Funny shelves of Peter the Great: the foundation of the Russian army

An important role in the formation of the Russian Imperial Army was played by the so-called amusing shelves of Peter the Great. What this was for the event is difficult to understand outside the context of the general historical situation in our country. In addition, it is necessary to take into account the personal factor, namely, the nature of the ruler who cared about creating the troops on the European model.

Characteristics of the era

The amusing shelves of Peter the Great, which should be briefly discussed only in the context of analysis of the foreign policy and internal political situation in our country, were the first important step in the reforming activity of the new tsar. It should be borne in mind that at the end of the 17th century, Russia was already the largest power in Europe, and therefore its rulers naturally cared to reach the world level of development in all spheres of society. This trend was already outlined at the first Romanovs, it continued during the reign of Princess Sophia, in 1682-1689. But it was only with her brother that this reform course was particularly clear. Indicative is the fact that it began its activities precisely with the transformation of the military sphere. The fact is that the question was at stake on the conquest of our country by the way to the Baltic Sea.

The beginning of formation

In rather difficult conditions the childhood of Peter 1 passed. Funny regiments played a big role in shaping his personality and determining the direction of his activity. Being still quite a child, he became interested in war games with neighbor boys. Together with them, he organized improvised military battles and battles, which gradually developed into complex and serious maneuvering exercises. When the number of soldiers became sufficient to make independent military formations, the future emperor thought about creating separate units.

The emergence of units

The amusing shelves of Peter the Great, whose founding dates back to 1691, appeared in a very difficult period in the history of Russia, but played a decisive role in the future military campaigns of the emperor. The king fully trusted them precisely because they were his own child. He himself took an active part in their formation, selected fighters, took care that they had talented leaders. He himself went into all the details and planned the exercises. The names of the amusing regiments of Peter the Great are connected with two villages, where a set of soldiers (the Preobrazhenskoye and Semenovskoye) took place. This is exactly what he called his military units, which in a very short time was to become the foundation of the Russian army, which won so many brilliant victories in the western and eastern directions.

Foreign influence

Two amusing regiments of Peter the Great were formed in many ways with the participation of foreigners. One of the closest associates of the new king was the Swiss F. Lefort, who took an active part in all the enterprises of the tsar, supported him in everything and was his right hand for the rest of his life. It is known that it was he who instilled a very young Peter with love for the navy and army joys. Lefort took an active part in the formation of the regiments. The significance of his influence lies in the fact that he brought his European experience to the organization of the troops of the future emperor.

Gordon's participation

Funny shelves of Peter the Great became the basis of the Russian army. The ruler himself understood the necessity of borrowing foreign experience, so he actively used the advice and knowledge of his foreign friends. Next to the formation of the regiments was the German settlement, which he frequented. Here he started a lot of acquaintances, and many of his residents subsequently became his employees. P. Gordon played a great role in the transformative activity of the future emperor. He had extensive knowledge in the military sphere, he studied a lot, he was an excellent theoretician. At the time of confrontation between Peter and Sophia (in 1689), he moved to the side of the first. Gordon played an important role in the organization of the regiments. He was a very talented leader, he kept the troops in an exemplary order, possessed extraordinary military capabilities. His experience played an important role in creating the internal structure of these units.

Activity of Menshikov

The amusing shelves of Peter the Great were created not only under the influence of foreign experience, but also by the closest friends of Peter Alekseevich. The main merit in this, of course, belongs to A. Menshikov, who was originally the king's right hand and, like Lefort, participated in all his enterprises. He also played an important role in the formation of the regiments. It is known that he was engaged in the recruitment of fighters, and he personally took part in all the improvised undertakings of the tsar. He was not educated like Gordon, but he was very quick-witted, savvy and intelligent, besides, he possessed extraordinary organizational skills, which very soon put him among the most prominent military and political figures of the Petrine era. He himself passed this military service in regiments, therefore, no significant event of the future emperor took place without his participation.

First hostilities

Funny shelves of Peter 1 became the backbone of the Russian army. They participated in the famous Azov campaigns of the ruler in 1695. This was an important stage in their acquisition of combat experience, which allowed them to become the basis for new troops. Many have distinguished themselves in these battles, which, incidentally, is not surprising, considering that the tsar was especially concerned about their organization and training. Since then the amusing shelves of Peter the Great began to be on a special status in the Russian army. Their significance was determined by the fact that they became the basis that determined the further military reforms of the emperor's successors. One can say that the ruler literally created these troops himself and prepared them according to the European pattern.


The amusing shelves of Peter the Great played a decisive role in the formation of the new Russian army. They served as a model for organizing the troops of the new, imperial Russia. In this sense, they acquired not only military-technical, but also deeply symbolic significance as military units, which were destined to become the support of the imperial power in our country. These two regiments enjoyed a special honor as the backbone of the Russian imperial army.

Participation of the king

The phenomenon of amusing regiments in historical science is still connected with the very revealing and curious fact that Petr Alekseevich himself took part in military service from the lowest rank to the rank of captain. Thus, he himself, as they say, held out a soldier's strap along with his children's comrades. Of course, this played a big role in the circumstance that both amusing regiments were unlimitedly loyal to him and became the backbone of his growing power.

Place in the context of reforms

In the framework of Peter Alekseevich's transformative activity, the creation of amusing regiments, as mentioned above, was one of the first steps in the years of his independent rule. This is a very revealing fact, as it determined the further course of the tsar's reforms. All the transformations of the emperor, in fact, were subordinated to military needs: after all, almost all of his reign took place in the war with Sweden (1700-1721). Therefore, the creation of amusing regiments was also a very revealing fact that immediately, at the end of the 17th century, marked a trend towards reforms. The fact that Peter Alekseevich began his reign with the creation of amusing regiments, the army of a new model, as it were, predetermined the fact that the military sphere will be the main course of its reforms.

The image in the literature

The creation of amusing regiments attracted the attention not only of historians, but also of writers. For example, the famous Soviet author AN Tolstoy in his novel "Peter I" paid much attention to the children's and young people's years of the future emperor, in which he was engaged in the arrangement of a new army.

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