Preobrazhensky Regiment

For the current Russian Army unit see: 154th Preobrazhensky Independent Commandant's Regiment

Lifeguard Preobrazhensky Regiment Regiment
— III —

Preobrazhensky regiment fighting the battle for Paris 30 March 1814, with the Montmartre in the background.
Active 1683-1917
Country Russian Empire
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Size Regiment
Garrison/HQ St. Petersburg
Banner of the regiment
Badge of the regiment

The Lifeguard Preobrazhensky Regiment (Russian: Лейб-гва́рдии Преображе́нский полк , translit. Leyb-gvardi Preobrazhensky polk), was one of the oldest and guard / elite regiments of the Imperial Russian Army, and in 2013 was recreated for the Russian Armed Forces. Along with the Semyonovsky Regiment, the Preobrazhensky Regiment also served as a gendarmerie unit for the state Secret Chancellery (secret police) in the 18th century, headed by the Prince Fyodor Romodanovsky.

It was formed by Peter the Great in the late 17th century from his poteshnye voiska (потешные войска, "toy forces") during his military games in the village of Preobrazhenskoye (now a district in Moscow). The Preobrazhensky regiment distinguished itself during the Great Northern War of 1700–1721, the Patriotic War of 1812, and the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. The regiment was disbanded by its last commander, Colonel Alexander Kutepov (later a general) in December 1917.

The body-guard of Catherine the Great, as well as the main supporter of her bloodless coup against her husband Peter III, this regiment was declared the highest in order of military precedence from 14 July 1762.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, membership was reserved to young Russian aristocrats and was considered a proof of loyalty to the government and the tsar. Among its membership was the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky.[1]


The Preobrazhensky Regiment soldiers proclaim Elizabeth the empress of Russia


The regimental flag was of St. George's colours with the inscription: "For displayed feats in battle of Kulm 17th of August 1813". (29 August 1813 in the Julian calendar).

This colour was given to the regiment in order to celebrate its action at Kulm, where the outnumbered Preobrazhensky regiment withstood the charge of French troops.


Preobrazhnesky Barracks in St. Petersburg

The well-known "March of the Preobrazhensky Regiment" (Марш Преображенского полка) was written in the time of Peter the Great. It was also used as an unofficial national anthem in imperial times.[2] It is used often in Russia, also in the annual Victory Day parade for the trooping of the colours (Flag of Russia and Banner of Victory).[3] It is also the slow march of the Royal Marines.[4] Several people have written lyrics for the song.[5] It is not believed to have been officially used in the Soviet Union, but it had been played by Soviet military orchestras.[5]

Notable people who served in the Preobrazhensky Regiment

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Preobrazhensky Guard Regiment.


  1. BBC Radio 3. Composer of the Week, broadcast 26 October 2009
  2. "National Anthem | Russia's State Symbols". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  3. Archived May 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "The Regimental Marches of Her Majesty's Royal Marines:A Life on the Ocean Wave Regimental Quick March". Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  5. 1 2 "Russian Anthems museum". 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
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