The Russian Statnije

By K.D. Spurling

(extract from "The Kazan Trjasun")

The very girth of the number of Russian pigeon races is great. At this writing, the SouthEast European and Russian Breeds Club Of America acknowledges the existence of 150 seperate races of Russian flying pigeons and is not meant to include an additional assortment of peculiar voice and table breeds. As so little is known in the West, or even within the larger cities in Russia itself, about the pigeons kept in the remote areas of the great Russian expanse, it is likely that what we know about the numbers of the Russian breeds may be only a small minority.

Flying based breeds in Russia are subdivided down into a number of major groups based according to their type, as well as based upon their style of flight or their manner of performance. The four major groups are as follows:

The Turmani races, which include the Rzhevski Startail, the Smolensk Gratsch, the Orlov Whites and others. The Turmani are easily identified by their delicate structure, long wings carried beneath a long sweeping tail and squarish heads with semi short blunt beaks.

The Tutcheresi races, which include the Nikolajevski, Charkovski, Militopliski and  others. The Tutcheresi are identified by their Swift like structure, but more easily and importantly  by their strange flying abilities which typically involve flying straight up as if they were climbing a ladder, opposed to circling or zig-zagging to gain  altitude.

The Boinije, or Bij, which includes the Baku, Uzbekistanian, Tashkentian, Agaranski and other assorted "Crack" type tumblers. The Boinije come in assorted types with different ornamentations, but are easily identified by their performance which involves heavy wing clapping that makes quite a commotion (hence the term "Crack" or "Shooter") and opposed to tumbling or rolling downwards like the Birmingham Roller, the Boinije roll upwards and often executing column style performance (which is
called Astanoifka), during which the birds gradually rise hundreds of feet into the sky.

Finally, come the Statnije, which are the subject of this particular chapter.

A literal translation of the term Statnije into English is "Stately Pigeon", but terms such as "Carriage", "Stationing", "Proud Standing" and "Posturing" (taken from the German term, Positure) have been used to define the term. Any are correct, though "Stately Pigeon" is an exact translation.

The Statnije, while primarily a product of Southern Russia, are cultured throughout the Russian expanse and exceed fifty related, but distinct races in number.

The characteristic features of the Statnije breeds include a proud and upright carriage with a broad tail which is carried upright at varying angles. Otherwise, these breeds differ in their sizes, lengths, colors, markings and ornamentation.

The Statnije are subdivided down into three basic sub-varieties, as follows:

Firstly, the Vislokrilije (meaning hanging wings) with a long back, the wings carried below the tail which is broad and elevated at an angle of 20 to 30 degrees, with the head placed well forward of the  feet. The Vislokrilije lack a shaking neck.

Secondly, the Trjasuni (meaning shakers) with a short back, the wings carried below the tail which is  broad and elevated at an angle of 45 to 70 degrees, with the back of the head carried in a direct line over the feet. The Trjasuni shake their neck while they are standing in a solid stance.

Thirdly, the Katschuni (meaning swingers) with a very short back, the wings carried below the tail which is broad and elevated at an angle of 75 degrees or more, with the juncture of the beak and head carried in a direct line over the feet. The Katschuni shake their necks violently, especially while walking.

Despite the extremeness of type and the fact that the Statnije have been heavily idealized as exhibition pigeons outside of Russia, technically, and from a historical standpoint, all but a few of the Statnije breeds are performing tumblers and still retain this ability.