Duel in the Russian Imperial Army. Part of 1
In 1526, the emperor called the king a dishonest man. In response, Francis I summoned the offender to a duel. The fight did not take place, but the authority of the French duelists has grown significantly. It is believed that precisely in those years, the history of the duel began as a duel in defense of honor and personal dignity. The number of duels grew from year to year. In the second half of the 16th century, up to a thousand fatal duels took place in France each year. And the total number of duels in some years reached 20 thousands. Fights have become commonplace in French society, and then in other European countries.
How did the duel in Russia
The word duel of foreign origin is from the Latin duellum and the French duel, which translated into Russian means “duel” or “fight of two”. In Russia, the duel in the form of a Western European duel came in the second half of the 17th century, when the famous German settlement was formed in Moscow. Natives of many European countries lived here, remaining faithful to the traditions and habits of their homeland. In a certain sense, through the German settlement, the way for the penetration of foreign customs, traditions and customs into the patriarchal Russian life was opened. Among them were dueling traditions in defense of honor and dignity in the privileged environment of the upper class. In 1666, in this Moscow settlement, the first fight in Russia according to European rules took place, as is commonly believed. The reason for him was a drunken quarrel during a feast in honor of the birthday of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. And two foreigners started this whole mess. A quarrel happened between the commander of the Butyrsky regiment, colonel Scottish Gordon and the English major Montgomery. The duel did without serious consequences. However, the tens responsible for order and calm in the German Quarter were ordered not to allow fights, murder and scuffles to continue. By the way, these rigor and restrictions on the hot-tempered Gordon did not work. He then challenged Major General Trauernicht to a duel, who dared to teach the colonel how to command the regiment. After the intervention of the king the fight did not take place. Dueling stories did not affect the career of the future ally of Peter I. Gordon later received the rank of general and rear admiral.
However, outside the German Quarter duels were an extremely rare event. Usually for the offenses with the petition went to the governor, or even to the king himself. But in order to nip even the thoughts of duels themselves, princess Sofia, in her decree of 25 in October 1682, highlighted the ban on fights, at the same time allowing all servicemen of the Moscow State to carry personal weapons.
However, there is a slightly different version of the appearance of duels in Russia. According to A. Bogdanov, foreigners who came to our country at the beginning of the 17th century were surprised themselves by the large number of fights among the inhabitants of the German Settlement. True, at that time there were going to a variety of foreign adventurers from many European countries. The audience was the same. All of them were attracted by the favorable conditions of the Russian service and respectful attitude towards people from other countries. The Russians were not embarrassed that among them were a lot of Gentiles and bearers of another culture, sometimes alien to their traditions, customs and rules of behavior. For example, this also concerned the use of the most common method of challenge to a duel - a blow to the offender’s face with the subsequent snapping of blades. It happened that the Russians fought in duels among themselves and less often with foreigners. By the way, each case of such a duel was subject to investigation in the Foreign Order, which was responsible for foreign mercenaries accepted for the Russian service.
The severity of the punishment duelists did not stop
In an effort to adopt the best and most advanced in Europe, Tsar Peter I tried to prevent the negative order and rules that existed there from penetrating into Russian life. Such restrictions are fully applicable to duels. In the “Short Article” adopted in 1706, under the penalty of the death penalty, any fights were forbidden. The article identified that the duelists themselves, their seconds, and even casual witnesses, if they did not report the duel in time, were sentenced to death. In 1715, the “Charter of the Soldier” was published, which included the “Patent about fights and the beginning of quarrels” and “the Article of the Military”. These documents stipulated that the preparation for a duel and the very participation in it were punishable by death by hanging. Even the victim in a duel was punished - he was hung by the legs. The king-reformer stopped the duels even when they were not rooted in the customs of Russian society. There were no Russian surnames among the “combatants”, and laws were already passed prohibiting a duel on pain of the death penalty. However, as often happened in Russia, the severity of punishment was often compensated for by the non-execution of the law. As history confirms, neither under Peter the Great, nor after him was no one sentenced to death for killing an enemy in a duel, much less for any participation in a duel. Although the entire legal framework for this already existed.
So, looking through the “Patent about fights and starting quarrels,” we learn that even just for a challenge, a duel was supposed to be deprived of all ranks and partial confiscation of property. There was even stricter demand for going out and laying out weapons. For this, the death penalty was relied upon with full confiscation of property. The seconds were subject to the same severe punishment.
