At first glance, the question of the exact date of the beard shaving decree might seem insignificant or too narrow. In reality, however, this tiny issue could play an important role in discussions of how Russia was transformed in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Oddly enough, there is no consensus on the date when Peter ordered his subjects to shave their beards in the scholarly literature. The author of this article summarizes all the available sources on this subject, both those previously used by historians and those he has uncovered, including documents from Peter’s personal chancellery, the Privy Chancellery, the Moscow chancelleries and local authorities, as well as testimonies of contemporaries (Zheliabuzhskii’s diary, the autobiography of Prince Boris Kurakin, the diary of Johann Georg Korb etc.). The author concludes that, on the one hand, the introduction of beard shaving was conceived by the Peter the Great, apparently, during his Grand Embassy or immediately afterwards. On the other hand, considerable tangential evidence and financial accounts of the Moscow chancelleries confirm that a formal prohibition on wearing beards apparently did not exist until the decree of January 1705. So the author assumes that beard shaving was gradually introduced in Russia. Peter first planted the idea in the minds of members of the elite through playful shaving spectacles and personalized oral decrees, allowing its diffusion among ever widening circles of people. By the end of 1704, Peter probably had concluded that his subjects were prepared for a legislative ban on maintaining a beard. Indeed, by the time Peter’s famous 1705 decree was announced in Russian cities, many of his subjects had already parted with their facial hair, and they did so voluntarily.
Review of: Surzhikova N. V. (2014). Voennyj plen v rossijskoj provintsii (1914-1922) [Military Captivity in the Russian Province (1914-1922)]. 423 p. Moscow: Politicheskaya encyclopediya. The review was submitted on 24.05.2014. This is a review of a monograph by historian N. V. Surzhikova, Military Captivity in the Russian Province (1914-1922) (Moscow: Politicheskaya Encyclopediya, 2014) published for the series World War I. A Great War. 1914-1918. The reviewer acknowledges the value of the archival material supplied in the work but is critical of its interpretation. The author’s use of sociological concepts, though justified, has a number of flaws in the research’s theoretical model. Additionally, the reviewer maintains that it is incorrect to apply the terminology of professional identity to the category of employment.
This article is part of a project studying the phenomenon of suicide in eighteenth-century Russia. It is based on the investigation of Major Vasily Apukhtin’s death in 1731. The investigation materials demonstrate that the major committed suicide by drowning himself in his own well. According to the testimonies of his servants, relatives, and acquaintances, Apukhtin was insane: the reason for his insanity (or, rather, the circumstance that aggravated his mental illness) was fear of being taken to court as a result of a pending lawsuit. An ordinary property trial, inadequately perceived by the suicide, made him terrified of being declared unreliable, which could therefore mean torture as part of the criminal proceedings. This circumstance allows the author to consider Apukhtin’s case within the framework of the concept of “state fear”, first introduced into historiography by Evgeny Anisimov. Analysis of the causes of the mental agony which the unfortunate major was experiencing through the prism of this concept seems helpful when considering many other cases that led numerous Russians of the eighteenth century to do the same.
For Peter the Great, beards and the traditional “Russian” clothing marked the hated old times (N. Ustryalov, S. Solovyov, L. Hughes, etc.). However, this statement has never been proved by references to any sources which could reveal the tsar’s own opinion or that of his associates on the problem in question. The author undertakes the first attempt to establish the position of Peter the Great and his associates on the need for “Europeanization” of the appearance of Russian subjects. The article analyzes the story of the introduction of beard shaving and the adoption of “European” clothing in different versions of The History of the Swedish War. The collected data enable the author to suppose that the ideological justification of the introduction of beard shaving and “European” clothing in Peter the Great’s Russia was based upon the opposition between the traditional Russian appearance associated with the appearance of “pagan peoples” and the appearance of European subjects viewed as a Christian one. This ideologeme is supposed to have been formed within the cultural and political elite at the end of the 17th century, probably, under the influence of the treaty Politika by Juraj Križanić.
This article considers the applicability of the concept of backwardness which was one of the basic concepts of both Russian and Western historiography of prerevolutionary Russia until the late 20th century and resulted from the constant comparison of Russia with the conventional ‘West’. On the one hand, modern historiography is characterised by a ‘normalisation’ of Russian history, i.e. attempts to prove that, considered generally, Russian historical development was identical to that of Western Europe, and, on the other hand, complete refusal to compare Russia and the West due to Russia having an altogether different and unique model of historical development. However, both of these trends contradict the worldview Russians had between the 18th and early 20th centuries. The author characterises both trends as dead ends as the concept of Russia’s ‘normality’ makes it impossible to explain the events of the imperial era, while the other approach deprives a historian of one of the major research tools in studying the past. It results in an intellectual trap, and the author suggests that to solve this problem, scholars should create a new language of historical research and accumulate empirical data that would create a more complex and multidimensional image of the past.
Regional diversity of Muscovite Czardom established in the middle – the second half of 16th c. and attempts to describe it achieved in nascent language of Muscovite bureaucracy was the way of Muscovite ranks construction. These ranks lately became a special characteristic trait of Muscovite society. Novgorod Land was the first ground where this language had been created. Actually, during 16th century the structure of ranks in Novgorod Land became more complicated. The article studies the directions following which, after the Time of Troubles and the Treaty of 1617, the restoration of one special rank had been provided. That were Novgorod Tartars (Muslims and Newly converted to Orthodoxy). The great decrease in numbers of this (and others) ranks of servicemen led to rank structure simplification. The extremely insignificant number of these Tartars preserved their land estates. In the same time in the record documents, special rank of Novgorod “Tartars and Newly Baptized” was noted. However, this rank was included in general overviews among other servicemen ranks. The most of descendants of Novgorod Tartars became to receive food salary from the State: that led them closer to the mobilized servicemen groups – musketeers, artillerists, etc, (who had no right for landownership). The case of former Novgorod Tartars who became subjects of Swedish crown after the Stolbovo Treaty 1617 is a good comparative material. Firstly (even before 1630s) the Swedish administration preserved the notes like “Tartars” in the document. But just in the second generation all the descendants of former Muscovite servicemen made a single rank of bayors; almost all of them were converted to Lutheranism. In Muscovy the notifications on Tartar origin of this or that landowners disappear from the state records up to mid-17th century. The article plots the issue of correlation between bureaucratic ranks of Muscovite act practice and real social groups of 17th century. Studying the case of Novgorod Tartars – a special group with not only language but also religious specifics seems to be good to decide the issue.
