The Marital Status of Officers in Garrison Forces in Siberia in the Mid‑18th Century
This article analyses data on the marital status of officers at garrison units of the Russian regular army stationed in Siberia in the mid-eighteenth century. Although the inspection lists of the regiments only contained data on persons of non-noble descent, information about almost a hundred officers makes it possible to determine the number of unmarried and married persons and single out those who had sons among the latter. Referring to this information, the author evaluates B. N. Mironov’s point of view on the existence of a specific “military estate” in the social system of the Russian Empire. A study of the inspection lists demonstrates that the proportion of married non-commissioned officers of these regiments was almost 80 percent, and half of these individuals had one or more sons. At the same time, in most cases, military personnel married being relatively young. In addition, spouses lived in the location of military units. The materials studied make it possible to correct the existing points of view in historiography regarding how favorable or unfavorable the conditions of military service were to create families. It is established that despite the low social status and the low level of material wealth, the “Siberian garrison” officers had the opportunity to marry, often while serving as common soldiers. It was facilitated by the fact that the garrison troops did not change their locations for many years, which allowed most officers, natives of Siberia, to serve in their native places without breaking away from their social environment. Most frequently, officers’ sons of the garrison troops also entered military service, which gives grounds to assert the existence of a succession in relation to this type of professional activity. These results indicate the need for an in-depth study of the issue with reference to specific military units in various regions of the Russian Empire. Only such an approach can help obtain a complete picture of the family status of the officer corps of the Russian army, which is necessary to determine the place of the “military estate” in the social system of Russia in the eighteenth century.
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