We compared microsite occupancy and three spatial structure of regeneration in three primeval late-successional Norway spruce dominated forests. One area lay in the middle boreal zone in Russia (Dvina-Pinega) where larger-scale disturbance from bark beetles and drought had occurred; the other areas lay in the northern boreal zone, one in Finland (Pallas-Ylläs) had encountered only small-scale disturbance, and one in Russia (Kazkim) had been influenced by fire. We mapped all spruce (Picea abies) and birch (Betula pendula and Betula pubescens) trees with diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥ 10 cm on 40 m 400 m plots, and those with DBH < 10 cm on 2 m or 4 m 400 m subplots. On the subplots we also recorded microsite occupancy and estimated microsite availability. At all study areas small seedlings (h < 0.3 m) of both spruce and birch were found largely on disturbance-related microsites. Birch saplings (h ≥ 1.3 m, DBH < 10 cm) disproportionately occupied deadwood-related microsites at Dvina-Pinega. In contrast, spruce saplings at all study areas, and birch saplings at Kazkim and Pallas-Ylläs, showed less, or no, preference. Our results thus confirm the importance of disturbance-related microsites for regeneration establishment, but not necessarily for long-term survival. No spatial segregation between the overstorey (DBH ≥ 10 cm) and saplings (h ≥ 1.3 m, DBH < 10 cm) or seedlings (h < 1.3 m) was found at Pallas-Ylläs or Kazkim, and only three instances of very weak segregation were found at Dvina-Pinega. This suggests that the regeneration gap concept may not be useful for describing the regeneration dynamics of primeval boreal forests.