Interesting facts about archers

The first streltsy troops appeared in Russia in 1550 by decree of Tsar Ivan IV. Initially, the streltsy army numbered 3, 000 people, the archers were the personal guard of the monarch. Gradually, their number increased; in the second half of the 17th century, there were already 26 regiments in Moscow, in the service of which there were more than 22, 000 soldiers. In peacetime, the archers were supposed to carry out guard duty, and when war was declared, they were supposed to go on campaigns.

In addition to Moscow, another 48 infantry regiments were formed on the territory of Russia. The archers received weapons and uniforms from the treasury. At the same time, the Moscow archers were in a more privileged position. According to the documents, they received cloth for caftans annually, while the archers from the provinces no more often than once every three years. Ceremonial caftans were worn only on special occasions, for everyday life they used a "wearable dress".

Thanks to the cinema, we have a stereotype - all the archers wore red caftans. But, this is not so, the colors of the regiments' uniforms were very different from each other. For example, according to data for 1674, Yuri Lutokhin's regiment really wore red caftans, but Stepan Yanov's archers were dressed in blue caftans. Most of the archers' boots were yellow, but not all of them. Fyodor Lopukhin's regiment, for example, wore green shoes.

To manage the regiments, the Streletskaya hut was first created, then renamed the Streletsky order. The draft population was responsible for maintaining the rifle troops. For example, "food money" and "arrow bread". The salary of the archers themselves in the 16th century was 4 rubles a year. The centurions received 10-12 rubles each, as well as land.

In the famous comedy by Leonid Gaidai "Ivan Vasilyevich changes his profession" archers, going on a campaign, sing the song "Marusya". All this is nothing more than an invention of the filmmakers. Naturally, there was no such song in the 16th century. It was written by the composer Alexander Zatsepin to the words of Leonid Derbenev. And it was performed in the film by the artists of the Mosconcert Boris Kuznetsov, Lev Polosin and the choir of the Moscow Military District.

The archers were armed with hand-held squeaks - firearms that were used to defeat enemy personnel. At the same time, the squeak was effective at a distance of up to 50 steps. In addition, the rate of fire was not high. Even experienced archers could not fire more than three rounds per minute.

And in hand-to-hand combat, the archers used sabers, broadswords and the famous reeds - a heavy ax with a huge blade attached to the shaft. In our country, berdysh became widespread in the 15th century. With a berdysh, it was possible to inflict both chopping and stabbing blows with a sharp end. A belt was usually attached to the shaft, which made it possible to carry this weapon behind the back. The total weight of the reed often exceeded 3 kilograms.

The surname Streltsov indicates that the ancestor of this person was unrelenting service. This surname is quite common in Russia. Six people with the surname Streltsov received the title "Hero of the Soviet Union". You can also remember Eduard Streltsov - the legendary Soviet football player of the fifties and sixties.

The elimination of the streltsy army began under Peter the Great. In 1698, the archers revolted, complaining about the meager salaries, difficulties in service, and the appointment of foreigners to command positions. The king was in Europe at that time. Returning to Moscow, Peter brutally dealt with the rioters. Even historians find it difficult to name the total number of those executed. There is information that the tsar personally cut off the heads of some of the archers.

After the suppression of the uprising, a significant part of the archers was transferred to remote county towns to carry out garrison service. The liquidation process was slightly suspended during the Northern War, as the Russian army needed experienced soldiers. In 1705, recruitment was introduced in Russia.

However, back in 1689, a streltsy regiment under the command of Lavrenty Sukharev helped young Peter to overthrow his older sister Sophia from the throne. As a reward for faithful service in Moscow in 1692-1695. Sukharev Tower was built. It existed until the early thirties of the twentieth century and was demolished during the general reconstruction of the capital. And the Sukharevskaya square adjacent to the tower was renamed into Kolkhoznaya.

In 1881, the Russian painter Vasily Surikov completed work on the painting "The Morning of the Streltsy Execution". The canvas depicts a tragic moment in our history: the execution of the archers after the suppression of the revolt in 1698. The painting was purchased by Pavel Tretyakov for 8, 000 rubles. To this day, this masterpiece of Russian painting can be seen in the Tretyakov Gallery. During the Great Patriotic War, the painting was evacuated to Novosibirsk, from where it returned only in November 1944.