Table of contents:
- The origin of the Russian hussar
- Hussarship as mentality and culture
- Expensive ammunition and bones on the regimental badge
- Eternal bachelors and a short century
The legendary Kozma Prutkov, whose image was given the status of a retired hussar, advised everyone to become a hussar if they want to be beautiful. The officer's uniform in this branch of the army was dazzling. By the beginning of the 19th century, everyone was striving for hussars. Another question, not everyone could afford this role: in itself, caring for an exquisite form provided for substantial costs. The hussar regiment was considered an elite military unit. And the best were selected there.
The origin of the Russian hussar
The first hussar "squadrons" appeared in Russia during the reign of Mikhail Fedorovich. They included recruited Germans and Poles. The hussars disappeared from the regular Russian army of Peter I and returned only in 1723, when new regiments were formed from the Austrian Serbs. The beginning of the army hussars is considered to be 1723, but at that time the units were still replenished with foreigners. In that year, a royal decree appeared on the birth of the Serbian hussar regiment. A little later, the Hungarian and Moldavian regiments were created.
Around the same period, Georgian princes migrated en masse to Russia, who made up the fourth Georgian cavalry regiment. The foreign hussars were entrusted with protection from the enemy of the Black Sea region. Wanting to consolidate the hussars on the territory of Russia, they were allocated land, helped with finances, and even allowed them to trade in their free time. Finally, by the second half of the 18th century, Russians began to be recruited into the hussar units, who after a short time became the majority. In 1783, all existing hussar regiments united into several regiments of the Yekaterinoslav and Ukrainian cavalry. It is they who are known today for countless films and literature.
Hussarship as mentality and culture
Catherine's tradition of forming hussar units from Russians was finally consolidated by Paul I and took place until the end of the empire's existence. Catherine II formalized the hussarship as an "ideology" that has become firmly embedded in the Russian mentality and culture. At that time, people who represented the intellectual elite of their era began to stand out among the hussars. A vivid image of the Russian hussar was formed.
Since their inception in the 15th century in Hungary, hussars have been used as light cavalry, performing on the battlefield the role of today's special forces. Their functions included not only reconnaissance and sabotage in the enemy rear, but also participation in full-fledged battles. In major battles, the hussars came to the fore when it became necessary to drive the retreating enemy in order to prevent consolidation in positions. In addition to military skills, the hussars were supposed to meet a considerable set of moral and ethical obligations. Moreover, deviation from traditional hussar dogmas was punishable up to death. The hussars did not climb into their pockets for a word, which cannot be said about dueling weapons.
Expensive ammunition and bones on the regimental badge
In total, twenty hussar regiments are captured in Russian history. The most famous among them were the Life Guards Hussars, Akhtyrsky, Izyumsky units, as well as the famous "black" hussars from the Alexandrian regiment. The regimental affiliation of one or another hussar was indicated by the color of the uniform and the equipment of the war horse, and the history of each individual regimental uniform was often followed by a legend. In addition to the uniform color, the hussar was distinguished by the regimental sign. Perhaps the most striking and expressive was the Alexandrian sign created at the beginning of the 20th century. It was a Maltese cross, decorated with hussar monograms, and in the center - a skull with bones ("Adam's head"). In such a spectacular image, the main milestones of the regimental chronicle were encrypted.
The Maltese eight-pointed cross conveyed the history of the founding of the regiment during the reign of Paul I, who was a member of the Maltese military order. In turn, the skull and bones symbolized immortality. The name "Immortal Hussars" was given to the Alexandrian soldiers during the Napoleonic wars. In 1741, a dandy hussar uniform appeared. The Hungarian national costume was taken as a basis. According to the charter, the hussars were ordered to wear long curled mustaches and curls at their temples.
Eternal bachelors and a short century
The life span of a hussar was short-lived. Rarely have they experienced their 40th birthday, especially during periods of active war. The French general Lasalle spoke out on this issue as harshly as possible, noting that the hussars who lived to thirty are not a hussar, but rubbish. The cavalry commander himself died a heroic death at 34. The average hussar age ranged from 19 to 30 years, but there were exceptions. According to regimental records from 1804, the oldest Alexandrian hussar lived to be 52 years old, and the youngest was barely 17.
It is no wonder that, in the view of the descendants, the brave hussars remained timeless, desperate characters and frivolous ladies' boyfriends. Soviet films captured the hussar as a tall handsome man, but in reality everything was different. Tall men rarely ended up in the hussar regiments. The specifics of military tasks assumed one of the main selection criteria - average height. But the distinctive feature of the hussar officers - the mustache - corresponded to reality. For Shurochka Azarova, the heroine of The Hussar Ballad, the missing mustache almost turned into exposure.
The hussars received the glory of victors not only in the military, but also on the battlefields of love, being known as courteous gentlemen. However, marriage among hussars was not encouraged at the management level. When deciding to serve Russia, many automatically subscribed to the future of the eternal bachelor. But if you believe the historical facts that captured the cheerful image of the hussar-ladies' man, it does not seem that any of them suffered for this. One of the reasons why the top officials did not stand up for family ties in the hussar environment was the mandatory payment of pensions to the families of officers who died in frequent wars. Such an item of expenditure was too expensive for the state budget.
And these 10 famous women gave birth to children from married men.