Catherine the Great. A Reference Guide to Her Life and Works
“Catherine the Great: A Reference Guide to Her Life and Works has an extensive A to Z section which includes several hundred entries. The bibliography provides a comprehensive list of publications concerning her life and work”
The article is based on the registers of the promissory notes protests and is aimed at exploring business activities of 18th century Russian provincial townswomen.
La parution du premier tome de la correspondance de Catherine II et Friedrich Melchior Grimm vient couronner une entreprise de longue haleine dirigée par Sergueï Karp, l’édition critique des lettres échangées entre 1764 à 1796 par l’impératrice russe avec le directeur de la Correspondance littéraire. Les lettres contenues dans ce volume sont en effet précieuses pour éclairer les relations entre l’Impératrice et le milieu philosophique et artistique. Durant toute cette période, Grimm – auquel la souveraine s’adresse avec familiarité sur le mode de la conversation, en un français parfois truffé de remarques en allemand – circule une grande partie du temps entre la Russie, les Provinces- Unies, l’Italie, puis de nouveau la Russie, la Suède et le Danemark avant de revenir en France à la fin de l’année 1777. Il s’affirme de plus en plus comme « un intermédiaire essentiel dans les relations culturelles » de Catherine II avec l’Occident, particulièrement dans le domaine des arts, se chargeant de traiter avec les artistes, les intermédiaires et les marchands, à Paris et à Rome, pour le compte de la tsarine.
Catherine ii’s foreign policy has been traditionally considered very successful. She won three wars and incorporated large territories into the Russian Empire making her country one of Europe’s great powers. But arguments for this kind of evaluation miss Catherine’s own perspective. The article argues that the empress failed to reach any of the initial goals she had put forward. Her foreign policy lacked a considered long-term strategy and from the very start was characterized by a series of mistakes. Catherine did turn Russia into a great power but with quite a different reputation from what she initially had planned.
The article focuses on the informal political networks and ways of how they operated in the Russian bureaucracy in the first half of the 18th century. A career of Avraam Sverchkov, a chief-secretary in the Senate in in the era from Peter I to Elizabeth, and his relations with top functionaries let trace how senior imperial bureaucrats were building their networks by involving mid-level officials in patron-client relationships. This was in the interest of the both parts: by getting access to skills, information etc. of their confidents, bureaucrats of high echelon got additional administrative support and became more effective. Meanwhile, mid-rank officials benefitted by improving their social positions, especially those who, like Sverchkov, was from law-class. Because of constant lack of qualified stuff such kind of patronage relationships had significant impact on all the levels of the administration. Hence, down of an informal network resulted not only in damaging the career of low- or mid-rank officials; potentially it could negatively affect all the imperial administrative system.
The paper provides new information about the biography of Ivan Musin-Pushkin, the first and lifelong Russian senator during the reign of Peter I. There is a brief summary of the author's set of arguments disproving the legend of his lineage as an illegitimate son of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich. The reasons why the future count and senator rose through the ranks become clear, if one studies his activities during his tenure as the governor of Astrakhan and the okolnichij. The published archival documents and the letters of the count and his nearest relations help gain an insight into the prominent dignitary's character in the bosom of his family and when he was not handling nitty-gritty bureaucratic issues. Published for the first time, Ivan Musin-Pushkin's last will and testament turns out to be the quintessence of his mindset and intellectual experiences expressed in 1717.
The publication is dedicated to the late professor Isabel de Madariaga, a prominent historian whose field was mostly 18th century Russia.
Russian Ruling in the Overseas Territories: the Archipelago Principality of Catherine the Great
During the reign of Catherine the Great Russia gained a chance to become a part of the Mediterranean world. In 1771–1774 inhabitants of more then 30 Aegean islands declared themselves to be ‘subjects’ of the Russian empress. Russian naval commandment in Archipelago had an incomparable opportunity to create an administration, a system of taxation, even a Synod and a civil school, but their activity was marked by the Russian specific understanding of a ‘proper’ European state.