers), with a top in cloth. Officers from the senior Guard regiments kept the traditional embroideries on collars & cuffs (which they first received in 1797). Since Peter 1st, the Semyonovsky Regiment’s distinctive colour was mid-blue (at first for their coats, later only for collars, cuff patches, lapels & plastrons). I have seen a uniform worn by then Tsarevich Alexander Pavlovich in 1797-98 and the « Tsar’s green »  jacket had red cuffs but a blue collar & cuff patches (with the embroideries on which the later pattern was based).

As for their early 1890s uniform, here is a junior officer 1882-1907 pattern full-dress tunic (click on the small pics in the upper window to see 5 larger size images, including details of collar & cuff catches embroideries specific to the Regiment) :

http://ww2.ru/store/element.php?SECTION_ID=2856&ELEMENT_ID=29443

Missing is the officer’s sash and the special gorget granted to the Petrovsky Brigade (Preobrazhensky & Semyonovsky Regiments) in 1884.  It can be seen on the photo of General Min who commanded the Regiment in 1906 :
http://img1.liveinternet.ru/images/attach/c/0//48/11/48011146_Georgiy_Min1.jpg

Here’s a video that shows a number of photos with uniforms from various eras (mostly Alexander III, Nicholas II & War-Time). The soundtrack is interesting as the 1st part is an early 20th century recording of a Semyonovsky regimental parade :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXxGCMzFJn0

The regimental march can heard here :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbG0YVD3WYM&feature=related

Unfortunately, I know of no other source about the Regiment in English than a chapter in Gerard Gorokhoff’s bilingual (English-Russian) album about the « Russian Imperial Guard » (during the reign of Nicholas II), Moscow, 1st ed. 2002, revised ed. 2006.
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Daniel Briere
Reply #3
« on: November 09, 2009, 01:25:38 PM »
mclisa Offline
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Thank you!  If I'd been able to locate a reference that gave me the Cyrillic, then yes, I'd have recalled that the umlaut-e is always stressed. I appreciate this very much.  I'll try to get hold of a copy of the album, assuming any U.S. library is willing to lend it via inter-library loan.

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McLisa
Reply #4
« on: November 09, 2009, 01:33:44 PM »
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Alexei Volkov, Valet to Alexandra Feodorovna served in the Semenovski Guards Regiment.  You can read his experiences in the Regiment in our online book of his "Souvenirs"
http://alexanderpalace.org/volkov/1.html
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Reply #5
« on: November 09, 2009, 10:13:01 PM »
Daniel Briere Offline
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FA: I'm afraid you made the same mistake as Emperor Alexander III did with Volkov! He wasn't selected to serve in the Semyonovsky Guards but rather in the Pavlovsky Guards even though he didn't have its physical type. As it had been customary since the mid 1830s, each Guard regiment had a specific physical type for its enlisted men. Every autumn the new recruits were personally selected by the Grand Duke in command of the Guards (although Alexander II often did it himself). The Semyonovsky Regiment type was described as tall blond (or auburn) men with long "clean" faces (i.e. no beards) and blue eyes "to match the collar colour". The Regiment was supposed to serve as a "living monument to its long-time colonel-in-chief Emperor Alexander I" who had been especially fond of it.

As Volkov recalled: "It was Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich, the future Emperor Alexander III, who had given me the first classification. Much later, during my service in the Mobile Batallion of the Guard, then Emperor Alexander III, having noticed me one day, asked me why I had begun in the Pavlovsky Regiment, and not in the Semenovsky Regiment - since my appearance was much more like that of the typical Semenovsky solider and unlike the typical Pavlovsky - and he also asked my who had made that classification. To his questions, I replied: "It was Your Majesty Himself, who made that classification," and the Emperor said to me: "Well then, it was I who is mistaken."

So based on this imperial precedent I guess your mistake has to be excused too! :-)
« Last Edit: November 09, 2009, 10:20:45 PM by Daniel Briere » Logged

Daniel Briere
Reply #6
« on: December 27, 2011, 07:06:30 PM »
thedarkone Offline
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Just reviving this thread a bit - does any one know how the Semyonovsky Regiment were involved in the February Revolution if at all? Did they revolt or hold firm? I know a reserve battalion was left behind to protect St. Petersburg during the war.
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Reply #7
« on: February 01, 2012, 06:06:57 PM »
JamesAPrattIII Offline
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i believe the reserve battalion of this regiment joined the revolutionaries. it must be pointed out that that many of these men were recent conscripts. There were also 160,000 soldiers in barraks designed for 20,000! in the Petrograd area at this time. Also they often had one or two junior officers in charge of several hundred men. Add to this a unusally cold winter, no Vodka, cuts in rations, all sorts of revolutuionary propaganda, and the fact this area seems to be a dumping ground for malcontents ect. no wonder they joined the revolutionaries! It needs to be pointed out that both the Russian army and navy  were always sort of junior officers even before the war. it appears leaving several hundred soldiers or sailors in charge of one newly commisioned junior officer at a depot was commen with sometimes disatrous breakdowns in disipline.
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