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Flag of Russia.svg
Rank insignia (1855—1917)
1904-a-p08.png 1904mor-11.png
Rank insignia RI Army | RI Navy
Introduction 1649 (Praporshchik)
Rank group Ober-ofitsery (until 1917)
Army 1855-1917 Praporshchik
Navy 1909-1917 Michman
Russian praporshchik about 1852
Vladimir Putin presenting the Order of Courage to Police Praporshchik (Ensign) Yury Zimin, during a ceremony devoted to Police Day.

Praporshchik (Russian: пра́порщик, IPA: [ˈprapərɕːɪk]) is a rank in the Russian military, also used in other uniformed services of the Russian government such as the police. It was a junior officer rank (comparable to NATO OF-1c) in Imperial Russia. However, in the 1970s Praporshchik was restored as a separate career group between non-commissioned officers and officers (comparable to OR-9).

Imperial Russia[edit]

Praporshchik was originally an Oberoffizer rank, in line to the Table of Ranks class XII/XIII in the Imperial Russian Army equivalent to Michman of the Imperial Russian Navy and classified as junior officer rank (OF-1c).

The rank was abolished in 1917 by the Bolsheviks (but still existed in 1917—1921 in the White Army) and restored in the 1970s in the former USSR for non-commissioned officers and became equivalent to the non-commissioned officer rank OR-9.

It was first introduced in Streltsy New Regiments. The name originates from Slavonic prapor (прапор), meaning flag; the praporshchik was a flag-bearer in Kievan Rus troops. In the New Regiments of the Streltsy and the "new army" of Peter the Great, praporshchik was ranked as a commissioned officer of the lowest grade; this was legalised by the Table of Ranks of 1722. By the 19th century, the rank was given to senior non-commissioned officers of the Russian army upon their retirement and also reserve or volunteer officers with no previous service. From then on commissioned officers started service as Podporuchik.

In spite of this, podpraporshchik ("sub-ensign") was one of the NCO grades, originally below sergeant and feldwebel. From 1826 to 1884 it became the highest non-commissioned rank of the infantry, cavalry and the Leib Guard. From 1884 podpraporshchik ranked below the newly introduced NCO grade zauryad praporshchik ("deputy ensign").

Sequence of ranks
junior rank:

Lesser Coat of Arms of Russian Empire.svgГерб Российского государства.png

senior rank:
See also

Soviet Army and Militia[edit]

In the Soviet Army, the reintroduction of the praporshchik rank in 1972, along with the michman rank in the Soviet Navy, marked the attempt to recreate a corps of contract non-commissioned officers similar to master sergeants and chief petty officers, the role that was previously reserved for senior drafted personnel. Contrary to Western practice of assigning the senior sergeant ranks to veteran soldiers, the Soviet ranks of starshina and sergeant were routinely assigned to 20-year-old soldiers at the end of their 2-year draft. The praporshchiks were aged volunteers and were expected to have more authority over draftsmen than similarly aged sergeants; they are placed in a separate category of "master non-commissioned officers" (praporshchik and michman).

See further commentary on the rank at Carey Schofield, Inside the Soviet Army, Headline Book Publishing, 1991, where long-service praporshchiks' scrounging and repair skills were celebrated.

Shoulder boards USSR and Russian Federation (1971−1994)
Mechanized infantry,
shoulder board army (general)
land forces (general)
Technical troops, engineers,
armour, artillery,
missile troops (including: MT grund forces
SMT, Air defence MT)
Vehicle transport troops, construction troops
Air Force
Naval aviation
Airborne forces
MES Russia
Militia (until 2011)
Police (from 2011)
Everyday uniform Everyday uniform
from 1971
State Emblem of the Soviet Union.svg
from 1991
Coat of arms of the Russian Federation (1992-1993).svg
Rank insignia of прапорщик of the Soviet Army.svg Rank insignia of старший прапорщик of the Soviet Army.svg Rank insignia of мичман of the Soviet Navy.svg Rank insignia of старший мичман of the Soviet Navy.svg Rank insignia of прапорщик of the Soviet Air Force.svg Rank insignia of старший прапорщик of the Soviet Air Force.svg Russian police warrant officer.png Russian police senior warrant officer.png
Starshy praporshchik
Starshy praporshchik
Starshy praporshchik
Praporshchik Starshy praporshchik
Sleeve insignia
Badge to indicate the seniority
Praporshchik (from 1971)/ Starshy praporshchik (from 1981)
(on left-hand sleeve to the full dress uniform, everyday tunic and overcoat)
нз 1969 нз 1969 Нзсс12.png нз 1969 нз 1969 нз 1969
10 and more years 5th to 9th year 4th year
(equivalent with 5-9 year,
however wihout star)
3rd year 2nd year 1st year

Carey Schofield's Inside the Soviet Army c. 1990 provides a good description of the place of the praporshchik within the Soviet military system.

Praporshchik rank of the Russian Federation[edit]

"Starshy praporshchik" of the Russian Federation's Armed Forces in service uniform (female)

The praporshchik rank continues to be used in the armies of ex-Soviet states.

By assumption, since December 2010, in January–March for military service is no longer accepted in person or rank of lieutenant senior warrant officer, and those who have not yet their contract expired or age limit reached, continue to serve, preserving rank and insignia. Abolition did not affect Interior Ministry troops, border guards, FSB, FSO, troops MES and other military formations, different from the Russian Defense Ministry, in addition, there is a special civil departments rank Ensign.

February 27, 2013 on the expanded board of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Russian Defense Minister S. Shoigu was announced the return of the Institute of warrant officers in the Armed Forces of Russia.[1]

Ministry of Defense on July 1, introduced a new staffing for the first time in five years there were special positions for warrant officers. According to the head of the Main Personnel (GAM) Ministry of Defence Colonel-General Viktor Goremykin for warrant officers allocated about 100 positions, of which only military – "no warehouses, no bases" were the main requirement Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. This position generally divided into commander (platoon commander Service, commander of combat group fighting vehicle, battle stations) and technical (tech company, the chief of a radio, an electrician, a paramedic, the head of the repair shop, head of the technical unit, etc.). On December 1, 2008, these positions were considered sergeant. The State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense Nikolai Pankov said that the positions warrant require special education, but "not up" to the officers.[2]

Shoulder boards Russian Federation (1994–present)
1994–2010 Ground Forces (Army) Air Force Airborne Troops Field uniform
Banner of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (obverse).svg Russia-Army-OR-9b-1994-field.svg Russia-Army-OR-9a-1994-field.svg RAF AF W2SenPrap 2010.png RAF AF W1Prap 2010.png RAF ABTr W2SenPrap 2010.png RAF ABTr W1Prap 2010.png RAF A W2SenPrap 2010field.svg RAF A W1Prap 2010field.svg
Praporshchik Starshy
Praporshchik Starshy
Praporshchik Starshy
from 2010 Ground forces (Army) Air Force Airborne troops Field uniform
Russia-Army-OR-9b-2010.svg Russia-Army-OR-9a-2010.svg Russia-Airforce-OR-9b-2010.svg Russia-Airforce-OR-9a-2010.svg None.svg None.svg 8stprp.png 7prp.png
Praporshchik Starshy
Praporshchik Starshy
Praporshchik Starshy

Rank designation in other countries[edit]

In the countries below spelling and position in the rank order are equivalent or almost similar.

Countries with different rank designation

Some member countries of the former Warsaw Pact followed the equivalent concept, used however different rank designations.


In the former People's Republic of Bulgaria this rank group never existed.

See also[edit]