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.
In a collaborative endeavour, the research group “Revolts as Communicative Events in the Early Modern Period” based in Konstanz, Germany, has assembled scholars from all across Europe (including Russia) and the United States to contribute collectively to ongoing academic debates on early modern diplomacy. Over the past decades, New Diplomatic History (NDH) has provided valuable insight in early modern cultures of diplomacy by focusing on diplomatic practices and the conflicts caused by dissonance in protocol and etiquette. Building on the NDH idea of the diplomat as an agent negotiating between different cultures, we aim to bring the role of the diplomat as a news provider and influential interpreter of foreign events to light. Traditional diplomatic historians have extensively studied the role of ambassadors in international matters. Another considerable part of the diplomat’s function was to reflect on the internal affairs of his country of residence. However, the ways in which envoys communicated internal conflicts in their host countries – such as uprisings, revolts, and revolutions – has remained virtually unexplored. In our book, we treat these cross-cultural perceptions of domestic political conflicts by diplomatic agents in early modern Europe. On the one hand, such patterns of diplomatic reception, representation and interpretation were informed by foreign policy interests; but on the other hand, they were also shaped by cultural differences and conscious or unconscious attempts to translate between different political mindsets. Revolts were a sign of weakness and foreign governments often tried to exploit them with the help of their diplomatic agents. But at the same time, they could also give rise to a self-reflexive move, where the depiction of a rebellion abroad was written and/or read as an implicit reflection of an actual or potential analogous event at home. Governments feared "contagion", i.e. the dissemination of a revolt across borders through the circulation of information, rumors and knowledge. And sometimes they even tried to draw lessons from experience abroad, in order to optimize their own domestic policy with regard to preventive measures. In practice, these different avenues of reception often overlapped and the diplomat became a bridge, an interpretative link between foreign and domestic policies. Most importantly, cross-border perceptions voiced through arcane diplomatic channels frequently counterbalanced policies of what we call damnatio memoriae: Although rebellions were essentially public conflicts in which social actors tried to articulate and publicize their claims as pertaining to the common good, governments did everything they could to downplay the events and to refute their universal nature. As long as rebellions were in full swing and rebels could freely advertise their claims, this objective was, of course, unattainable: The more wide-reaching insurgent movements became, the more authorities were forced to engage in counter-propagandistic efforts and to respond directly to the grievances brought forth by oppositions. But once they managed to crush a rebellion and consolidate their power, governments generally tried to extinguish its memory and to cover up their own administrative failures. Official accounts were occupied with representations of punishment and executions, but there was no further mention of the preceding events of resistance. The tightly knot European network of diplomacy, however, often preserved and spread knowledge of the defeated insurgents' motives against all odds. Although censorship was strictly enforced until at least the late 17th century, early modern authorities could hardly ever prevent the publication and circulation of foreign accounts. And it is striking how well informed early modern diplomats proved to be. Apart from their own experiences and oral reports, they regularly forwarded intercepted letters and a wide range of printed material (e.g. caricatures, press-clippings and pamphlets) to their masters abroad. In many cases, diplomatic eagerness has saved from complete obliteration oppositional publications, which were eventually banned and destroyed in their country of origin. The early modern period was not only the era of print revolution, but also witnessed an enormous intensification of diplomatic relations. A steadily growing number of permanent residents communicated with their governments in increasing regularity and detail. But while the printing revolution mainly affected central and Western Europe, the establishment of continual diplomatic relations and networks also concerned the Orthodox and Islamic worlds. These often neglected peripheries of early modern Europe are integral parts of our joint effort. Conveying the copiousness of early-modern cultures of diplomatic observation and policy-making, the collective book will inspire deepened academic debate on the complex and influential role of diplomats and diplomatic networks in an early information society.
In the section of the textbook on economic comparativity preconditions of the industrial society formation are investigated; three stages of industrial capitalistic development are revealed; genesis of classical political economy as the science of nations’ wealth is analyzed; self-sustained growth concept is described. The training and methodological materials are attached.
The article examines the main trends in the study of the Stalinist period and the phenomenon of Stalinism in connection with the mass opening of the archives.