Avraam Stepanovich Sverchkov and "Embezzlers": Family connections within Russian bureaucracy in the first half of the 18th century
Reconstructed on the base of the lawsuit over the legacy, the history of the family and kinship relations of the retired State Councillor Avraam Stepanovich Sverchkov ( he was the key person in the legislative commissions in 1720s – early 1740s and in 1755 bequeathed a considerable part of his property to the newly established Moscow University ) suggests that only a nuclear family existed and had value for the category of bureaucrats he belonged to. Coming from unprivileged estates and not being members of chancellery service families these persons climbed the hierarchy ladder thanks to their professional skills, and independently built their careers, friendships, matrimonial and other strategies, advancing in their service due to personal contacts, knowledge and experience. Being involved in the actual implementation of authorities’ reformative initiatives in the first half of the eighteenth century, Sverchkov and clerks like him formed the higher level of office employees in a variety of central institutions and ensured undisturbed operation of all the units of the state machine. Acquiring hereditary nobility through their service, this kind of collegiate officials shaped the field of social and family interaction within a single nuclear family rather than on the basis of vertical kinship relations. Their social capital, career progress, material well-being and security were interrelated and depended on two generations (parents and children) having been integrated in a complex system of social contacts.