Екатерина II: Искусство управлять
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.
The article is an analysis of relations between the Kazakh ruling elite and Peter III, at first as the heir to the throne and then as the emperor of the Russian Empire. The aim of the research is to clarify what hopes and perspectives were connected by Kazakh khans and sultans with the new Russian monarch, why their expectations did not come true and how it was reflected in the correspondence of the rulers of Kazakhstan with the Russian emperor and other imperial authorities. The sources the author of the article used are, first of all, letters of Kazakh khans and sultans (such as Abul Khair Khan, his sons Nurali, Erali, Aychuvak, sultans Barak, Yulbars, Abulfaiz, Biy Janibek Koshkaruly) to Peter III and other representatives of Russian imperial elite – from Empresses Elizabeth and Catherine II to the governors of Orenburg. Chronologically, these documents cover the period of 1743–1764. The rule of Peter III was very short-term and, as it is considered in historiography, did not influence substantially the Russian history, and even made more harm than benefits; although there are attempts to revise the negative evaluation of this monarch nowadays. However, the interest in Peter as the heir to the throne was considerable among the Russian elite and among the national elites of the Russian Empire. It was reflected in the letters of Kazakh rulers sent just after his appointment the heir to the Russian throne. It is evident from these letters the representatives of the Kazakh elite expected from Peter Fyodorovich a more determined policy towards Kazakhstan than that of his aunt, both in administrative and in military fields. But with time, khans and sultans saw that the heir to the throne showed no interest towards his Kazakh subjects and no longer sent letters to him. When Peter III became the emperor, they resumed correspondence, but its tone changed substantially: Kazakh rulers demonstrated some condescension towards the emperor, explaining him what he should to do to “please” the Kazakhs. Moreover, Kazakh rulers addressed most of their requests not only to the emperor, but also duplicated them to other authorities – Chancellor Count Vorontsov and especially to Orenburg governors – as they understood that their fate depended more on regional authorities than on the emperor in St. Petersburg. The author finds that the rule of Peter III, despite being short, was, in fact, a turning-point in the Russian-Kazakh relations during the imperial period. It was then that the Kazakh rulers stopped to address their requests and problems to emperors and central authorities and began to interact closely with the frontier imperial administration of Orenburg and Siberia regions.
The article discusses the late 18th century Russian outdoor performances and demonstrates that “theatrical” techniques of staging power in eighteenth-century Russia were used for political purposes. The victory over the Ottoman Empire was celebrated by a grand open-air performance festival in Moscow in 1775 whose intention was to demonstrate not only the monarch’s power over her enemies, external as well as internal, but also the claim that the Russian empress Catherine II is able to transform nature as if it were nothing but a theater coulisse.