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I noticed that the chief commandants of Kamchatka seemed to serve terms of about five years (Koselev 1802-1807, Petrovskii 1807-1813, Rudakov 1813-1817). These seem to have been Majors-General (rank IV). I want to know if the terms of other military officers were similar.

Lots of sources describe the army recruitment to decades of total service, but I haven't found anything on the appointments during officers' careers. A few years earlier, Catherine the Great established a rule that civil servants would get automatic promotions every seven years.

Were Imperial army officers' appointments all five years long?

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    Are you perhaps conflating enrolment term with appointment term? – Pieter Geerkens Sep 14 '18 at 0:39
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    Don't have a time to write full answer, but nobility was freed from conscription in 1762, while serfs could be drafted into military and they served for life, latter reduced to 25 years . People you mentioned were professional officers. – rs.29 Sep 14 '18 at 7:25
  • Some links : ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – rs.29 Sep 14 '18 at 7:26
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    @PieterGeerkens I agree. Thanks, edited. – Aaron Brick Oct 2 '18 at 7:03
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You mistake service length (25 years, in this case) with time served in a certain rank (5 years, here).

Times have changed, but to become a general officer takes a lot of time, practice and experience. Usually more than 20 years. On the military cursus honorum * one has to serve in each rank a certain number of years, before being promoted to the next rank. One simply cannot become general within those 25 years. (Unless one is - in this period - of noble birth, has connections, etc.)

In many armies today the break point is the rank of major. It's relatively easy to become lieutenant and captain. The next step is far more difficult. Only a few captains make it to major. Many captains remain in that rank until they retire or resign (depends very much on the period - this is general).

The next big hurdle is from colonel to general. Only a few colonels are promoted to general. Again, many colonels (pending time period) remain colonel or resign if they are passed over for promotion.

Assume 2-10 years in each rank. 2 ranks of lieutenant, captain, major, ltn-col, col, brig-gen. Add that up: you'll need those 25 years to become general.

*= cursus honorom here is the usual path for promotion

  • My take is that cursus honorum is not really the right analogy here, but that's a minor quibble to a good answer. – Pieter Geerkens Nov 21 '18 at 10:51

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