Peasants in Uniform: The Tsarist Army as a Peasant Society

John Bushnell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A colonel in the Tsarist army by the name of A. Rittikh wrote in 1893 that service in the army turned ignorant peasants into civilized human beings. The peasant conscript's military career began "with a bath and a haircut," then proceded to "cleanliness and neatness in dress." Since the intended effect of all of the many military reforms introduced by Miliutin was to make the Tsarist army a more modern and more professionally competent institution, it is reasonable to ask how these reforms affected peasant conscripts. To complete the picture of the army as a peasant society, it remains only to consider the officer's role as outsider, a role that was built into the daily routine of military life. The case for socio-psychological modernization breaks down as soon as it becomes clear just how unmilitary life in the Tsarist army was. The similarity between the peasant and military economy extended to the seasonality of the military-economic cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWarfare in Europe 1815-1914
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781351125574
ISBN (Print)9780815398929
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Peasants in Uniform: The Tsarist Army as a Peasant Society'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this