Table of Ranks

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Table of Ranks

The Table of Ranks (Russian: Табель о рангах; Tabel' o rangakh) was a formal list of positions and ranks in the military, government, and court of Imperial Russia. The Emperor Peter the Great introduced the system in 1722 while engaged in a struggle with the existing hereditary nobility, or boyars. The newly-established Bolshevik government formally abolished the Table of Ranks on November 11, 1917.

The Table of Ranks recognized three fundamental types of service:

  1. military
  2. civil
  3. imperial court

and divided each into 14 ranks (grades). It determined the position and status of everybody according to service (sluzhba) rather than according to birth or seniority, as the mestnichestvo system had until 1682. Thus theoretically every Russian nobleman, regardless of birthright, started at the bottom and rose to the highest rank that his native ability, education and service devotion to the state's interests would allow. Everybody had to qualify for the corresponding grade to be promoted; however grades 1 through 5 required the personal approval of the Emperor.

Despite the initial resistance from noblemen, many of whom were still illiterate in the 18th century and who shunned the paper-pushing life of the civil servant, the eventual effect of the Table of Ranks was to create an educated class of noble bureaucrats.

In 1767 Catherine the Great bought the support of the bureaucracy by making promotion up the 14 ranks automatic after seven years regardless of position or merit. Thus the bureaucracy became populated with time servers.[1]

Achieving a certain level in the Table resulted in acquiring that or another grade of nobility. A civil servant promoted to the fourteenth grade gained personal nobility (dvoryanstvo), and holding an office in the eighth grade endowed the office holder with hereditary nobility. Nicholas I raised this threshhold to the fifth grade in 1845.[2] In 1856 the grades required for hereditary nobility were raised to the fourth grade for the civil service and to the sixth grade for military service. The father of Vladimir Lenin progressed in the management of people's education up to the rank of Actual Civil (State) Councillor (действительный статский советник) (1874), which gave him the privilege of hereditary nobility.

The origins of the Table lie in Russian military ranks, which Peter the Great extensively modified by the addition of many distinct ranks and specialities. The first variant of the Table included the definition and placement of as many as 262 civil and military positions. By the end of the 18th century, these were removed in favour of universal grade rank (классный чин). Retinue titles (Russian: Свита Е. И. В.) such as General-Adjutant, Fliegel-Adjutant, etc., were not placed in the Table, as they were personal courtesy titles of the Emperor's aides-de-camp.

With occasional revisions, the Table of Ranks remained in effect until the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Grade (класс) Civil ranks (чины статские) Military ranks (чины военные) Court ranks (чины придворные) Style of address
I Канцлер (Chancellor)
Действительный тайный советник 1-го класса (Actual Privy Councilor, 1st class)
Генерал-фельдмаршал (General Field Marshal)

Генерал-адмирал (General Admiral) (Navy)

none Его/Ваше высокопревосходительство (His/Your High Excellency)
II Действительный тайный советник (Actual Privy Councilor) Генерал от инфантерии (General of Infantry) (before 1763, after 1796)

Генерал от кавалерии (General of Cavalry) (before 1763, after 1796)
Генерал-фельдцейхмейстер (General Field Cannon Master) in artillery (before 1763)
Генерал-аншеф (General-in-Chief) (1763—1796)
Генерал от артиллерии (General of Artillery) (since 1796)
Инженер-генерал (Engineer General) (since 1796)
Генерал-пленипотенциар-кригс-комиссар (General Plenipotentiary War Commissioner) (1711—1720)
Адмирал (Admiral)

Обер-камергер (Chief Chamberlain)

Обер-гофмаршал (Chief Marshal of the House)
Обер-шталмейстер (Chief Master of the Horse)
Обер-егермейстер (Chief Master of Hunting)
Обер-гофмейстер (Chief Master of the House)
Обер-шенк (Chief Cup Bearer)
Обер-церемониймейстер (Chief Master of Ceremonies) (from 1844)

III Тайный советник (Privy Councilor) Генерал-лейтенант (Lieutenant General) (before 1741, after 1796)

Вице-адмирал (Vice Admiral)
Генерал-кригскомиссар по снабжению (General War Commissioner) (logistics) (before 1868)

Гофмаршал (Marshal of the House)

Шталмейстер (Master of the Horse)
Егермейстер (Master of Hunting)
Гофмейстер (Master of the House)
Обер-церемониймейстер (Chief Master of Ceremonies) (1801–1844)
Обер-форшнейдер (Chief Portion Cutter) (from 1856)

Его/Ваше превосходительство (His/Your Excellency)
IV Действительный статский советник (Actual Civil Councilor / Actual State Councilor) Генерал-майор (Major General)

Подполковник гвардии (Lieutenant-colonel of the Guard) (1748—1798)
Генерал от фортификации (General of Fortification) (1741—1796)
Контр-адмирал (Rear Admiral) (Navy) (since 1740)

Камергер (Chamberlain) (1737–1809)
V Статский советник (Civil Councilor / State Councilor) Бригадир (Brigadier) (1722—1796)

Капитан-командор (Captain-commodore)(1707—1732, 1751—1764, 1798—1827)
Премьер-майор гвардии (Premier Major of the Guard) (1748—1798)

Церемониймейстер (Master of Ceremonies) Его/Ваше высокородие (His/Your High Ancestry)
VI Коллежский советник (Collegiate Councilor) Полковник (Colonel)

