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This article is about the OR8 army rank and appointment starshina. For the equivalent OR8-rank in NATO armed forces see First sergeant / Master sergeant, or Stabsfeldwebel.

Starshina (Russian: Старшина) might be in Slavonic armed forces, the designation of a military rank, comparable to OR-8[1] in NATO, or a military appointment, comparable to company sergeant major in the Army. The equivalent in the modern days Russian Navy is Glavnyj starshina of the ship, OR-8 as well.

Flag of Russia.svg
in the Russian Army
P6-starsh.png 6starsh.png
Rank insignia Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
Introduction 1942 to the Red Army
Rank group Non-commissioned officers
Army / Air Force Starshina
Navy Glavnyj starshina of the ship

Russian Federation[edit]

Starshina (Russian: старшина́, Ukrainian: старши́на, from старший, starshyi, "senior"), initially was a Cossacks officership, but in Soviet time it was, and in the Russian Federation it is used as the Company sergeant major at the one hand and the top non-commissioned officer at the other hand.

In Tsardom of Russia and later Imperial Russia of 17-20th centuries a volostnoy starshina was a chief of a volost (a rural administrative unit). He was in charge of the distribution of taxes, resolving conflicts within obshchina, distribution of the usage of community lands, assigning people for military service, etc.

The rank of voiskovoi starshina (Войсковой старшина - "Starshina of the Army (Host)") was introduced into Russian military ranks in 1826, as equivalent of a Lieutenant Colonel in the Cossack cavalry.

In the Soviet Army, a starshina was the highest non-commissioned officer among conscripts; this was changed by reintroduction of the higher-ranking praporshchik in 1972. In the Soviet Navy, it was introduced in 1942 as a petty officer rank; every enlisted seaman ranking above Matrose, 1st class is a starshina of various ranks.

In the army of the Russian Federation there are four ranks in the NCO´s career group, which means:

Sequence of ranks in the USSR and Russian Federation
junior rank Starshina
senior rank
USSR Coat of arms of the Soviet Union.svg from 1935 Mladshy kom'vsvoda Mladshy leytenant
c 1940 Starshy sershant
с 1971 Praporshchik
RF Coat of arms of the Russian Federation (1992-1993).svg from 1991
Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.svg from 1993

Red Army (RA), Soviet Army (SA), and Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF) starshina rank insignia[edit]

shoulder boards


Among Cossacks in Ukraine, starshyna was a collective noun for categories of officership or a military elite: junior starshyna (Молодша старшина), general starshyna (Генеральна старшина), military starshyna (Військова старшина), substarshyna (Підстаршина). Polkovnyk or 'colonel' was the next higher rank. Later sometime after the Khmelnytsky's Uprising it also was associated with the Ukrainian nobility which derived out of the officership and the Hetman.

See also[edit]

Rank designation in other countries[edit]

In the countries below, spelling is similar and the classification to a separate rank group is equivalent.


This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Russian Wikipedia.
  1. ^ The NATO abbreviation "OR" stands for "other ranks"