Proof of Sincere Love for the Tsar: Popular Monarchism in the Age of Peter the Great
In Peter the Great’s time there were no sociological surveys of the population, and all our data on commoner attitudes toward the monarchy, no matter how seemingly abundant, are in fact purely incidental. With some exception, we learn of attitudes toward power only from those either involved in investigations or put on trial. For this reason, it is impossible to come to a conclusion about the relationship to authority—whether skeptical, indiferent, or reverential— that prevailed within either diferent social groups or the population as a whole. Nevertheless, there is evidence to suggest that a signifcant portion of the common folk treated the tsar’s authority with great respect. I hope that I have successfully shown that such respect was not superfcial or just for show but sincere. In any case, these sources do not support the conclusion that Peter’s politics dealt a deathblow to popular veneration of the monarch.