Diderot et le «catéchisme moral» destiné à Catherine II: nouvelles questions
Dans les "Mélanges philosophiques" pour Catherine II, Diderot, reprenant un projet de l’impératrice, insiste sur la nécessité de confectionner un petit catéchisme moral. Il avance quelques propositions dans ce sens et revient sur ce sujet dans les lettres écrites à Ivan Betskoï et à Catherine II en 1774, pendant son second séjour à La Haye. Des découvertes récentes dans les archives de Moscou permettent de préciser certaines circonstances de son intervention, mais soulèvent de nouvelles questions sur ce que fut son rôle dans cet épisode, qui comporte plusieurs points obscurs.
We publish here the complete tetx of the questionnaire concerning the state of the Russian Enpire which Diderot presented to Catherine II, followed by her replies. It is published following the manuscript found in the Prussian Archives in Berlin. An introduction presents the history of the different publications of the text, and of the Berlin manuscript.
The article is devoted to the plan, realization, and results of city reform during the reign by Catherine II. Thanks to efforts of the empress and her high-level bureaucrats, the fortifi ed city was replaced with the modern multifunctional type of the residential location. In the course of reform, the main functions of the city were defi ned and urban infrastructure was created to implement the reform. These structures substantially exist to this very day and still perform the tasks which were prescribed to them in the second half of the XVIII century. The author suggests that the city reform deserves special attention among all reforms of Catherine the Great, because the reform was directed not to ordering of estates, but to formation of the new type of city which still exists. The author pays special attention to foundation and development the permanent theater in Moscow, because it was connected with the Moscow’s status of the capital city. He also addresses to such problems as personal infl uence of the head of the region on the course of reform; planning and results of reform, its program statements, and the main stages of their realization; administrative system and its qualities; creation of the regular city; evolution of urban planning and development; organization of main urban services (police, fi refi ghters, hospitals, schools); reforming of penitentiary system; role of a city as a center of public leisure and culture, and to some other subjects.
Diderot came to Russia in 1773 with A.V. Naryshkin, chambellan of Catherine II, and in St. Petersburg took advantage of his hospitality, as well as the hospitality of his brother S.V. Naryshkin. Conversations with them have become one of the most important sources of Diderot's information about Russia. Over time, their paths as their ideas about the prospects for the development of Russia, diverged, but their ideas about civilization turned out to be closely connected with their reflections on the “special path” of our country.