Many first-hand sources about Petrine army including documents related to uniforms were published in late 19th
– early 20th
centuries in numerous collections of archival documents, regimental histories etc. However no one then attempted to consider these materials in order to correct Viskovatov's work. The breakthrough in the Russian uniformology happened only in the last two decades, when new scholars like S. Karpuschenko, S. Letin, V. Egorov, K. Tatarnikov, I. Ulyanov and O. Leonov started using new documents, memoires and archival sources. Links to their works are listed in the end of the article. So the research of Petrine uniforms goes on, albeit it is hindered by following obstacles:
- The surviving costumes as a rule belonged to high ranking persons. For example, the so called "Wardrobe of Peter the Great" is probably the largest known collection of male dress of early 18th century. It is stored in State Hermitage in St. Petersburg with some of its' pieces dispersed across other minor museums. But it belonged to a ruling monarch while there are nearly no surviving items of Russian soldiers' or officers' uniforms or equipment;
- The period documents about uniforms as a rule have little information required to re-create details; the cut, construction, dimensions or color are rarely mentioned;
- Considerable part of pre-1711 regimental documents were lost in the Turkish Prut River campaign, so we have far better sources on uniforms after 1711;
- The period illustrations are very few and show little detail; period prints, paintings or bas-reliefs of Russian soldiers exist but it is hard to tell whether they are original eyewitness drawings or they are just copied samples of European artists.
The Russian army entered Great Northern War 1700 – 1721 (GNW) in uniforms of Eastern type often referred to as Hungarian dress. It was some sort of a combination of Russian, Polish and Hungarian costume and it is subject to research and discussion of scholars, reenactors and artists today – we will leave it to them and only recommend recent articles and illustrations by Sergey Shamenkov dedicated to the subject and published on www.milhist.info
The text you are reading is dedicated to the Western uniforms introduced by Tsar Peter – it's elements, manner of wearing and so on as they are known from period sources. In a nutshell the purpose of the undertaken work is, giving due credit to other researchers, to reveal and discard deeply rooted misconceptions about Petrine uniforms that still exist today and keep being copied by generations of less informed artists, miniaturists and reenactors.