This article considers the way in which the development policy for the Extreme North during the post-Stalin era influenced criticism of living conditions in Arctic cities. With reference to periodicals published in Vorkuta, Norilsk, and Mirny, the author analyses how the official rhetoric that claimed to improve the well-being of the local population and change the social structure of northern cities contributed to a reflection on urban issues both in the former labour camps and in new industrial cities. The abolition of the gulag and the extensive exploitation of natural resources in the USSR’s Extreme North caused more people to migrate to the region in the first half of the 1950s. In official narratives of this period, the cities of the Extreme North became symbolic of the conquest of harsh nature: they were used as proof of the homogeneity of inhabited space and the fact that a Soviet reality could be created in any natural conditions. Mass immigration to these cities (and the outflow of workers from central regions) favoured the free circulation of information and the emergence of strong criticism of the living conditions in the cities in question.
The article is devoted to the history of the creation of the Voluntary Fleet Society in 1878-1879. The idea of the Voluntary Fleet and its implementation are considered from the point of view of studying the place of social organization in the modernizing space of the Russian Empire. The subjects of the role of the Imperial Society for the promotion of Russian commercial shipping in the organization of fund-raising for the purchase of ships are discussed, as well as the process of public discussion of the Voluntary Fleet project.
The article uses the prosopographical method to examine the history of Muslim and newly-baptised Tatars in Novgorod after 1550. 418 biographies were studied. The main sources were documents from the Razryad (service lists) and Pomestny Prikaz (land chancellery): local Novgorod court records also furnished further information. The history of the Novgorod Tartars began in the 1550s, when groups from Astrakhan and Kazan were settled in the eastern part of Novgorod region (Sugletsa and Udomlya districts). As they served the tsar, they received landed estates in Novgorod that were populated with Orthodox peasants. Between 1550 and 1611, different Muslim groups were transferred to Novgorod from Azov, the Crimea, and Bukhara; these groups maintained special identities for a long time. The conversion of Muslims to Orthodoxy is focused upon in this article: the process was slow, but the predominance of Orthodoxy in the region gradually induced local Tartar groups to accept baptism. In 1605, there were 197 newly-baptised Tartars and 48 Muslims. After the Time of Troubles, the differences between the various groups of Tartars disappeared. Most of the Tartars lost their landed estates and started to serve for food and salary; nonetheless, this special group of Novgorodian servicemen continued to exist until the Great Northern War.
The strengthening of governmental structures and an increase in economic activity between the 16th and the 18th centuries in Russia contributed to the formation of a system of roads and waterways. Water transport has some advantages over moving goods by land. The capacity of river and coastal vessels was greater than horse-drawn transports, which meant that the former was less costly. Certain topographical features, varied hydrological conditions in rivers, and diverse weather conditions required a flexible system of waterways as a means of communication. In a preindustrial landscape, the transport network was a compromise between the needs of the individual and the problems imposed by natural factors. The effectiveness of transportation systems depended on organisational and economic factors:governmental structures and communities could obviously provide a greater level of organisation than individuals. One of such communities was the monastery: the Spaso–Prilutsky monastery was a considerable force in the organisation of trade in Northern Russia. On the basis of materials from this institution, the author examines the ways in which natural phenomena shaped the monastery’s transportation network and how the monastery maintained and developed this network.
In 1877, Konstantin von Kaufmann, Governor-General of Turkestan, established municipal government in Tashkent, which implemented Alexander II’s reform of local government in the territories recently joined to the Russian Empire. The principles of the formation and activity of the Tashkent City Duma provoked contradictory opinions among contemporaries and later researcher. The author aims to analyse the terms of the development of local government in Tashkent, its correspondence with imperial principles and specific local features (based on centuries-old traditions of local government in Central Asia), and the evaluations of the adherents and opponents of Kaufmann’s project. In order to achieve this goal, the author studies the position of the Turkestan governorgeneral, the legal institutions of local government in the Russian Empire in general and in Turkestan in particular, and opinions of contemporaries, i. e. Russian imperial officials, representatives of the Turkestan administration, and members of the Tashkent City Duma. Additionally, the author refers to works by Soviet, Russian, and foreign scholars in the 20th and early 21st centuries. The most criticised aspects of the reform are the disproportional representation in the City Duma of “Russian” and “indigenous” parts of the Tashkent population, the active intervention of the governor-general in the activity of the Duma, and his freedom in spending municipal funds on projects outside the competence of the local government. The author establishes that von Kaufmann’s reform was a declarative imitation in Tashkent of reforms implemented in European Russia. At the same time, he considered the City Duma an additional instrument for the realisation of his own projects in Tashkent and the Turkestan region in general, which was reflected in his Regulations, an “adaptation” of the City Code of 1870 to Central Asian realities. As a result, it is not surprising that the organisation and activity of the Tashkent City Duma during Kaufmann’s rule in Turkestan was criticised not only by central officials (who reacted negatively to Kaufmann’s activity from the very beginning), but also by the representatives of the Turkestan administration who had deep respect for Kaufmann.