Russian Guards

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Guards () or Guards units () were and are elite military units in Imperial Russia, Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. The tradition goes back to the retinue of a knyaz (his druzhina) of medieval Kievan Rus' and the streltsy, the Muscovite harquebusiers formed by Ivan the Terrible by 1550. The exact meaning of the term "Guards" varied over the time.

Imperial Russian Guard

In the Russian Empire, Imperial Russian Guard units ("Leib-Guards", ) derived from German 'Leibw├Ąchter' (body-guards), and were intended to provide for the security of the sovereign, initially that of Peter the Great in 1690s based on the Prussia practice. At the beginning of the twentieth century it consisted of 13 infantry, 4 rifles and 14 cavalry regiments and some other units. They were abolished in 1918.

The Imperial Russian Guard units did not consist exclusively of troops recruited from Russian population, but also included Lithuanian, Finnish and Ukrainian personnel.

Russian Revolution



The Red Guards () were armed groups of workers formed during the Russian Revolution of 1917. They were the main strike force of the Bolsheviks, and were created in March 1917 at industrial enterprises by Factory and Plant Committees and by Bolshevik party cells. When the Soviet Red Army was formed in 1918, the Red Guards became the Army Reserve and the basis for the formation of regular military detachments.

The White Guard () or White Army (, whose members were called ), comprised...
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