Starshina (Russian: старшина, IPA: [stərʂɨˈna] (listen) or Starshyna in Ukrainian transliteration) is a senior non-commissioned rank or designation in the military forces of some Slavic states, and a historical military designation.
In army terminology, a starshina is equivalent to "Sergeant Major" (Most senior member at the company level) or a rank equal to a NATO OR-8. In naval terminology, starshina is a general term for junior and middle-ranking non-commissioned officers, similar in usage to "Petty Officer".
The word originates from the Russian: старший, romanized: starshij, lit. 'older, more senior', from Russian: старый, romanized: staryj, lit. 'old'.
Among Cossacks in Ukraine, starshyna was a collective noun for categories of military officers and state officials. It derived from the offices in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Sharshyna was subdivided into:
Later, sometime after the Khmelnytsky's Uprising, it was also associated with the Ukrainian nobility which derived out of the officership and the Hetman.
Later, in the Tsardom of Russia and Imperial Russia, a volostnoy starshina was the chief of a volost (a rural administrative unit), in charge of the distribution of taxes, resolving conflicts within obshchina (communes), distributing community lands and military conscription. The rank of Voiskovoi starshina (Войсковой старшина – Starshina of the Army (Host)) was introduced into the ranks of the Imperial military in 1826, as the equivalent of a "Lieutenant Colonel" in the Cossack cavalry.
|Service branch|| Russian Ground Forces|
Russian Air Force
|Rank group||Non-commissioned officer|
|Next higher rank||Praporshchik|
|Next lower rank||Stárshy serzhánt|
|Equivalent ranks||Glavny starshina of the ship|
The word starshina gained its modern meaning in the Red Army, and is a hangover from the functional titles (like "Brigade Commander" or "Assistant Platoon Leader") that were initially used by that force – the word literally means "senior". Most functional titles in the Red Army were abolished in 1942, but starshina remained. Starshina was the highest non-commissioned rank in the Soviet Army until the reintroduction of the imperial rank of Praporshchik in 1972.
In the Soviet Navy, the term starshina was introduced between 1940 and 1943 as term equivalent to "Petty Officer" for every enlisted seaman above "Matros, 1st class." There was also created a rank equal to starshina in the Army, but termed Glavnyy korabel'nyy starshina (transl. Chief Petty Officer of the Ship) – this is the naval rank depicted in the tables below.
|Ground combat troops
air defence forces
|Air force, airborne forces|
|Strategic Missile Troops,
|Air Force and Airborne Forces
kursant ("cadet") with rank of Starshina
|Air force, airborne forces
Ministry of Emergency Situations (firefighters)
some internal troops
In some former communist state, the rank of "older" is used with the local language variants.