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Countries which use the Eastern European variant

Podpolkovnik (Russian: подполко́вник, lit.'sub –, junior – , or lower regimentary') is a military rank in Slavic and nearby countries which corresponds to the lieutenant colonel in the English-speaking states and military.[1]

In different languages the exact name of this rank maintains a variety of spellings.[1] The transliteration is also in common usage for the sake of tradition dating back to the Old Slavonic word "polk" (literally: regiment sized unit), and include the following names in alphabetical order:

  1. Belarusпадпалкоўнік (padpalkownik)
  2. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbiaпотпуковник / potpukovnik (Serbo-Croatian: [pôtpukoːʋniːk])
  3. Bulgariaподполковник
  4. Czech Republicpodplukovník (Czech: [ˈpotplukovɲiːk])
  5. Georgiaვიცე-პოლკოვნიკი (Georgian: [vitse pʼolkʼovnikʼi])
  6. North Macedoniaпотполковник (podpolkovnik)
  7. Polandpodpułkownik (Polish: [pɔtpuwˈkɔvɲik])
  8. Russiaподполко́вник (podpolkovnik) (Russian: [pətpɐlˈkovnʲɪk])
  9. Sloveniapodpolkovnik
  10. Slovakiapodplukovník
  11. Ukraineпідполковник (pidpolkovnyk)


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Podpolkovnik" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (July 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Lieutenant colonel
Army and air force insignia
Country Russia
Service branch Russian Ground Forces
 Russian Air Force
Non-NATO rankOF-4
FormationEarly 16th century
Next higher rankPolkovnik
Next lower rankMajór
Equivalent ranksKapitan 2-go ranga

In Russia, the rank of lieutenant colonel is called podpolkovnik (Russian: подполко́вник, lit.'sub-colonel'). First it appeared in Russia as appointment or assignment to the assistant or deputy commander of a regiment sized military formation at the end of the 15th — early 16th centuries.

In the Streltsy formations, as a general role, the podpolkovnik was responsible for all administrative tasks and functions. Normally it was of nobility or boyar origin.

From the 17th - to early 17th century, there was a rank and an appointment under the designation polupolkovnik (Russian: полуполко́вник, IPA: [polʊpɐlˈkovnʲɪk]). Beyond its normal responsibilities, he was in charge to command the second half of the regiment, the rear -, reserve -, and other regular units (until the introduction of the battalion structure).

Russian Empire

From the introduction of the Russian table of ranks to the abolishment in 1917, podpolkovnik was quoted to rank positioned VII, and until 1856, it was privileged by hereditary nobility.[2]

In 1884, as the mayor rank in the Russian army was suppressed, all mayors, by exemption of retirement, loss of civil rights, or mercilessly, were converted to podpolkovnik. From this moment, the rank podpolkovnik was equivalent to the rank armed forces' starshina (Russian: войскова́я старшина́, romanizedvoyskovaja starshina, lit.'head of the armed forces', pronounced [vəjskɐˈvajə stərʂɨˈna]). Before 1884, the armed forces' starshina was adequate to mayor. In line to this reform, the shoulder board rank insignia had been changed from two big stars to three smaller ones.

To the formations of the so-called leyb-guard (Russian: лейб гва́рдия, romanized: leyb-gvardija, IPA: [lʲejb ˈɡvardʲɪjə]), the rank podpolkovnik had not been introduced. Normally, kapitan officers might have been promoted to polkovnik immediately, by skipping the ranks major and podpolkovnik.

In the Imperial Russian Navy, the rank Kapitan 2nd rank was equivalent to podpolkovnik, in the civil administration it was corresponding to privy councillor (Russian: надво́рный сове́тник, romanized: nadvornjy sovetnik, IPA: [nɐˈdvornɨj sɐˈvʲetʲnʲɪk]). The rank podpolkovnik was abolished 16 December 1917, together with all previous ranks and rank insignia of the former Russian imperial army.

In the white voluntary army, the rank was in the period from December 1917 to November 1918. Then it was abolished as well, and harmonized to the Kapitan ranks of the guard and other officers of the other formations. However, in the Russian army of general Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel the podpolkovnik rank was reestablished in April 1920.


By foundation of the Soviet Union, the rank designation and rank insignia of the Imperial Russian Army were suppressed. An equivalent rank to podpolkovnik was created in 1924, by the introduction of the so-called status category 8 rank – (English: 'assistant commander of the regiment and equivalent personnel'; Russian: помо́щник команди́ра полка́ и ему́ ра́вные, IPA: [pɐˈmoʂnʲɪk kəmɐnʲˈdʲirə pɐlˈka i jɪˈmu ˈravnɨje]). However, this was overtaken by the introduction of individual ranks in 1935.[3]

Podpolkovnik as a military rank was reintroduced on September 1, 1939, by disposal of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union (from September 2, 1939), and the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR No. 2690 (article 41, pertaining the law of universal compulsory military service), published by the order No. 226 of the People's Commissar of Defence (from July 26, 1940). [4]

The Red Army used this rank together with a number of other former Russian ranks, and it has been used in many ex-USSR countries, including Russia, to the present day.

By the first promotion to that particular rank the hitherto (old) polkovnik collar distinction insignia with three parallel bars had to be used. The new polkovnik rank was from now on characterized by four bars. This insignia had to be worn until the introduction of shoulder boards, and were finally replaced in 1943.

In the Soviet navy, the rank kapitan 2nd rank was equivalent to podpolkovnik. In the civil administration it was corresponding to privy councillor (Russian: надво́рный сове́тник). The rank podpolkovnik was abolished 16 December 1917, together with all previous ranks and rank insignia of the former Russian imperial army. In the military political organization, it was equivalent to starshy battalion commissar (Russian: ста́рший батальо́нный комисса́р, IPA: [ˈstarʂɨj bətɐˈlʲjɵnːɨj kəmʲɪˈsar]), another corresponding rank designation was Specialist 1st rank (pertaining to: military engineers, surgeons, commissionaires, veterinary surgeons, and legal personnel).