Капитан 1-го ранга (Captain 1st Rank) (Navy)
Cекунд-майор гвардии (Second Major of the Guard) (1748—1798)
Обер-кригскомиссар (Upper War Commissioner) (logistics) (before 1868)

Камер-фурьер (Chamber Fourrier/Steward ) (until 1884)

Камергер (Chamberlain) (until 1737)

Его/Ваше высокоблагородие (His/Your High Nobleness)
VII Надворный советник (Court Councilor) (from 1745) Подполковник (Lieutenant Colonel)

Войсковой старшина (Military Chief) (Cossacks) (since 1884)
Капитан 2-го ранга (Captain 2nd Rank) (Navy)
Капитан гвардии (Captain of the Guard)
Кригскомиссар (War Commissioner) (logistics) (before 1868)

none
VIII Коллежский асессор (Collegiate Assessor) Премьер-майор и секунд-майор (Premier Major and 2nd Major) (1731—1798)

Майор (Major) (1798—1884)
Капитан (Captain) in Infantry (since 1884)
Ротмистр (Captain) in Cavalry (since 1884)
Войсковой старшина (Military Chief) (Cossacks) (1796—1884)
Есаул (Cossack captain) (since 1884)
Капитан 3-го ранга (Captain 3rd Rank) (Navy) (1722—1764)
Капитан-лейтенант (Lieutenant Captain) (Navy) (1907—1911)
Старший лейтенант (Senior Lieutenant) (Navy) (1912—1917)
Штабс-капитан гвардии (Staff Captain of the Guard) (since 1798)

Гоф-фурьер (House Fourrier/Steward )
IX Титулярный советник (Titular Councilor) Капитан (Captain) in Infantry (1722—1884)

Штабс-капитан (Staff Captain) in Infantry (since 1884)
Поручик гвардии (Lieutenant of the Guard) (since 1730)
Ротмистр (Captain) in Cavalry (1798—1884)
Штабс-ротмистр (Staff Captain) in Cavalry (since 1884)
Есаул (Cossack captain) (1798—1884)
Подъесаул (Cossack sub-captain) (since 1884)
Капитан-поручик (Lieutenant Captain) (Navy) (1764—1798)
Капитан-лейтенант (Lieutenant Captain) (Navy) (1798—1885)
Лейтенант (Lieutenant) (Navy) (1885—1906, since 1912)
Старший лейтенант (Senior Lieutenant) (Navy) (1907—1911)

none Его/Ваше благородие (His/Your Nobleness)
X Коллежский секретарь (Collegiate Secretary) Капитан-поручик (Captain-lieutenant) in Infantry (1730—1797)

Штабс-капитан (Staff Captain) in Infantry (1797—1884)
Секунд-ротмистр (Second Captain) in Cavalry (before 1797)
Штабс-ротмистр (Staff Captain) in Cavalry (1797—1884)
Цейхвартер (Arsenal Warden) in Artillery (before 1884)
Поручик (Lieutenant) (since 1884)
Подпоручик гвардии (Second Lieutenant of the Guard) (since 1730)
Подъесаул (Cossack sub-captain) (before 1884)
Сотник (Cossack Lieutenant) (since 1884)
Лейтенант (Lieutenant) (Navy) (1722—1885)
Мичман (Ensign) (Navy) (since 1884)

none
XI Корабельный секретарь (Ship Secretary) Корабельный секретарь (Ship Secretary) (Navy) Камер-юнкер (Chamber Junker)
XII Губернский секретарь (Gubernial Secretary) Поручик (Lieutenant) (1730—1884)

Подпоручик (Second Lieutenant) in Infantry (since 1884)
Корнет (Cornet) in Cavalry (since 1884)
Прапорщик гвардии (Warrant Officer of the Guard ) (1730—1884)
Сотник (Cossack Lieutenant) (before 1884)
Хорунжий (Cossack Cornet) (since 1884)
Унтер-лейтенант (Under Lieutenant) (Navy) (1722—1732)
Мичман (Ensign) (Navy) (1796—1884)

none
XIII Кабинетский регистратор (Office Registrar)

Провинциальный секретарь (Provincial Secretary)
Сенатский регистратор (Senate Registrar) (from 1764)
Синодский регистратор (Synod Registrar) (from 1764)

Подпоручик (Second Lieutenant) in Infantry (since 1884)

Прапорщик (Warrant Officer) in Infantry (since 1884, only at wartime)
Секунд-поручик (Second Lieutenant) in Artillery (1722—1796)
Гардемарин (Midshipman) (Navy) (1860—1882)

none
XIV Коллежский регистратор (Collegiate Registrar) Фе́ндрик (Warrant Officer) in Infantry (1722—1730)

Прапорщик (Warrant Officer) in Infantry (1730—1884)
Корнет (Cornet) in Cavalry (1731-1884)
Штык-юнкер (Bayonet Junker) in Artillery (1722—1796)
Хорунжий (Cossack Cornet) (before 1884)
Мичман (Ensign) (Navy) (1732—1796)

none

Collegiate refers to the system of governmental departments (коллегия, Colleges) created by Peter the Great.

For military and Guards ranks, see Russian military ranks and Russian Imperial Guard.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Richard Pipes, Russia under the old regime page 135
  2. ^ Geoffrey Hosking, Russia: People and Empire, page 155