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). Their rank (IV) qualified them to be made regional commandant, and I have no idea how long they spent at rank IV, but they spent five years in charge.

Lots of sources describe decades of total service to the army, but I haven't found anything on the specific appointments making up 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 to specific garrisons or companies all five years long?

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    Are you perhaps conflating enrolment term with appointment term? 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
  • Given that Kamchatka is a long way from Moscow it would be interesting to note if there were any differences in the duration of posts for similar positions elsewhere in Russia.
    – Fred
    Aug 1 '19 at 6:31

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. Nov 21 '18 at 10:51
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    I hope my edits have clarified the distinction I am trying to draw between rank and assignment. Aug 1 '19 at 1:09
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    +1 Just from my understanding of the (modern) British Army, one year as a 2nd Lieutenant, automatic promotion to Lieutenant, perhaps two years in that rank before promotion to Captain, provided you don't accidentally shoot a general or member of the Royal Family in the meantime. Then, as you suggest, it becomes a lot harder.
    – TheHonRose
    Aug 1 '19 at 2:43

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