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For the current Russian Army unit, see 154th Preobrazhensky Independent Commandant's Regiment

The Preobrazhensky Lifeguard Regiment was one of the oldest and most elite guard regiments of the Imperial Russian Army. Along with the Semyonovsky Regiment, the Preobrazhensky Regiment also served as a gendarmerie unit for the state Secret Chancellery (secret police) in the 18th century, headed by Prince Fyodor Romodanovsky.

Preobrazhensky Lifeguard Regiment
— III —
Преображенский спасательный полк
Preobrazhensky Paris.jpg
Preobrazhensky Regiment fighting the Battle of Paris, 30 March 1814, with the Montmartre in the background
2013–present as the 154th Preobrazhensky Independent Commandant's Regiment
CountryRussian Empire
Garrison/HQSaint Petersburg
Banner of the regimentPreobrazhenskiy polk. Flag.jpg
Badge of the regimentLG Preobrazhensky.jpg



It was formed by Peter the Great in the late 17th century from his poteshnye voiska ("toy forces"), during his military games in the village of Preobrazhenskoye (now a district in Moscow). The Preobrazhensky Regiment distinguished itself during the Great Northern War of 1700–1721, the Patriotic War of 1812, and the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878.

As the body-guard of Catherine the Great, as well as the main supporter of her bloodless coup against her husband Peter III, this regiment was declared the highest in the order of military precedence from 14 July 1762.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, membership was reserved for young Russian aristocrats and was considered a proof of loyalty to the government and the tsar. Among its membership was the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky.[1]

The regiment was disbanded in December 1917 by its last commander, Colonel Alexander Kutepov (later a general). In 2013, it was recreated for the Russian Armed Forces as the 154th Preobrazhensky Independent Commandant's Regiment.


