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Working paper

The Circulation of Information About the Poll Tax Revenues As an Indicator of Russian Empire Undergoverness in the in the 18th Century

Humanities. HUM. Basic Research Programme, 2016. No. WP BRP 137/HUM/2016 .
The article deals with the notion “undergoverness” in the context of the 18th century Russia. It was an attempt to get away from the general discussion based on the number of state officials per capita.  The study is devoted to the analysis of the poll tax collection mechanism. We use the new data about regional variations in the number of officials responsible for the poll tax collection. The poll tax collection chain may be split into two relatively connected procedures: the first – money gathering, distribution and delivery (let’s name it a material layer); the second – making reports on cash inflaws and outflaws (let it called an informational layer). The same state officialdom – provincial, regional and local clerks – was in charge of appropriate commitment of both procedures. The results at the first level should be recognized as successful (the collection of the poll tax was about 95%). But the activities of government officials, aimed at informing the government, was close to collapse. So the idea of ​​determining the level of undergoverness through the ratio of officials to the population looks doubtful. It is important to arrange what we mean by the state management: the actual availability of the state to collect and spend money or the knowledge of the state, "St. Petersburg", about what happened to its money?