Kremlin Regiment

Moscow, Russia | C.1936

Photo Credit: Francisca Paiva

The Kremlin Regiment, also known as the Presidential Regiment, is a special unit of the Russian Federal Protective Service. Created to ensure the security of the Kremlin along with its treasures and state officials, it is responsible for special guard duties including protecting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

When Soviet Union leaders moved from Petrograd to the Moscow Kremlin in 1918, their protection was entrusted to the Red Latvian Riflemen. Later that year, the Riflemen left for the Civil War and were replaced by the officer cadets of the Soviet Joint Military School. The officers’ academy eventually left the Kremlin and in 1936, a Special Purpose Battalion was created to replace them.

During World War II, Regiment units became responsible for defending the Kremlin both at home and abroad. Four groups of Kremlin Regiment snipers were sent to the Western and Volkhov Fronts where they killed more than 1,200 German soldiers and officers, losing only 97 men in combat. For their service, the Kremlin Regiment received the Order of the Red Banner.

Over the next three decades, the Regiment would be reorganized and renamed as the needs of the government evolved. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1993, the Regiment was temporarily excused of certain guard duties, including guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A presidential decree soon reinstated the designation to protect the Tomb and keep the legacy of World War II veterans alive.

In 2002, the Cavalry Escort Squadron was formed. Wearing special ceremonial uniforms modeled after the Russian Imperial Guard of 1914, the Cavalry performs a Guard Mounting ceremony in Cathedral Square every Sunday. On April 16, 2016, the Guard Mounting featured the first woman officer to serve in the Cavalry Squadron. Considered an elite military unit, only top candidates are selected to the national duty of guarding government officials and important subjects of the Kremlin.

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