"Military Article" 1715 of the year even more tightened responsibility for the duel. Two articles were devoted to this (articles 139 and 140). Note that Peter's forbidden rules against fights acted until 1787, and have never (!) Been used over the years. Not required. Yes, and the very Russian patriarchal society rejected and condemned this deadly overseas fun. Only in the time of Catherine II, an interest in the foreign form of protecting honor and dignity in fights with arms in arms began to form among noble youth.
Noble youth, while remaining loyal to the throne and oath, more and more preferred to conduct the proceedings of the offenses and the protection of honor and personal dignity without judicial and administrative interference of the state. The officers, who have always been the backbone of the throne, lived and served according to centuries of established order, written and unwritten rules. Later, General L. Kornilov beautifully formulated all this in his life credo: “Soul to God, heart to woman, duty to Fatherland, honor to no one”.
Gradually, the duels began to cause more and more concern for the authorities. In 1787, Catherine II was forced to publish the "Manifesto about the fights." Duels were directly called "alien plantation" and ranked as war crimes. In the case of injuries or death duelists they were punished for premeditated murder or injury and injury. If the duel ended without blood, the offender was given a link “to the eternal settlement” to Siberia. Later, the link was replaced by a demotion in the rank and file and imprisonment in a fortress. A large monetary fine was imposed on all participants, including seconds.
However, the severity of punishment did not contribute to reducing the number of fights and those who took part in them. But in fact, they became even more after the foreign campaigns of the Russian army in 1813 - 1814. A duel as a class and effective means of protecting honor and dignity was in demand in the officer community. Therefore, under Nicholas I, the ban on a duel was confirmed in the 1832 year in the “Code of Criminal Law”, as well as in the 1839 year in the “Charter of the Military-Criminal”.
Courts of officer societies as a relationship regulator
Only prohibitive and punitive measures could not eradicate fights in the military environment. It was decided to create special courts for existing officer societies to handle conflicts between military ranks. In 1863, courts of officers' societies were created in the regiments and separate battalions. When they began to function councils from the number of intermediary officers. These councils from 3-5 elective staff officers were assigned the responsibility of clarifying the causes and circumstances of the quarrels, the offenses caused and the insults. If the honor and personal dignity of the officer and the attempts at reconciliation of the parties failed, then the duel was permitted. At the same time, for the insult or deliberate slander inflicted, the abuser was called to answer in a duel with a weapon in his hands. Such a duel was considered legitimate, since it was strictly regulated by certain rules, later presented in the form of dueling codes. Such codes in the Russian Empire existed in different versions with certain differences in the order and conditions of the duel. The generally accepted duel code in the empire did not exist.
The definition of a duel formulated by Russian military writer P. Shveikovsky was adopted as the most complete and appropriate to the realities. “A duel,” he wrote, “is an agreed battle between two persons with a deadly weapon to satisfy desecrated honor in keeping with the conditions established by custom regarding the place, time, weapon and the overall situation of the battle.”
According to V. Khandorin, from this definition can be identified the main features of the classic duel (duel):
1) the purpose of the duel is a response to the insult, the offense caused or the damaged honor of the officer;
2) the number of participants in the duel - only two (the offended and his offender);
3) duel means - deadly knives or firearms;
4) the existence of custom established rules (conditions) of a duel, mandatory for strict compliance by each participant of the fight, including the seconds.
At the same time everyone understood that the duel did not prove anything from the point of view of justice and rightness. This was reflected in one way or another in all dueling codes. "The basic principle and purpose of the duel, - explained the code, - to solve misunderstandings between individual members of a common noble family among themselves, without resorting to outside help." There was no duel and judicial sense, since it did not always serve as a punishment for the culprit of a quarrel or conflict. “A duel serves,” it was stated in the duel code, “a method of retaliation for insulting and cannot be replaced, but at the same time it cannot replace judicial authorities serving to restore or protect a violated right.”
In the Russian Empire there were different views and assessments of duels, as social phenomena that are more characteristic of the officer community. At the same time there were many supporters of the point of view that a duel is nothing more than a “self-imposed punishment”. This interpretation had some legal grounds. First, duels (duels) were officially banned by the laws of the empire. Secondly, they were unlawful in nature, since, as a rule, the very fact of the fight was hidden from official justice. Thirdly, all the dueling codes, applicable regulations, procedures and rules had an unofficial statute. It was only during the reign of Emperor Alexander III that the “Rules for the Proceeding of Arguments in Officers' Relations” were approved (introduced by order of the Military Department N18 of 20 in May of 1894) And only since then in the Russian Empire for the first time fights among officers were legalized.
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