The Kremlin Regiment: An Elite Military Unit

The Kremlin Regiment: An Elite Military Unit
17 April 2015

Elite military, Russia’s finest.

For the ones who have been to Moscow and for those who have planned to visit the capital of Russia, one of the events that you shouldn’t miss is the change of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The change of the guard is every hour so it’s really difficult to miss it. But who are this statuary soldiers and how difficult is to enter the Kremlin Regiment?

The Kremlin Presidential guard is the most unique and elite regiment in Russia. To enter the regiment you have fulfil the physical requirements first of all. Health and appearance are really important to chose who can be enrolled among those elite soldiers. The candidate has to be between 5 and 7 feet height (1,80 and 2,10 metres), a visual acuity no less than 0.7 dioptres and no colour blindness or other dysfunctions. The future soldiers has also to take a hearing test since they have to be able to hear a whisper up to 6 metres away. The candidate can’t have tattoos and they check his records to make sure there no sign of mental illness, drug abuse or skin disease.

During this early stage one has to demonstrate to have no health or criminal issues. If he is charged with outstanding or withdrawn crimes, as if he is under investigation or he has been registered at any mental institution or drug rehabilitation clinic, he’s already out of the selection process. A suitable family background is also necessary. There’s no elite section for candidates who come from single-parent homes or disadvantaged families. Besides one can be disqualified from serving in the Kremlin Regiment if he or his close relatives live abroad or if he or his relatives has criminal convictions or have been convicted for a serious federal offence. He is also not suitable for the regiment if he is under inspection and he has a record of breaking the law.

After the suitable candidates are selected, they enter a series of competitions and they have to pass an aptitude test. Then they may be transferred to contract military service after three months of conscription service. In the meanwhile they have the possibility of enrolling as part-time students at the Moscow State University or at the Siberian Federal University.

Once they are officially part of the Kremlin Regiment their main duties are to ensure the security of the Kremlin and its treasures, ensure and guard the highest state officials, escort international delegations and guard at the Eternal Flame of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In addition they protect and defend the official residence of the president and other facilities that are protected by the ФСО, Федеральная служба охраны (FSO, Federalnaya sluzhba ochrany)

There is a fierce competition to be successfully enrolled in the Kremlin Regiment or at least to get the right to be on the candidates list. It is hard to meet all the selection criteria and the list of the requirements itself may seem already enough to prevent from trying to enter the elite Presidential guard service.

This post was brought to you by Jessica, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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