Clearly inspired by the colourful uniforms of the 17th-century Russian musketeers, called strellsi, the new greatcoat was introduced on S April 1919. For historical reasons it was known as a kaftan instead of the more usual shinnellc. The greatcoat was of khaki cloth, and had as its most characteristic feature three tabs in branch-of-service colour worn prominently across the chest.

These tabs were similar in shape to the 'bastion' lace of British regiments. They were soon nicknamed raz-goviity by the soldiers, although the origin of the term is disputed. The word is similar in meaning to the English 'palaver', and can mean 'conversation' and 'a mess' or 'to mess around'. Fastening the tabs was a fiddly process, hence one interpretation. Another ver sion has it that the new uniforms were first issued commanders and commissars, and when ordinary sd diers spotted their approach they grumbled: 'Ihi come the big talkers!'

Three-quarters of each tab was permanently stitch^ to the upper left side of the single-breasted greatcoJ while the remainder was normally fastened by a but« to the right side. The two uppermost tabs ran horizci tally, w hile the third was at a slight angle. In the fit J coloured tabs were replaced by khaki ones.

The kaftan had two vertical side pockets and tJ vertical breast pockets, and was fastened b\ means { four metal hooks and two waist straps, each with t-j buttons. The collar, cuffs and pocket flaps were mal of darker khaki cloth, and collar and cuffs were pipl in branch colour. The only difference between cava j and infantry versions of the greatcoat was a slit cut iri the skirt to 14cm below the waist to allow for hoi ritling.

The first recorded occasion where the kaftan \ J seen in widespread use was at the storming of PcrekJ in the Crimea in 1920. Before then the shortage I greatcoats had become so serious that in October 14

Trotsky Red Train Soldiers
Sleeve badge oj crew members oj Trotsky's armoured tram Made of silver, it had a white and red enamel design. Si I Plate 1)2 for a reconstruction of a crew member oj this I train.

Fürst Units

1 Infantryman, 3rd Petrograd City Guard Rifle Regiment,1918

2 Infantryman, Epifan Kovtuikh's Detachment, Army of Taman,1918

3 Commander, Naval Infantry Regiment, 1918022

Cossack With Rifle


1: Cavalryman, Vatman's 'Red Hussars' Brigade, 1918-19 2: Cavalryman, Bashkir Cavalry Division, Petrograd, 1918-19 3: Kuban Cossack, Budenny's First Cavalry Army, 1918-20

Kuban Cossacks Russian Civil War

International Units

1 Infantry man, Chinese Battalion, 1918-20

Hungarian Hussar, Detached International Cavalry Division, 1918-19 _v Infantryman, E. Rahia's Finnish Red Guard Detachment, 1918-19

Hungarian Hussar 1918 1919 Hungarian Calvary Uniforms

.Militan Schools 1: Cadet, Infantry Commanders' School, 1918-20 " 2: Commander, 2nd Petrograd Red Commanders' Artillery

.Militan Schools 1: Cadet, Infantry Commanders' School, 1918-20 " 2: Commander, 2nd Petrograd Red Commanders' Artillery

Hungarian Calvary Uniforms

Senior Commanders 1: Commissar, Special Task Unit, 1919-20 2: Staff Official, Rifle Brigade, Army of the Far Eastern Republic, 1921-22 3: Soviet General Staff Official, 1919-22


1919 Uniforms

1: Rifleman in winter clothing, 1919-21 2: Starshina (Sergeant Major) of Artillery, 1919-21 3: Komroty (Company Commander), 1919-21

Uniforms The Finnish Army 1918


1922 Black Schools

1922 Uniforms

1: Zamkompolka (Deputy Regimental Commander), Cavalry, 1922

2: Commander of an engineers' brigade, 1922

3: Section Commander, the RMSR Security Battalion, 1922

Cadet Rifle White

raph taken in 1920 itish-built Mark I ¡ink with (at right) >inlander of armoured ments of the 11 Front and (left) a ontmander. the commander has the insignia of a komdiv onal commander). mnasterka is indi-/j tailored and decor-nlh black cloth, liotli ear black leather »vka helmets.

\rmy commanders had been given instructions lo sition overcoats from civilians.

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