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:
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.
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 threshold to the fifth grade in 1845. 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) Councilor (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|
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)
|Обер-камергер (Grand Chamberlain)
Обер-гофмаршал (Grand Marshal of the Court)
|III||Тайный советник (Privy Councilor)||Генерал-лейтенант (Lieutenant General) (before 1741, after 1796)
Вице-адмирал (Vice Admiral)
|Гофмаршал (Marshal of the Court)
Шталмейстер (Master of the Stables)
|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)
|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)
|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)
|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)
|VIII||Коллежский асессор (Collegiate Assessor)||Премьер-майор и секунд-майор (Premier Major and 2nd Major) (1731—1798)
Майор (Major) (1798—1884)
|Гоф-фурьер (Court Fourrier/Steward )|
|IX||Титулярный советник (Titular Councilor)||Капитан (Captain) in Infantry (1722—1884)
Штабс-капитан (Staff Captain) in Infantry (since 1884)
|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)
|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)
|XIII||Кабинетский регистратор (Office Registrar)
||Подпоручик (Second Lieutenant) in Infantry (since 1884)
Прапорщик (Warrant Officer) in Infantry (since 1884, only at wartime)
|XIV||Коллежский регистратор (Collegiate Registrar)||Фе́ндрик (Warrant Officer) in Infantry (1722—1730)
Прапорщик (Warrant Officer) in Infantry (1730—1884)
- Waliszewski, Kazimierz. "The Social Reform — The Table of Ranks". Peter the Great: his life and work. Forgotten books. pp. 454–456.
- (Russian) Table of Ranks (in Russian)
- Peter I's Table of Ranks
- Table of Ranks through Russian history
- Richard Pipes, Russia under the old regime page 135
- Geoffrey Hosking, Russia: People and Empire, page 155