In late 1943, shoulder boards were reintroduced as rank designation. From this moment in the podpolkovnik rank of the Red Army was specified by two big horizontal stars, on shoulder boards, with parallel piping (two straps). The stars had to be established on a distance of 35 mm from the lower end of the shoulder board (Rules to wear military uniforms in the Soviet Army and the Navy). From 7 November 1944, the stars were pinned direct (symmetrically to the piping) on piping.

Russian Federation

If military personnel serves in a guards formation, or on a guards war ship, to the rank designation will be placed in front the noun guards (e.g. "Gurds podpolkovnik"). Civil – or military personnel with a specific defined level of expertise or knowledge in medical or judicial professions, to the military rank will be added the noun "legal or the wording "medical service". Further adding to the military rank designation might be "retired" or "on retirement".

Personnel serving in the executive of the Russian Federation might be specified by rank designation as follows.

  • Podpolkovnik of the Police (until March 1, 2011 Podpolkovnik of the Militsiya)
  • Podpolkovnik of the Internal Troops
  • Podpolkovnik Investigation of Tax Offence

Lieutenant colonel's insignia

See also


  1. ^ a b Sławomir Kułacz, University of Gdańsk, Poland (2012). "Conceptualization of selected army ranks in English, German, Polish and Czech". Lublin Studies in Modern Languages and Literature. UMCS Lublin: Studies in Modern Languages and Literature, vol. 36: 27. Retrieved 12 February 2016.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "Подполковник". Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary: In 86 Volumes (82 Volumes and 4 Additional Volumes). St. Petersburg. 1890–1907.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. ^ Decree of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union and the Council of People's Commissars, from September 22, 1935, on introduction of individual military rank designation to commanding personnel of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army.
  4. ^ Decree of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union and the Council of People's Commissars, from September 2, 1939, on introduction of the rank/ rank designation Podpolkovnik in the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army.
  5. ^ "Указ Президента Республики Беларусь от 21.07.2009 N 388 "О военной форме одежды, знаках различия по воинским званиям и внесении дополнений в Указ Президента Республики Беларусь от 9 июня 2006 г. N 383"". (in Russian). Government of Belarus. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  6. ^ "ЗАКОН ЗА ОТБРАНАТА И ВЪОРЪЖЕНИТЕ СИЛИ НА РЕПУБЛИКА БЪЛГАРИЯ". (in Bulgarian). Глава седма. ВОЕННА СЛУЖБА. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Ranks". Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Қазақстан Республикасының Қарулы Күштері, басқа да әскерлері мен әскери құралымдары әскери қызметшілерінің әскери киім нысаны және айырым белгілері туралы". (in Kazakh). Ministry of Justice (Kazakhstan). 25 August 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Кыргыз Республикасынын жарандарынын жалпыга бирдей аскердик милдети жөнүндө, аскердик жана альтернативдик кызматтар жөнүндө". (in Kyrgyz). Ministry of Justice (Kyrgyzstan). 9 February 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  10. ^ "УРЕДБА ЗА ОЗНАКИТЕ ЗА УНИФОРМИТЕ НА АРМИЈАТА НА РЕПУБЛИКА СЕВЕРНА МАКЕДОНИЈА" [Regulation on the Markings for the Uniforms of the Army of the Republic Northern of Macedonia]. (in Macedonian). 12 November 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  11. ^ "IV. Izgled Činova u Vojsci". Official Gazette of Montenegro (in Montenegrin). 50/10: 22–28. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Sposób noszenia odznak stopni wojskowych na umundurowaniu wojsk Lądowych i sił Powietrznych" (PDF). (in Polish). Armed Forces Support Inspectorate. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Указ Президента Российской Федерации от 11 марта 2010 года № 293 "О военной форме одежды, знаках различия военнослужащих и ведомственных знаках отличия"". (in Russian). Российской газеты. 12 March 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  14. ^ "ЧИНОВИ У ВОЈСЦИ СРБИЈЕ". (in Serbian). Serbian Armed Forces. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Označenie vojenských hodností príslušníkov Ozbrojených síl Slovenskej republiky od 1.1.2016" [Designation of military ranks of members of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic from 1.1.2016]. (in Slovak). Military History Institute. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Čini in razredi". (in Slovenian). Slovenian Armed Forces. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  17. ^ "ҚОНУНИ ҶУМҲУРИИ ТОҶИКИСТОН ДАР БОРАИ ЎҲДАДОРИИ УМУМИИ ҲАРБӢ ВА ХИЗМАТИ ҲАРБӢ". (in Tajik). The National Assembly of the Republic of Tajikistan. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  18. ^ "TÜRKMENISTANYŇ KANUNY Harby borçlulyk we harby gulluk hakynda (Türkmenistanyň Mejlisiniň Maglumatlary 2010 ý., № 3, 58-nji madda) (Türkmenistanyň 01.10.2011 ý. № 234-IV Kanuny esasynda girizilen üýtgetmeler we goşmaçalar bilen)" [LAW OF TURKMENISTAN On military service and military service (Information of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, 2010, No. 3, Article 58) (as amended by the Law of Turkmenistan of October 1, 2011 No. 234-IV)] (PDF). (in Turkmen). Ministry of Defense (Turkmenistan). pp. 28–29. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  19. ^ "НАКАЗ 20.11.2017 № 606". (in Ukrainian). Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. 13 December 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  20. ^ "O'zbekiston Respublikasi fuqarolarining harbiy xizmatni o'tash tartibi to'g'risida". (in Uzbek). Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
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