  • 1683 - Peter the Great begins to assemble the droll regiments. Initially the number of soldiers was fewer than fifty.
  • 1687 - Droll regiments become the Semenovsky regiment and Preobrazhensky regiments of the regular army.
  • 1695 - Preobrazhensky regiment (nine companies) takes part in the Azov campaigns.
  • 1696 - The regiment is divided into four battalions and two separate companies of bombardiers and grenadiers.
  • 1700—1720 - Takes part in all major battles of the Great Northern War.
  • 1700 - Before the Battle of Narva is officially named Leib-Guard Preobrazhensky regiment.
  • 1706 - Tsar Peter the Great adopts the military rank of Colonel of Preobrazhensky regiment.
  • 1722 - Takes part in the war against Persia.
  • 1722 - According to Russian Table of Ranks soldiers of Preobrazhensky regiment were to be considered two ranks higher than in ordinary units.
  • 1726 - Moscow company of Preobrazhensky regiment becomes a separate Moscow life-guard battalion and later Murom leib-guard battalion.
  • 1737—1739 - War against Ottoman Empire.
  • 1737 - Takes part in the Battle of Ochakov.
  • 1742 - War against Sweden.
  • 1762 - On 17 July declared first and highest in the military order of precedence in the Imperial Russian Army and the Imperial Russian Guard.
  • 1789—1790 - War against Sweden.
  • 1796 - Battalions of the Preobrazhensky regiment are named according to their chiefs: 1st battalion - His Majesty, 2nd battalion - Lieutenant-General Tatischev, 3d Battalion - General Field-Marshal Suvorov, Grenadier Battalion - Major-General Arakcheev.
  • 1805 - As a part of the Grand Duke's Corps of Guards the 1st and 3rd battalions leave St. Petersburg for Austria on 22 August; on 2 December take part in the battle of Austerlitz and return to St. Petersburg on 19 April 1806.
  • 1807 - In February the Regiment, consisting of all 4 battalions, starts the march as a part of Grand Duke's Corps of Guards; on 5 June engages Ney’s troops near Guttstadt and Altkirchen and on 14 June takes part in the battle of Friedland; returns to St. Petersburg in August.
  • 1808 - On 9 September the 2nd battalion of the regiment enters the Corps of Major-General Strogonov in Vilmanstrand (Finland).
  • 1809 - On 10 March, being a part of the Corps of Lieutenant-General Prince Bagration, starts its march to Sweden through the Aland islands; on 14 March fights the enemy's rearguard on the island of Lemland; on 17 March stops on the Eckerö island, closest to the Swedish shore, and after the talks with Sweden begins moving back; returns to St. Petersburg in October.
The Preobrazhensky Regiment soldiers proclaim Elizabeth the empress of Russia
Young Modest Mussorgsky as a cadet in the Preobrazhensky Regiment of the Imperial Guard.
  • 1811 - The regiment is transformed into 3 battalions; each battalion now comprises one grenadier company (grenadier and tirailleur platoons) and three fusilier companies.
  • 1812 - As a part of the Grand Duke's Corps of Guards, the regiment moves in March to Vilno, where it joins the 1st Western Army of Barclay-de-Tolly; on 7 September takes part in the battle of Borodino. During the French retreat from Moscow the regiment was in the reserve all the time and returns to Vilno in December.
  • 1813 - On 13 January, the Guard crosses the Nieman river in the presence of the Emperor; on 2 April participates in the grand parade in the presence of the Emperor and King Frederick William III of Prussia; on 14 April triumphantly enters Dresden; on 2 May takes part in the battle of Lutzen; on the 19th, 20th and 21 May the regiment is a central reserve under the command of Grand Duke in the battle of Bautzen; on 28 August and 29 August, being a part of 1st Guards Infantry Division under the command of General Yermolov, is distinguished in the Battle of Kulm.
  • 1814 - On 13 January in the presence of the Emperor Alexander I, the Regiment crosses the Rhine at Basel and as a part of the reserve of the Main Army under Barklay-de-Tolly, participates in every offensive and retreat until the battle of Paris (30 March); on 31 March triumphantly enters the capital of France; 1st battalion of the regiment has its bivouac near the Palace of Tuileries. After staying in Paris for more than two months the Regiment leaves for Normandy, embarking at Cherbourg on 15 June and on 12 August entering St. Petersburg through the Triumphal arch, constructed by the Emperor's order in the memory of excellent service of the Guard in 1812—1814.
  • 1877—1878 - War against Ottoman Empire.
  • 1906 - First Battalion excluded from the regiment and stripped of Life-Guard privileges, instead the new first battalion of the regiment is formed from cavaliers of the Order of St. George and heroes of the Russo-Japanese War.
  • 1914—1917 - World War I.
  • 1917 - Participated in the February Revolution by their mutiny on Monday 12 March, leading to the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. Disbanded in December by Alexander Kutepov, its last commander.
  • 2013 - Re-established as the 154th Preobrazhensky Independent Commandant's Regiment.


The regimental flag was of St. George's colours, with the inscription: "For displayed feats in battle of Kulm 17th of August 1813". (29 August 1813 in the Julian calendar).[citation needed]

This colour was given to the regiment in order to celebrate its action at Kulm, where the outnumbered Preobrazhensky regiment withstood the charge of French troops.[citation needed]


Preobrazhnesky Barracks in St. Petersburg

The March of the Preobrazhensky Regiment (ru) was written in the time of Peter the Great. It was also used as an unofficial national anthem in imperial times.[2] It is used often in Russia, also in the annual Victory Day parade for the trooping the colours (Flag of Russia and Banner of Victory notably at 2005 Victory Day Parade, but as of in 2019 The Sacred War was played instead for trooping of both flags)[3] and inspecting of troops. It is also the slow march of the Royal Marines.[4] Several people have written lyrics for the song.[5] It is not believed to have been officially used in the Soviet Union, but it had been played by Soviet military bands mostly in concerts but rarely during the inspection segment of parades.[5]

Notable people who served in the Preobrazhensky RegimentEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ BBC Radio 3. Composer of the Week, broadcast 26 October 2009
  2. ^ "National Anthem | Russia's State Symbols". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  3. ^ Archived May 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "The Regimental Marches of Her Majesty's Royal Marines:A Life on the Ocean Wave Regimental Quick March". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  5. ^ a b "Russian Anthems museum". 2013-04-14. Archived from the original on 2013-07-03. Retrieved 2013-11-30.

External linksEdit