Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Tsarist Russian Officer's Code of Honor

By Alexander Ryazantsev

  • If you are abrupt and haughty, you will be despised by all. 
  • Be polite and modest in your dealings with all people.
  • Do not promise if you are not certain of your ability to follow through.
  • Carry yourself simply, with dignity, but without exquisiteness.
  • Be concise, accurate and tactful always, with all and everywhere.
  • Be considerate and attentive but not intrusive and adulatory. Know how to leave in a timely manner and not be unwanted. 
  • It is necessary to remember the boundary where dignified politeness ends and where sycophancy begins.
  • Do not carouse, as this will not prove one brave but rather likely compromise you.
  • Do be in a hurry to get familiar with someone you do not know well.
  • Avoid keeping financial tabs for friends. Money always spoils relations.
  • If you can, help out your comrade with money, but personally avoid accepting money, as it will demean you.
  • If you cannot say anything nice about someone, also refrain from saying anything bad if you happen to know of such.

  • Do not dismiss the advice of others – hear it out. You will always have the option to deciding whether to heed it.
  • Knowing how to use the good advice of others is an art no less useful than being able to provide good advice yourself.
  • Honor fortifies the heart and ennobles bravery. 
  • Safeguard the reputation of any woman who has confided in you, regardless of who she is.
  • There are times in life when one must forget the heart and heed reason.
  • Be guided by instinct, a sense of fairness and duty to decency.
  • Always be on guard and never slack off.
  • May your words be soft but arguments be strong. Try to convince rather than annoy one’s opponent.
  • When speaking avoid gesticulation and raising one’s voice.
  • There is nothing worse than indecisiveness. A bad decision is better than hesitancy and inaction.
  • A moment lost can never be returned. 
  • The person who is not afraid is more powerful than the person whom everyone fears.
  • When two people quarrel, they are always both wrong.
  • The greatest delusions are those which go unquestioned.
  • There is wisdom in keeping silent. 
  • Modesty is not about being indifferent to praise so much as it is being attentive to reprimands.

Source:  Russian Mir Foundation

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